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SBC DIGEST: Road to New Orleans series debuts; Mission strategist moves to IMB

Road to New Orleans video series launches

By Brandon Porter/Baptist Press

NASHVILLE (BP) – Preparations are underway for a clear road to New Orleans for the 2023 SBC Annual Meeting. The Road to New Orleans, the popular pre-annual meeting video series to help messengers and guests, launched online Tuesday (Jan. 24).

Jonathan Howe, VP of Communications for the SBC Executive Committee, hopes the weekly video series will help remove roadblocks for those planning to make their way to the bayou in June. New episodes are scheduled to be released through March.

“The goal of this series is to introduce the city of New Orleans to Southern Baptists from around the country so that when they arrive in June, they feel at home at the annual meeting,” Howe said.

In the series, Howe travels around the Big Easy sharing fun facts and information while allowing messengers to hear from those who will be leading the meeting such as SBC President Bart Barber and Pastors’ Conference President Daniel Dickard.

The video series also features the work being accomplished by Southern Baptists in the New Orleans area.

“We will highlight the history and tradition of the city as well as the incredible ministry Southern Baptists are already doing all across the city,” Howe told Baptist Press.

If you’re familiar with Howe, you know that food is never far from his mind. “And of course, we will shine a spotlight on the food of New Orleans,” he said.

New Orleans area pastors Fred Luter and Jay Adkins will be guests on the series giving tips on food and fun in the city.

Longtime local AMS Jack Hunter is also a scheduled guest. He has a unique perspective on the relationship of the SBC and the city in light of the disaster relief that has been provided to the city on numerous occasions.

New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary President Jamie Dew and his wife, Tara, will also join Howe along with other guests.

The first video in the series is also available in Spanish.

Howe said he hopes SBC messengers will share his enthusiasm in attending this year’s annual meeting, “It’s a city unlike any other in America, and we’re excited for what Southern Baptists will see and experience this June.”

KBC mission strategist taking role with IMB

By Mark Maynard/Kentucky Today

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) – John Barnett, who has served as a mission strategist for the Kentucky Baptist Convention since 2020, has accepted the position of director of diaspora mobilization with the International Mission Board.

Eric Allen, Mission Mobilization team leader for Kentucky Baptists, said Barnett’s last day at the KBC will be Jan. 30.

“Some of you may know that in addition to his responsibilities here, John also worked to develop the SBC’s Diaspora Collective, working with state conventions, seminaries, and national leaders at NAMB, IMB and WMU,” Allen said. “In other words, we platformed and shared him so that others could see just how gifted he is. John has been a tremendous asset to our KBC team and will be greatly missed.”

Barnett began working with the KBC staff as a part-time contract worker, assisting churches in reaching displaced people. He was brought on as a full-time KBC employee in January 2020.

Todd Gray, executive director-treasurer of the KBC, said Barnett will continue to benefit Southern Baptists in the new role.

“It is no surprise that the IMB would look to Kentucky, and in particular to John Barnett for this strategic position,” Gray said. “Kentucky Baptists who have interacted with John know firsthand his passion and expertise in reaching and ministering to displaced people in the U.S. John brings a wealth of personal experience along with a heart for evangelism to this role. He will be missed in Kentucky, but he will be a blessing to Southern Baptists in this new assignment.”

Barnett and his family will remain in Louisville. “He is wrapping up his responsibilities here and is committed to helping us with a smooth transition,” Allen said.

Barnett was thankful of his time with the KBC.

“I want to say thank you to everyone for their kind words and encouragement. I have loved working at the KBC, and I am grateful that I will be able to serve the KBC in a new capacity moving forward,” he said.

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