ORLANDO, Fla. (BP)–The Southern Baptist Conference of Associational Directors of Missions will convene for their 50th meeting June 12-14 in Orlando, Fla. Speakers will include Frank Page, Ed Stetzer, O.S. Hawkins and Jerry Rankin.
The meeting, with the theme “Celebrating 50 Years of Partnership in Kingdom Work,” will begin at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at the Rosen Plaza Hotel with Page, vice president of evangelization at the North American Mission Board, speaking.
Following workshop opportunities that afternoon, the group will gather for a banquet at 6:30 p.m. with musical evangelists Billy and Paula Speer.
On Sunday, Stetzer, director of LifeWay Research, will preach during a 10:30 a.m. worship service followed by lunch provided by GuideStone Financial Resources.
During the afternoon session, Hawkins, GuideStone’s president, will speak before a business session and an anniversary celebration and remarks by Rankin, president of the International Mission Board.
Those who would like to take advantage of more breakout opportunities can participate in an optional repeat of the workshops on Monday, followed by a lunch for new directors of missions sponsored by LifeWay Christian Resources and a lunch for retired DOMs sponsored by NAMB. As with the GuideStone lunch, meal tickets are required.
Also during the gathering, DOMs will have a chance to dialogue with a representative from NAMB regarding the report from the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force, Ron Davis, the conference president, said.
Davis, director of missions for the Greenville Baptist Association in South Carolina, urges all directors of missions to attend the conference for enrichment and fellowship opportunities. He said the anniversary celebration will include cake, but leaders won’t dwell too long on the past, opting instead to look to the future.
F. Russell Bennett, one of the founding members of the conference, told Baptist Press the group began in 1960 when Harold Gregory, executive director of the Nashville Baptist Association in Tennessee, sent letters to 500 superintendents of associational missions, as they were called at the time, asking them to alert him to any interest in an annual gathering.
“Somewhat encouraged by their response, he convened a meeting with two other SoAMs to plan a program for an initial conference at Miami Beach Baptist Church,” Bennett, executive director emeritus of the Long Run Baptist Association in Louisville, Ky., wrote in a statement. “J. Ray Dobbins, SoAM for Miami, presided.
“The continuance of the conferences was feeble at first. D. Eugene Strahan, who served both in Oklahoma and Illinois, was a prime mover in developing the organization. He presided at the 1965 Dallas meeting when a constitution was adopted,” Bennett wrote.
“Its stated purpose is ‘to enable the associational superintendents of missions to become better acquainted, to promote fellowship, and to share plans, ideas and mutual responsibilities for the betterment of associational missions.'”
More information about the group’s founding is available in a book by Gregory called “The Mustard Tree: A History of Southern Baptist Conference Directors of Associational Missions.”
“I attended the meetings regularly when serving in the department of associational missions of the Home Mission Board for seven years and as executive director of the Long Run Baptist Association for 16 years,” Bennett said. “I was nourished by its camaraderie, the inspirational messages and the presentation of new information.”
About 40 retired directors of missions attended last year’s meeting in Louisville, and Bennett said he plans to attend the Orlando meeting.
To register for the Orlando directors of missions conference with a fee of $35, complete an online form at sbcadom.net. Questions should be addressed to Jim Leak, SBCADOM administrator treasurer, at [email protected] or 830-895-0400.
Erin Roach is a Baptist Press staff writer.