SBC President Johnny Hunt has selected "LoveLoud through the Great Commission" (1 John 3:18) as the theme for this year's sessions.
"We've got to 'Love Loud'!" Hunt, senior pastor of the Atlanta-area First Baptist Church in Woodstock, said. "Loud Love moves beyond the four walls of the church. I hope to encourage our folks to roll up their sleeves and get after it.
"Our theme verse is clear," Hunt said of 1 John 3:18 — "My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth."
"It is not simply enough to say; we must do!" Hunt added. "We have embraced what we believe. It is now or never to engage this generation with what we believe — the Gospel. Our nation is lost. We have the answer. Let's do it!"
The final report of the Great Commission Task Force will highlight the Southern Baptist Convention's 153rd annual meeting when the two-day event convenes June 15 in Orlando's Orange County Convention Center.
The much-anticipated report, unveiled May 3 at www.pray4gcr.com, has been the centerpiece of discussion in Southern Baptist circles since messengers at the 2009 meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, authorized the SBC president to appoint a task force. The public conversation intensified when the GCTF released a preliminary version of its report February 22, with some hailing it as innovative and others expressing concerns that it would negatively impact cooperation with state conventions and hurt giving through the SBC's Cooperative Program.
While the task force expects to present its report June 15, at press time they had not announced whether its recommendations will be offered as a single motion or several.
Another matter of interest is the work of presidential search committees for IMB, NAMB, and the SBC Executive Committee. At press time, only the search committee for the SBC Executive Committee had announced its intention to present a nominee for consideration by Executive Committee members. On May 14, the committee anounced that Frank Page, vice president of evangelization for the North American Mission Board, would be nominated as the next president and chief executive officer of the SBC Executive Committee.
Among the highlights planned for this year's program:
• Musical features throughout the meeting presented by the worship choir and orchestra of First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Georgia, and a 1,000-voice combined choir and 200-piece combined orchestra.
• Opening session reports by Morris H. Chapman, retiring president of the SBC Executive Committee, and the presidential message by Hunt.
• The election of officers set to begin at 2:20 p.m. June 15. Candidates for president, as of press time, were Jimmy Jackson, senior pastor of Whitesburg Baptist Church in Huntsville, Alabama, and president of the Alabama Baptist State Convention; Bryant Wright, senior pastor of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, Georgia; Ted Traylor, pastor of Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, Florida; and Leo Endel, executive director of the Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention.
• The convention message by Mac Brunson, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida, on Wednesday morning and, that evening at 8:40, a closing sermon by Southern Baptist evangelist Tony Nolan of Woodstock, Georgia.
• Crossover Orlando 2010 will extend evangelistic block parties and door-to-door and street witness on Saturday, June 12, across the city and three-county Orange, Seminole, and Osceola region. In conjunction with Crossover, a Hispanic family festival will be held at the Central Florida Fairgrounds.
• The 2010 SBC Pastors' Conference, which opens at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, June 13, with a concert by popular Christian musician Travis Cottrell, features a wide range of speakers from diverse backgrounds, including Tony Evans, senior pastor at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas and president of The Urban Alternative; C.J. Mahaney, former pastor of Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and president of Sovereign Grace Ministries; apologetics speaker and author Ravi Zacharias; and Francis Chan, teaching pastor of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, California. The program also will feature the launch of a national campaign to help pastors adopt children.
• Gatherings for pastors' wives that feature a June 14 conference and June 15 luncheon, as well as a Women's Expo to build community, share resources, and exchange ideas.
• The June 13-14 Woman's Missionary Union Missions Celebration and Annual Meeting, gathering under the theme "Unhindered!" The program emphasis includes ways to address human exploitation, which is the focus of WMU's Project HELP for 2010-12. The missions celebration will be held in the Orange County Convention Center's Chapin Theater (West Concourse, Level 3), beginning at 6:30 p.m. on June 13. Among the speakers at the missions celebration: Jennifer Kennedy Dean, author of this year's WMU emphasis book, Life Unhindered: Five Keys to Walking in Freedom, and Gen. Douglas Carver, chief of chaplains for the U.S. Army.
• The Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists annual worship service will be held Wednesday afternoon, June 16, instead of prior to the convention, as in recent years. The change is intended to increase participation of pastors who don't arrive at the convention until after Sunday morning. The service will be held from 2-5 p.m. in a theater just up the escalators from the meeting hall at the Orange County Convention Center. The timing is intended to allow messengers to attend seminary luncheons, make it back for the worship service, and then attend the closing session of the SBC annual meeting. The program includes music by Greater Vision, a Southern gospel trio, a message from evangelist Tim Lee, a former Marine who lost his legs in Vietnam, and a videotaped message from evangelist Billy Graham.
• Associational directors of missions will convene for their 50th meeting on June 12-14 with the theme "Celebrating 50 Years of Partnership in Kingdom Work." Speakers for the event, which will begin Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at the Rosen Plaza Hotel, will include Frank Page, Ed Stetzer, O.S. Hawkins, and Jerry Rankin. DOMs also will have a chance to dialogue with a representative from NAMB regarding the report from the Great Commission Task Force.
Registration for the Orlando annual meeting once again will provide churches with the online opportunity to register their messengers at www.sbc.net to avoid waiting at the counter upon arrival at the convention.
After online registration, the SBC Web site provides a church with a messenger reference number form to be printed out and presented by each messenger at the SBC registration booth in exchange for a nametag and a set of ballots. The appropriate church-authorized representative must complete all online registrations.
The traditional registration method also is available for those churches that are unable or may not opt to access the online registration. Registration cards are available from state convention offices.
For further information about online registration and hotel choices for the SBC annual meeting in Orlando, visit www.sbc.net.
Shuttle service will be available to and from all the hotels on the official housing list posted at www.sbcannualmeeting.net, according to Don Magee, director of information/financial systems for the SBC Executive Committee. Shuttle passes can be purchased for $10 at the convention center for buses running June 15-16. Complimentary shuttle service will run from the convention hotels to the convention center, beginning June 13 at 2 p.m. and continuing Monday.
Parking at the Orange County Convention Center costs $11 each time a car enters the lot, Magee said.
Additional information about airport shuttle and local trolley service is also available at www.sbcannualmeeting.net, as are details about discount tickets to Disney World. Information about other Orlando attractions may be found at www.sbc.orlandomeetinginfo.com.