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SBC meeting in June to include Franklin Graham, Gaithers

INDIANAPOLIS (BP)–The Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting, June 15-16 in Indianapolis, will be anything but one-dimensional, reflecting the depth of this year’s theme, “Kingdom Forever.”

It will continue to build on the SBC Kingdom Family emphasis from last year’s annual meeting in Phoenix, with activities scheduled for family members of all ages.

The closing session Wednesday evening will feature:

— Franklin Graham, who is following in his father’s evangelistic footsteps while also working at the forefront of human needs crises worldwide.

— the Gaither Vocal Band, led by Bill Gaither, one of the most beloved and prolific songwriters in Christian music.

— an overview of Southern Baptists’ worldwide missions through 5,000-plus workers sent out by SBC churches under the auspices of the International Mission Board.

There are still other important reasons to attend the SBC annual meeting, noted Jack Graham, the Dallas-area pastor who will conclude his two terms as convention president.

“The annual convention in Indianapolis is an opportunity for Southern Baptists to experience the heart and passion of our ministry across America and around the world,” Graham said. “In a world facing terrorism and global unrest, we must rise to the challenge of our times.

“This great gathering in June is at a crucial time in our nation’s history, and we have been called to the Kingdom for such a time as this,” Graham continued. “I want to encourage pastors and church leaders to join us in the great city of Indianapolis, which is in the heart of our nation. I especially want to encourage seminarians, students and young pastors and leaders to participate. It is important that we connect the emerging generations to the cooperative missions of Southern Baptists.

“We will hear powerful preaching, experience Christ-exalting worship, share life-changing testimonies, transact Kingdom business and commit to world evangelism and missions,” Graham said.

“Please begin praying for the Southern Baptist Convention, asking God to pour out His Spirit upon us,” the SBC president said. “Kingdom Forever will be our focus and now is the time for us to be at our best for our Redeemer King.”

In addition to Franklin Graham, “Kingdom Challenge” messages will be delivered by Roy Fish, longtime professor of evangelism at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; David Jeremiah, senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, Calif.; and evangelist Jay Strack with the Student Leadership University in Orlando, Fla. This year’s convention sermon will be preached by Steve Gaines, pastor of First Baptist Church in Gardendale, Ala.

Online messenger registration, introduced for last year’s annual meeting, will open Feb. 1 at the SBC’s website, www.sbc.net. Hotel options and reservation information currently is posted on the website.

The June 13-14 Pastors’ Conference preceding the SBC annual meeting will focus on the theme of “Jesus Came Preaching” with such speakers as Adrian Rogers, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in suburban Memphis, Tenn.; Bible teachers Stephen Olford and Voddie Baucham; and Mike Haley from Focus on the Family.

The Woman’s Missionary Union annual meeting, focusing on the theme of “Christ Followers,” also is slated June 13-14 in Indianapolis and will feature a number of missionaries with the SBC’s International Mission Board and North American Mission Board.

Convention manager Jack Wilkerson of the SBC Executive Committee, noted the family activities being planned in conjunction with the annual meeting.

“At this year’s convention in Indy, activities for the entire family are being planned, starting with preschool childcare, an age-graded enhanced children’s conference and a specially designed Centrifuge for teens.”

Details will be posted on the SBC’s website, www.sbc.net, beginning Feb. 15.

Childcare for infants through children who have completed kindergarten will be available from Sunday afternoon through Wednesday.

The SBC Children’s Conference for children in grades one through six Monday through Wednesday, with the theme of “Hearts Under Construction,” will be led for the second year by Denton Brothers, a team of three brothers from Swift Creek, Mich.

The Centrifuge-type camp — offered for the first time at an SBC annual meeting — will be akin to the popular summer camps for students in grades seven through 12 offered nationally by LifeWay Christian Resources. It will be “a life-changing camp,” said Joe Palmer, director of LifeWay’s student events department — “a classic summer camp experience where each thing we do is designed to help kinds respond to God’s call on their lives.” It will begin on Monday night and continue through Wednesday.

On Wednesday afternoon, families can venture to a number of area attractions and venues, including the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, through the services of Lew White Tours of Indianapolis. Routes will include the Indianapolis Children’s Museum, Indianapolis Zoo, NCAA Hall of Champions, the Indiana State Museum and the Conner Prairie Pioneer Settlement. Tickets will be available in the information area of the convention center.

“Nine downtown hotels are within easy walking distance, with six hotels connected directly with the convention facility,” Wilkerson said, noting that shuttle services also will be available to and from all airport-area hotels and from several downtown hotels outside walking distance to the Indianapolis Convention Center.
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: SBC 2004.