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2024 Annual Meeting planning revs up in Indianapolis

Willie McLaurin, SBC EC interim president and CEO, leads a lively panel discussion on the needs to make the 2024 SBC Annual Meeting, SBC Pastor's Conference and Crossover a success in Indianapolis. More than 150 Indiana Baptist pastors and church leaders gathered for the meeting Aug. 15 at Harvest Church in Carmel, Ind. Photo by Brandon Porter

Editor’s note: This story was edited after its initial publication to update the information about the treasurer for the 2024 Pastors’ Conference. The person originally listed for the role was replaced by Michael Stephens.

INDIANAPOLIS (BP) – The race to the 2024 SBC Annual Meeting and Pastors’ Conference got off to a quick start Tuesday in the city known for going fast. Pastors, association leaders and other church leaders gathered at Harvest Church to learn about the details of hosting an annual meeting.

Willie McLaurin, interim president and CEO of the SBC Executive Committee, encouraged the crowd of more than 150 to lean in for what he calls “the largest family reunion in the world”.

“That meeting is only successful when the state convention, local associations and churches come together to lock their hearts and arms together to make that event a huge success,” McLaurin said.

SBC First Vice President Jay Adkins encouraged Indiana Baptists to get involved by serving during the annual meeting.

Adkins led the local encouragement team for the 2023 meeting in New Orleans. He said it “gave him an opportunity to see how much you (volunteers) are needed for the convention to be a success.” He said more than 500 volunteers are needed for the meeting.

Alison Blankenship, communications director for the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana, is leading the local encouragement team for the Indianapolis gathering. To volunteer to serve at the annual meeting, click here.

The meeting is scheduled for June 9-12, 2024, at the Indiana Convention Center.

Pastor’s Conference theme and topics announced

Stephen Rummage, senior pastor of Quail Spring Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, is the 2024 SBC Pastors’ Conference president.

He announced the conference theme “Faithful: Pursuing Your Mission,” based on Revelation 17:14.

SBC Pastors’ Conference President Stephen Rummage announces the theme and details of the 2024 as Willie McLaurin, interim president and CEO of the SBC Executive Committee listens. Photo by Brandon Porter.

Rummage said the conference theme is in response to the many times he’s been asked by pastors to pray for them to be faithful in their life and ministry.

“I believe that’s the heart of pastors all across our Southern Baptist Convention,” he said.

Rummage listed seven focus areas for the conference:

  • Faithful to God’s Word
  • Faithful in our prayers
  • Faithful in our character
  • Faithful under pressure
  • Faithful to our calling
  • Faithful to our families
  • Faithful to the cross

He’s planning for the conference to be led by 10-11 preachers who are pastors that “believe in the inerrancy, sufficiency and the authority of the Word of God” and who “preach expositionally from the Word of God in order to change people’s lives.”

Charles Billingsley, teaching pastor at Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Va., will once again be the worship leader for the conference. Billingsley is also a well-known worship leader and recording artist.

Erik D. Cummings, lead pastor of New Life Church in Carol City, Fla., will serve as vice president. Michael Stephens, church business administrator at Quail Springs, will be conference treasurer.

Vision cast for Crossover 2024

Roger Kinion, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Greenfield, Ind., is the liaison between the North American Mission Board and partners in Indiana to host Crossover.

Kinion says it was a Crossover event in Indianapolis in the early 2000s that opened his heart to consider coming to serve in Indianapolis.

Crossover is an evangelistic outreach partnership between the North American Mission Board, local associations near the convention city, local churches in the convention city and Southern Baptist churches who send workers to help in events in the days leading up to the annual meeting.

Hundreds of people were involved in Crossover events in New Orleans in June, resulting in dozens of faith professions.

“This is important, not for just today, but for tomorrow,” Kinion said.

He pointed to how “people’s lives are changed through Crossover events.”

Lostness in Indiana

Reminding the attendees of the abundant harvest in the state, Ryan Strother, executive director of the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana, said the Hoosier State has a population of 6.8 million people while the convention is made up of 423 churches.

Strother said the simple math reveals that each church is responsible for reaching 16,000 people based on that ratio.

He said it is exciting how hosting the annual meeting “will draw our churches together to serve together”.

“We get an effort like this to bring us together, to serve together in Kingdom ways and to see people come to Christ next summer during the Crossover events,” Strother said.

Pastor Reginald Fletcher prays for a harvest of souls during Crossover 2024 in Indianapolis. Photo by Brandon Porter.

Praying for the annual meeting

The meeting was bathed with prayer as leaders spent the last portion praying together that God would meet the needs for a successful annual meeting, but, most importantly, use it to reach the lost across Indianapolis.

The prayer time was led by Tom Savage, pastor of Sugar Creek Baptist Church in Terre Haute; Reginald Fletcher, pastor of Living Word Baptist Church in Indianapolis; Jorge Altieri, regional catalyst for the Send Network Español; and Jeff Pau Do Lian, pastor of Emmanuel Christian Church in Indianapolis.

    About the Author

  • Brandon Porter

    Brandon Porter serves as Associate Vice President for Convention News at the SBC Executive Committee

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