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Exhibit hall among SBC attractions

INDIANAPOLIS (BP)–When Southern Baptists hold their annual meeting, plenty goes on beyond the voting and presentations during the Tuesday-Wednesday sessions held in the local convention center.

The SBC exhibit hall, for example, will be a hub of activity as much as ever. It will be open from Monday through Wednesday, June 9-11.

INTERNATIONAL MISSION BOARD — The IMB booth at the 2008 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting will help individual Southern Baptists and their churches explore the question, “What will it take for church planting to begin among the remaining 3,340 people groups where no one is advancing the Gospel?”

The mission board estimates that reaching these people groups will require a missionary force 8,000 strong (some 3,000 new missionaries), networking and partnering with stateside churches, overseas Baptists and likeminded Great Commission Christian organizations. Supporting this unprecedented number of missionaries also will require extraordinary giving on behalf of Southern Baptists. Missionaries and IMB staff at the booth will help Baptists explore ways for joining efforts to evangelized the world’s unreached.

Copies of the 2008 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering pastor’s guide also will be available. The 2008 missions emphasis focuses on missionaries in South America as well as local Christians and stateside churches partnering with them, exemplifying the global outreach supported by Southern Baptists’ gifts to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions. This year’s theme is “GO TELL the story of Jesus,” with an offering goal of $170 million.

NORTH AMERICAN MISSION BOARD -– NAMB’s three priorities — Sharing Christ, Starting Churches and Sending Missionaries -– will be the focus of the board’s exhibit at the SBC. Visitors will be able to interact with missionaries who are serving throughout North America. NAMB staff representing ministries in church planting, evangelism and mobilization will be present to answer questions from messengers and guest and share ideas for becoming more active as partners in reaching North America for Christ.

NAMB’s exhibit also will showcase the launch of the Southern Baptist Convention’s new evangelism initiative — God’s Plan for Sharing (GPS). NAMB staff will show pastors how they can lead their congregations through the process of praying, engaging, sowing and harvesting in a focused effort by Southern Baptists to reach the goal of every believer sharing and every person in North America hearing the Gospel by 2020. Pastors will also be able to record a personalized video message to introduce GPS to their congregations. In addition, pastors and church leaders will have opportunities to learn how their churches can mobilize for sending members to the mission field for short-term and long-term opportunities.

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE -– Information about the new stewardship emphasis, “It’s a New Day for Financial Freedom,” will be among the resources available at the Executive Committee’s booth. Other ministries of the Executive Committee to be highlighted include the Cooperative Program; SBC.net; SBC LIFE, the EC journal published by its convention relations office; and Baptist Press.

The goal of the Executive Committee is to “inspire confidence in cooperation.” Messengers are encouraged to stop by and register for give-a-ways; pick up various SBC resources; update their church information on SBC.net; order a bulk subscription to SBC LIFE for their churches; sign up for e-mail delivery of Baptist Press, and learn more about It’s a New Day for Financial Freedom, which was launched at the 2006 SBC annual meeting in Greensboro, N.C.

Other groups that have an alliance with the Executive Committee will have exhibits adjacent to the EC booth, including the Southern Baptist Foundation, Holman Bible Outreach International, Crown Financial Ministries, PhilanthroCorp and Unlimited Partnerships.

LIFEWAY CHRISTIAN RESOURCES — LifeWay’s exhibits will feature the popular 10,000-square-foot LifeWay Christian Store, along with interactive displays highlighting LifeWay Church Resources, B&H Publishing Group, LifeWay Research, LifeWay Conference Centers and direct sales. Numerous author signings also will scheduled during the convention.

GUIDESTONE FINANCIAL RESOURCES — GuideStone will unveil its new-look wellness center during the annual meeting. Located in the exhibit hall, the wellness center once again will provide a free health screening valued at $150. Messengers and family members can have their blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar checked, along with bone density and body mass index.

At GuideStone’s main booth, participants can stop by for a personal review of their investment account and learn more about GuideStone’s life and health products. Two seminars will be available for participants: a one-hour session on long-term care insurance and another one-hour class on retirement benefit options provided by GuideStone. Signs will be posted around the exhibit hall with times and locations for the seminars.

Also, GuideStone will formally unveil its relief ministry’s new name, Mission:Dignity during the annual meeting. Resources for Mission:Dignity Sunday will be on-hand at the booth.

ETHICS & RELIGIOUS LIBERTY COMMISSION –- Visitors to the ERLC booth will be introduced to the commission’s newest website, iLiveValues.com, in a unique way: The commission is partnering with the Extreme Group, a pioneer in live polling, to take the pulse of Southern Baptists on a host of cultural topics. ERLC President Richard Land will lead a series of informative discussions with notable guests, utilizing the live interactive surveys.

WOMAN’S MISSIONARY UNION -– WMU will launch its new “Change a Life. Change the World” tagline at this year’s exhibit. “The new tagline emphasizes personal missions involvement and the change that takes place as individuals discover and live a missions lifestyle,” said Dick Bodenhamer, marketing team leader for WMU’s Missions Resource Center. “Along with ongoing WMU organizations for missions education, our exhibit this year will feature how lives are being changed through WMU-sponsored ministries such as MissionsFEST/FamilyFEST, International Initiatives and WMU’s micro-enterprise initiative, WorldCrafts.”

Ed Stetzer and Philip Nation, coauthors of “Compelled by Love: The Most Excellent Way to Missional Living,” are scheduled at the WMU booth on Tuesday, June 10, from noon–1 p.m. The book is a release of WMU’s New Hope Publishers. WMU’s exhibit promises to be an interactive environment, including chances to win various products from WorldCrafts and New Hope.

GOLDEN GATE SEMINARY — Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary’s president, Jeff Iorg, will be signing copies of his new book “Is God Calling Me?” at the seminary’s booth in the exhibit hall. The book is June 1 release from B&H Publishers of LifeWay Christian Resources. In addition to leading the San Francisco-area seminary, Iorg is chaplain of Major League Baseball’s San Francisco Giants.

In his new book, Iorg helps students and young adults work through the call process in such chapters as “Defining the Concept of Call,” “Three Ways God Calls” and “Who God Calls.”

At the seminary’s booth, representatives will be available to discuss the benefits of a Golden Gate education, including master’s and doctoral degrees offered at the five GGBTS campuses in the West: Northern California, Southern California, Denver, Phoenix and the Pacific Northwest.

MIDWESTERN SEMINARY — “Finish the Race” will be the theme of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary & College’s exhibit. Free booklets titled “Answering the Call” will be provided to those considering a seminary education. Representatives from the Kansas City, Mo., campus will be on hand to answer questions about MBTS’ various degree programs.

NEW ORLEANS SEMINARY — Faculty members from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary will be on hand at the exhibit hall booth to answer questions from alumni and potential students about the current degree programs at the main campus or NOBTS’ extension centers. A continuous video presentation will display the complete restoration of the main campus following Hurricane Katrina as well as new construction since the storm. In keeping with tradition, NOBTS also will give away small bottles of Louisiana hot sauce to those who visit the booth.

SOUTHEASTERN SEMINARY — Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary’s exhibit hall booth will feature a new look this year. Messengers, and especially SEBTS graduates, are invited to pick up a free gift and see what Southeastern is doing to equip students to serve the church and fulfill the Great Commission. Southeastern, based in Wake Forest, N.C., also aims for its exhibit space to relay gratitude for Southern Baptists’ support of the Cooperative Program and to give alumni and friends of Southeastern, as well as potential students, a place to relax and enjoy themselves during the convention and the June 9 sessions of the Pastors’ Conference.

SOUTHERN SEMINARY -– A new feature of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s booth this year is that it will be scene of the daily live broadcast of the “Albert Mohler Program,” the syndicated radio show of SBTS President R. Albert Mohler Jr. Visitors are welcome to come and watch the show at 5 p.m. each day during the convention.

Members of the Louisville, Ky., seminary’s faculty will be available in the booth throughout the convention and complimentary copies of SBTS publications will be available. Convention-goers also may purchase tickets to Southern’s annual luncheon on June 11.

SOUTHWESTERN SEMINARY — Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s exhibit hall booth will display its heritage in celebrating its 100th year of service to Southern Baptist churches in 2008. The booth also will reflect Southwestern’s continued passion for taking the Gospel to the world’s unreached peoples. “The booth will focus on the areas that exemplify Southwestern’s history and future: preaching, evangelism and missions,” said Thomas White, vice president for student services and communications at the Fort Worth, Texas, campus. Additionally, seminary representatives and faculty will be available at the booth to discuss Southwestern’s programs and to answer questions.
Compiled by Baptist Press editor Art Toalston.

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