News Articles

BWA congress to give added focus to pastors, children, Baptist concerns

WASHINGTON (BP)–New features for pastors and children, along fellowship breakfasts and luncheons addressing topics of particular interest to Baptists, have been added to the 18th Baptist World Congress, Jan. 5-9, 2000, in the Melbourne (Australia) Exhibition Center.
Leon Norsworthy, chair of the Australian Baptists local arrangements committee, briefed the BWA executive committee on congress planning during the committee’s March 8-11 meeting in Washington. The theme of the congress will be “Jesus Christ Forever. Yes!”
A three-part series for pastors, with messages by international church leaders, will feature Billy Kim of Korea and Michael Quicke of England on “Preparing the Preacher” Jan. 6; Fred Deegbe of Ghana and Bruce Milne of Canada on “Preparing the Sermon” Jan. 7; and Frederick Haynes of Dallas on “Preparing the Congregation” Jan. 8. Additionally, Paul Negrut of Romania, and Fausto Aguiar de Vasconcelos Brazil have been invited to participate in the series.
Each session for the pastors will have a brief worship time, followed by a Bible study, a practical examination of the subject and open discussion.
“We want pastors who come to the congress to leave with practical help and inspiration,” said Randall Everett, pastor of Columbia Baptist Church, Falls Church, Va., and coordinator of the congress’ pastors’ stream.
The idea for the children’s program was added by Australian Baptists, with Norsworthy reporting a number of children’s ministry leaders among Baptists have been recruited for the program.
Another first for the congress will be a series of fellowship meals around themes of interest to Baptists around the world.
Jill Manton, an Australian lecturer on spirituality, will speak on “Prayer and Spiritual Formation” at a Jan. 6 breakfast, while Douglas Waruta, a theologian from Nairobi, Kenya, will address “The Church and Human Rights” at a luncheon the same day.
Haynes, pastor of Friendship-West Baptist Church in Dallas, will speak on “Prayer and Social Change” at a Jan. 7 breakfast, while de Vascosncelos, pastor of the First Baptist Church, Rio de Janiero, has been asked to preach on “Evangelism and Baptist Identity” during the luncheon.
Anne Graham Lotz of North Carolina, the keynote speaker at the congress’ Jan. 9 evening celebration, will speak on “Prayer and Listening to God,” at a Jan. 8 breakfast, while the person elected as BWA president-elect will speak on “Mission Tomorrow” at the luncheon.
John Fearn-Wannan, congress musical director from Australia, reported there will be 153 musical opportunities during the Congress and he encouraged Baptist leaders to bring as many choirs and musicians as possible
“All styles and cultures will be represented,” Fearn-Wannan said, noting a 25-piece orchestra will play both traditional and contemporary music and a 40-member choral group from Australia will lead the singing, along with a six-member international praise and worship team. Choirs from Korea, India, Germany and North America already have been registered, he said.
Pastors and musicians also will be able to preach and minister in Baptist churches in Melbourne and surrounding towns before or after the congress.
Among other plans for the congress: Bible studies with leaders from each continent; an outdoor ethnic festival and evangelistic event; opportunities for mission; and reports of God at work around the world.
Tony Cupit, himself an Australian and BWA director of evangelism and study and research, urged Baptists to come to encourage and stimulate Baptists in his country.
“Since 1905 at the first BWA Congress in London, England, Australian Baptists have supported BWA congresses,” Cupit said. “Given the fact that there are only 65,000 Baptists in a country of 17 million, the congress has the potential for enormous impact in Australia. We, as Australian Baptists, need you to come.”
Douglas Inglis, BWA congress director, introduced the registration forms now available from the BWA and the BWA Internet website. He emphasized again the starting date of the Congress as Jan. 5, which allows those concerned about Y2K to move past the first day for their travel to Australia.

    About the Author

  • Wendy Ryan