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Plenty afoot at the SBC

SAN ANTONIO (BP)–San Antonio’s Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center will become a hub of activity when the Southern Baptist Convention comes to town.

Among the events scheduled at the convention center and nearby hotels are the annual Southern Baptist chaplains’ luncheon on June 11 and the Ministers’ Wives’ Luncheon and a FAITH luncheon, both on June 12, the opening day of the SBC’s two-day annual meeting.

Chaplain (Capt.) Jeff Struecker will address the chaplain’s luncheon, slated for 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday in Mission 103B on the street level of the convention center.

Struecker, a former Army Ranger, was a central figure in the book and movie “Black Hawk Down” as part of Operation Gothic Serpent in Mogadishu, Somalia. Struecker has recounted his various life experiences in “The Road to Unafraid” with coauthor Dean Merrill.

In addition to Somalia, Struecker’s combat experience includes multiple tours in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, plus participation in Operations Iris Gold in Kuwait and Just Cause in Panama. He enlisted in the Army in September 1987 and was called to the ministry while serving with the 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Benning, Ga.

Struecker holds a master of divinity degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. He and his wife Dawn have five children: Aaron, Jacob, Joseph, Abigail and Lydia.

At the Ministers’ Wives Luncheon, author and women’s ministry leader Nancy Leigh DeMoss will speak on personal revival, while June Hunt of the Hope for the Heart counseling ministry will lead the women in a time of renewing their call to serve as ministers’ wives. Comedian Dennis Swanberg also will be featured.

Immediately following the 11:30 a.m. luncheon, Hunt will hold a 30-minute question-and-answer period; questions can be e-mailed in advance to [email protected].

To be held in Ballroom A of the convention center, the luncheon is open to all wives of ministers — pastors, staff members, chaplains, missionaries and denominational workers. To purchase tickets at $10 each, visit www.fbcjax.com or call 904-366-1325.

Meanwhile, pastors trained in the FAITH evangelism/Sunday School strategy can attend a luncheon sponsored by LifeWay Christian Resources immediately following the Tuesday morning business session.

Attendees at the luncheon, slated for the Marriott Riverwalk Alamo Ballroom A/B/C on Level 2, will hear about the new generation of FAITH strategy from LifeWay President Thom S. Rainer and FAITH author Bobby Welch, who now serves as strategist for global evangelical relations with the SBC Executive Committee.

Reservation inquiries for the FAITH luncheon can be phoned to 1-877-FAITH-98.


— LifeWay will provide free counseling for ministers and spouses during the annual meeting. Counseling will be available Monday through Wednesday. Call 615-476-4672 to schedule a confidential appointment.

— Discount cards for San Antonio-area restaurants and attractions are being made available for $10 by Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, with proceeds to go toward financial aid for SWBTS students.

The discount cards may be purchased online by going to http://community.swbts.edu and clicking on “Upcoming events,” or at Southwestern’s booth at the exhibit hall. For more information, call toll-free 1-877-467-9287 or send an e-mail to [email protected].

— The annual Founders Ministries Fellowship Breakfast will be held at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, June 12, in the Alamo Ballroom A/B/C/D on Level 2 of the Marriott Riverwalk in San Antonio.

Voddie Baucham, author, Bible teacher and preaching pastor at Grace Family Baptist Church in Spring, Texas, will be the breakfast’s featured speaker. Tickets purchased by May 28 are $10 and are $15 thereafter. To register or for more information, go to www.founders.org/conferences/ffb.

— GuideStone Financial Resources will host its annual annuitant dessert reception from 2-2:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 13, in Room 102B near Exhibit Hall A in the convention center. Retirees attending the SBC annual meeting can stop by the GuideStone exhibit and get an admission ticket for the reception.


Each SBC entity will have a presence in the exhibit hall, as will numerous Baptist colleges and various ministries.


The International Mission Board’s exhibit will focus on helping individuals and their churches discover ways to reach the world for Jesus Christ. The 2007 missions emphasis features the former Soviet Union, with personnel from Central Asia and Central and Eastern Europe -– the two IMB regions that now make up the former Soviet Union -– among those staffing the IMB booth. Visitors to the booth can pick up a copy of the 2007 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering pastor’s guide and preview the updated version of the imb.org website with its new real-time functions along with a new IMB website to be unveiled this fall.


The North American Mission Board exhibit will feature the three primary emphases of the entity: sharing Christ, starting churches and sending missionaries. Missionaries will be on hand to share their experiences and staff will be available to answer questions. In addition, NAMB will celebrate three significant anniversaries — the 10th year for the board itself, the 40th year for disaster relief ministry and the 300th year for associational missions. Opportunities to meet Geoff Hammond, NAMB’s new president, also will be available.


LifeWay’s exhibits will feature the popular 11,000-square-foot LifeWay Christian Store, along with interactive displays highlighting LifeWay Church Resources, B&H Publishing Group, LifeWay Conference Centers, LifeWay E-Business, direct sales, and author signings. In addition, LifeWay is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Facts & Trends magazine. Visitors may register for the daily giveaway of a Facts & Trends gym bag packed with prizes, including an iPod preloaded with Inside LifeWay podcasts.


“Inspiring Confidence in Cooperation” is the overarching theme of the new-look Executive Committee exhibit. Five ministry assignments — Cooperative Program, SBC.net, Convention Relations (SBC LIFE), Baptist Press and Stewardship (It’s a New Day for Financial Freedom) — will be highlighted. Churches also can pick up free resources, update their information on the Net, secure a bulk subscription to SBC Life, sign up to have Baptist Press delivered directly to their inbox, and learn more about the It’s a New Day for Financial Freedom initiative launched at last year’s annual meeting in Greensboro, N.C.


The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission’s exhibit will feature a stable of classic cars that will recall memories of the open road when life was less chaotic and will introduce visitors to an online community — JosiahRoad.com — that promises to strengthen them in their spiritual journey. The new website will offer resources for Bible study and virtual community-building to encourage believers in their personal faith walk.


GuideStone Financial Resources will unveil a new-look main exhibit this year and will host the popular wellness booth where messengers can take advantage of a health screening valued at $150. The screening, a partnership between GuideStone and LifeWay, includes a blood pressure check, cholesterol check, blood sugar check, body mass index measurement and a bone density screening.


WMU’s exhibit will focus on the theme “Change a Life, Change the World,” emphasizing personal missions involvement for all church members. “Involvement in missions activities and education is vital to the spiritual health of a congregation, and WMU is being very intentional to communicate that a personal missions lifestyle is important for everyone in the church,” said Dick Bodenhamer, marketing team leader for WMU’s missions resource center. Among the new initiatives: Children’s Ministry Day, to encourage children to engage in hands-on ministry projects through their churches on Feb. 16, 2008.


The Seminary Extension exhibit will feature helps for anyone desiring in-depth training, including new certificates available for bivocational ministry, women’s ministry and lay ministry. Study is available anytime, anywhere, for anyone via Internet, interactive CD Rom, traditional independent study (correspondence) and classrooms. Staff will be available to help guests find the program of study to fit their need.


The Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives exhibit will feature photographic images of Baptist missions and missionaries, former denominational leaders, educational institutions, significant events in Baptist history and church activities from times past. Library and Archives staff members will be available to assist guests with concerns about preserving and caring for their church’s historical records.


Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary faculty and staff will be on hand to discuss the seminary’s new Ph.D. program in Old and New Testament beginning in the fall, the online eCampus and any other questions about the seminary, which operates five fully accredited campuses in Northern California, Southern California, the Pacific Northwest, Arizona and Colorado.


“In the heart of America to reach the hearts of the world!” will be the theme of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s exhibit celebrating the seminary’s 50th anniversary. MBTS representatives will be on hand to answer questions about Midwestern’s degree programs. Birthday cake will be served immediately following President R. Philip Roberts’ report to the convention Wednesday morning.


A continuous video presentation at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary’s exhibit will display the complete restoration of the campus following Hurricane Katrina as well as new construction. Faculty members will be on hand to answer questions from alumni and potential students about the campus and current degree programs.


Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary will have a new exhibit this year, with Dennis Darville, vice president for institutional advancement, noting, “Our desires for Southeastern’s booth are to say a heartfelt thank you to Southern Baptists for continuous Cooperative Program support; to give a place for our alumni to gather; and to show potential students what a Southeastern education can mean for them.”


Various faculty members of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary will be on hand at the seminary’s exhibit to discuss Southern’s programs and to answer questions. The seminary will also give away various items such as the latest edition of the Southern Seminary Magazine (The Tie), which explores Christian stewardship.


Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s exhibit will display the historic roots of the 99-year-old institution alongside modern creativity incorporated into classroom instruction. “The booth will focus on the things which are most important to Southwestern, such as preaching, evangelism and missions,” said Thomas White, the seminary’s vice president for student services. “In addition, we will celebrate that ‘we are Texas’ by emphasizing our locations and alumni impact all over the state.”
Compiled by Art Toalston.

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