News Articles

SBCAL celebrates increased training and partnership in 2023

Organizers anticipated the attendance for the 2023 SBCAL meeting to outpace last year's by 40 percent. Photo by Robin Cornetet

ATLANTA (BP) — The Southern Baptist Conference of Associational Leaders (SBCAL) took every possible opportunity to advance gospel efforts in 2023, seeing record milestones and more people working toward a unified mission.

To begin a year full of changes, Ray Gentry was repositioned as the full-time President and CEO of SBCAL, which gave him a greater capacity to serve the growing needs of SBC leaders. He has traveled nationwide to build relationships with DOMs/AMSs, offering encouragement and counseling along the way. In addition, Gentry has committed to blogging weekly and curating content dedicated to AMSs and other ministry leaders at www.drraygentry.com.

In reflecting on the accomplishments 2023 held, Gentry told BP, “I am very grateful to the many associational leaders who have joined SBCAL and who have pledged to support SBCAL in their associational budgets. I am also thankful for the ministry partnerships we have with SBC entities, with state conventions, and with other ministries.”

Ray Gentry (Baptist Press file photo)

SBCAL hopes to form even more partnerships and cohorts in 2024.

Over 200 AMSs attended the SBCAL annual conference held in New Orleans June 11-12. The theme: Leading with Integrity and Skill, based on Psalm 78:72, featuring speakers: Jamie Dew, J. J. Washington, Tom Wood, Hance Dilbeck, Josh Ellis, and Danny Akin. The over 420 participants experienced two days full of inspiration, valuable teaching, and skill development. They are anticipating a great turnout for their 2024 annual conference in Indianapolis June 9-10 where AMSs can expect to be “equip[ed], encourage[ed], and network[ed].”

In addition to the annual conference, SBCAL hosted multiple webinars throughout 2023 featuring topics like building a culture of prayer, handling abuse, and reaching single adults. These webinars bring a sense of practicality along with tangible examples that AMSs can implement into their mission strategies throughout the year.

A new Task Force chaired by Brian Nall, AMS, Pensacola, FL, has been formed to bring recommendations to the June Annual Meeting for associations who request assistance in updating their associational membership requirements.

SBCAL’s efforts are paying off: membership of associational leaders is at a record 600+, and ministry partnerships with state conventions are up to 15. Furthermore, 8 AMS Cohorts have been formed with over 50 participating in monthly peer learning groups.

Gentry says his biggest takeaway from 2023 is that “Associations across the country are generally considered a stabilizing force in the SBC with a bright future.”

    About the Author

  • Madison Burnette