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Baptist organizations, fellowships to meet in New Orleans

Participants of the Southern Baptist Conference Associational Leaders’ (SBCAL) meeting June 12, 2022, in Anaheim, Calif., pray for SBCAL President Ray Gentry and his family. BP file photo

NEW ORLEANS (BP) – Several groups closely connected with the Southern Baptist Convention plan gatherings adjacent to the 2023 SBC Annual Meeting June 13-14 at the New Orleans Convention Center.

The Southern Baptist Conference of Associational Leaders, Southern Baptist Evangelists, Fellowship of Baptist World Ministries, Filipino Fellowship and the newly-formed Myanmar Fellowship plan to meet in New Orleans.

The Messianic Fellowship and Council of Korean Baptist Churches in America are meeting elsewhere.


The Southern Baptist Conference of Associational Leaders (SBCAL) is to meet June 11-12 at the New Orleans Marriott for a gathering centered around “Leading with Integrity and Skill,” based on Psalm 78:72. He shepherded them with a pure heart and guided them with his skillful hands.

The annual event starts at 9 a.m. Sunday, June 11, with Jamie Dew, president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, as guest speaker. Following a 10:30 a.m. breakout session, J. J. Washington, NAMB Personal Evangelism Director, will speak at lunch, followed at 1:35 p.m. by Tom Wood, President of Church Multiplication Ministries in Atlanta.

A 2:50 p.m. business session is to include the election of officers and for the first time in the 63-year history of SBCAL, a budget is to be adopted to include the funding of a full-time president/CEO for the organization of nearly 1,400 local Baptist associations.

Following two breakout sessions later Sunday afternoon, Hance Dilbeck, president of GuideStone Financial Resources, is to speak at the 6 p.m. banquet.

At 9 a.m. Monday, Josh Ellis, executive director of Union Association in Houston, is to speak, followed at 10:15 a.m. by Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Associational Mission Strategist wives will hear in breakout sessions from seminary president wives Tara Dew, Ann Iorg and Mary Mohler.

“We joyfully gather as associational leaders from around the country for purposes of equipping, encouragement, networking, and fellowship,” SBCAL President Ray Gentry told Baptist Press. “You don’t want to miss it! We anticipate a record attendance of 500-plus at this year’s annual conference.”


Southern Baptist Evangelists invite pastors and attendees of the 2023 SBC Annual Meeting to join them for a free, special event between sessions of the Pastors’ Conference.

“Cajun Jubilee: A Cajun Dinner & Concert of Faith” is to be hosted by the group from 4:30-5:30 p.m. Monday, June 12, in the Riverside Ballroom at the Hampton Inn Convention Center in New Orleans.

The casual buffet dinner and program is to include special music from Russell and Kristi Johnson, Joe and Kim Stanley, and Amy Stockwell, along with brief words from Keith Cook, president of the SBC Evangelists group, and other officers and members. A short business session for members of the evangelists’ organization is to take place immediately following the Concert of Faith, also in the Riverside Ballroom.

Also noteworthy: SBC Evangelist Phil Waldrep is to speak during the Sunday evening service of the Pastors’ Conference.

“SBC Evangelists” is an informal moniker of the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists (COSBE,) a fellowship organization of vocational evangelists, which has been in existence for more than 50 years, explained Stockwell, who is the organization’s secretary-treasurer.

Former well-known evangelists and members of COSBE include Billy Graham, Hyman Appleman, Mordecai Ham, Eddie Martin, Angel Martinez, Homer Martinez and Bailey Smith.

Three new evangelists joined COSBE within the last year: Dewayne Rembert of Alabama, Derek Keiser of Virginia, and David Whitehead of Louisiana. Contact information for all SBC Evangelists is available online at www.sbcevangelist.org.

“Churches across the SBC invite our evangelists to lead special evangelistic outreach events in their churches and communities throughout the year, which lead to transformed lives and churches equipped for reaching the next generation with the life-changing message of the Gospel,” Stockwell told Baptist Press. “Many of our evangelists are well-versed and experienced in international missions as well, and can help teach, train and lead your church family in overseas initiatives.


The Fellowship of Native American Christians in 2022 decided to meet regionally rather than collectively at the SBC annual meeting to strengthen ministry bonds at the local level, Executive Director Gary Hawkins told Baptist Press.

This year, they’re also planning to gather in New Orleans, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, June 12, in the Maurepas Room on Level 3 of the Sheraton New Orleans.

Guest speaker is to be Mike Keahbone, of Comanche, Kiowa and Cherokee ancestry. He is pastor of First Baptist Church of Lawton, Okla., and a member of the SBC Executive Committee. Keahbone presented a resolution during the 2022 SBC annual meeting objecting to the forced assimilation and conversion of Native people.

The resolution, which passed resoundingly, was the first time the SBC “took a stand with Native people,” according to an August 2, 2022, Baptist Press article.

In addition to routine business matters and Keahbone’s message, Junior Pratt and the Tribe of Judah dancers will present Native dance and music arrangements.

“One reason we are doing regional events is the lack of Native people who attend the SBC,” Hawkins said. “It’s not that they’re not interested but it’s a costly venture and the vast majority of Native ministers are bi-vocational. For many, for them to just take off work and use family resources is just not feasible. 

“Last year we had a great conference in Jenks, Okla., and we are planning on hosting another one in September of this year,” Hawkins continued. “We would like to have additional meetings in the West, Southwest, Southeast, Northeast, Upper Midwest and perhaps at least two in Canada, as God provides.”

Additional ministry partners are needed to help defray costs for travel to the regional conferences, plus materials and related supplies for attendees.

Jordan Kanuho, pastor of Belvin Baptist Church in Okmulgee, Okla., and vice president of the Pawnee Nation, is FoNAC’s president. Board members serve in Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Virginia. 

“We serve as a catalyst for ministries connected with Native America,” Hawkins notes on the organization’s website, FoNAC.org. “FoNAC aims to lend both voice and visibility to the 574 [federally recognized] tribes in the USA and 634 First Nations tribes in Canada by initiating partnerships with individuals, churches, associations and state conventions interested in Native ministry.”

“We are working to aid those who are evangelizing, equipping, and encouraging the indigenous people to become owners of the Gospel by becoming self-propagating, self-supporting, ministries,” Hawkins told Baptist Press. “FoNAC’s focus is to aid in the development of sound, culturally relevant materials, anchored in hope.”

Messianic Fellowship

The Southern Baptist Messianic Fellowship plans to meet later this year in a Zoom online annual meeting, since “most of our members are not financially able to attend the SBC annual meetings in New Orleans,” Executive Director Ric Worshill told Baptist Press. 

Several members chose a late February event for fellowship with other Jewish believers.

“We attended the Lausanne Consultation on Jewish Evangelism (LCJE) North American Symposium, in Coral Springs, Fla.,” Worshill said. He also is a police chaplain in Illinois and an endorsed chaplain with NAMB.

“It was a wonderful time of study, praise, prayer and fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ, and a host of wonderful speakers,” Worshill continued. “One of the presentations was on the growing anti-Semitism situation.”

Some of the presentations are posted on the LCJE-NA website

“This is when the leadership of several Jewish evangelism organizations – including the Southern Baptist Messianic Fellowship – gather together to network for the next year’s outreach, while learning about trends and current ministry situations,” the Jewish chaplain said. “The member groups are able to connect to share resources and assets in our outreach to the Jewish people.”

Worshill said he and his wife are among the 10 or more from the Messianic Fellowship who plan to attend the SBC annual meeting in New Orleans. Those interested in more information can email him at [email protected]

World Ministries

The annual SBC breakfast meeting of the Fellowship of Baptist World Ministries is set for 8 a.m. Monday, June 12, in the Borgne Room, Level 3, of the Sheraton Hotel. Email [email protected] or [email protected] for reservations. 

Along with reports from the IMB partnership division and member ministries, SBC member Esther Ahmad, author of Defying Jihad, is to speak. 

FBWM, founded in 1985 with now 15 member organizations, “offers fellowship, coordination and collaboration with other like-minded ministries as well as connectedness with our IMB,” Roberts said.

World missions organizations, evangelistic associations, churches, associations, Baptist state conventions, Baptist seminaries and elected lay leaders who are in good standing in local Southern Baptist churches all are welcome in the group and at the breakfast.

“Southern Baptists interested in networking and sharing in ministry together to reach the world with the great news of Jesus Christ are especially encouraged to attend,” said Roberts, FBWM president. Anthony George, pastor of First Baptist Church in Atlanta, is the Fellowship’s pastor-advisor. 

Karen L. Willoughby is a national correspondent for Baptist Press