by Shawn Hendricks
COLUMBUS, Ohio (BP) — As this year’s Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting approaches, SBC President Ronnie Floyd urges fellow Baptists to gather June 16-17 in Columbus, Ohio, to cry out to God and expect great things to follow.
This year’s annual meeting theme is “Great Awakening: Clear Agreement, Visible Union, Extraordinary Prayer,” based onRomans 13:11. Floyd hopes Southern Baptists of all ages and ethnicities will attend and “rise to this moment in our nation calling out to God for the next Great Awakening in our nation.”
“We’ve got to understand that we need everybody,” Floyd, pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas, said. “I know historically and biblically there is no great movement of God that ever occurs that is not first preceded by the extraordinary prayer of God’s people.”
Floyd pointed to the Tuesday (June 16) evening worship service, which he has described as having the potential to be an “epic night of prayer.” See related story. Floyd has called on 11 pastors, representing a variety of backgrounds and ages, to help lead the service, which also will feature music by the Cross Church band and choir.
“It’s going to be a tremendous night,” he said. “It’s one that I would just pray to God that every Southern Baptist could participate in.”
Amid the many challenges in the U.S. and abroad, Floyd noted that God is using them “to create a desperation. This is a tremendous time. … It’s a moment of great season. It’s a significant moment. And it’s a moment Southern Baptists cannot pass on.”
He said he hopes the evening also will spark repentance and reconciliation.
“We need to model before this country what it’s like for the men and women [of the SBC] to walk together in unity,” he said, “and that’s what I’m committed to leading us to do.”
With more than 140 projects, activities and opportunities lined up, metro Columbus director of missions Rich Halcombe said Columbus will be ready for this year’s Crossover on Saturday, June 13 — the annual evangelistic outreach by Southern Baptists in the host city of the SBC annual meeting.
Seventy-three local Metro Columbus Baptist Association (MCBA) churches are involved in the effort and will be leading local outreach in their communities, Halcombe said in an April 22 BP article.
“With the local church as the lead, follow-up is built into the designed system for Crossover Columbus,” said Halcombe, noting the city’s Linden neighborhood will be an area of focus during Crossover.
The North American Mission Board (NAMB) and the MCBA are partnering together along with churches throughout the host city as well as volunteers from churches throughout North America.
Halcombe said Crossover could have a positive impact on the association, which has already grown with the addition of 63 new churches in the past decade. But success will hinge on strong volunteer assistance.
For an overview, or to learn more about preparing to participate in Crossover Columbus, visit www.namb.net/crossover. For additional information, visit crossovercolumbus.org. Collegiate groups can learn about opportunities atforcolumbus.org.
Messengers gathering at the Greater Columbus Convention Center will consider a variety of recommendations during the annual meeting. See related story that includes those approved by SBC Executive Committee during its meeting Feb. 17. Among them:
— a new name for Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. Prompted by its decision to relocate its primary campus to the Los Angeles area from the San Francisco area, the seminary has requested that its name be changed to Gateway Seminary of the Southern Baptist Convention.
— an amended North American Mission Board ministry statement to include planting churches overseas in cooperation with the International Mission Board. Messengers approved a similar amendment change to the IMB’s ministry statement in 2011 to allow it to assist with unreached people groups in the U.S. and Canada. The amended NAMB statement is expected to relate particularly to military chaplains stationed at bases overseas.
— SBC bylaw amendments to allow for the potential use of electronic voting devices in the convention hall, after this year’s meeting in Columbus, and to establish a quorum for voting on all matters of SBC business as those present at the time of a ballot.
Messengers to the annual meeting once again can stay updated by using the SBC annual meeting smartphone app that provides alerts, the Book of Reports and the Daily Bulletin. Download the app on your mobile device by accessing the App Store or Google Play or selecting one of the options at sbcannualmeeting.net.
— With the theme “He Must Increase,” the June 14-15 Pastors’ Conference will welcome pastors and their wives for a two-day event of preaching, worship and prayer at the convention center.
Southern Baptist Pastors’ Conference President William Rice said he hopes the conference will focus less on style and ministry fads and more on Jesus — “His glory, the mission to make Him known among the nations and in our own country.” While methodologies, leadership, strategies and worship styles can be good things, he said it’s important they remain in the right place.
The Pastors’ Conference is free and requires no registration. To learn more about this year’s schedule, sponsors and theme, visit sbcpc.net.
— This year’s annual meeting will feature a “Sending Celebration,” a joint commissioning service Wednesday, June 17. The International Mission Board and North American Mission Board will celebrate commissioning overseas missionaries and North American church planters. Keynote speakers will include Floyd, IMB President David Platt and NAMB President Kevin Ezell, with Shane & Shane as the featured worship leaders.
— During its fifth annual Send North America luncheon, NAMB will highlight its partnership with Southern Baptists to push back lostness throughout North America. The luncheon also will provide an opportunity for Baptists to learn more about how IMB and NAMB are working more closely to better serve the convention. The event will be held Monday, June 15, at noon, in the convention center’s Battelle Grand Ballroom. The lunch is free but seating is limited. Attendees must register and have a ticket to attend. Tickets are available at snaluncheon.com.
— Ministers’ wives attending the SBC annual meeting will be able to attend a variety of women’s events based on the theme, “Radiant,” from Exodus 34, including a Ministers’ Wives Luncheon, Pastors’ Wives Conference and a Women’s Expo.
The Ministers’ Wives’ Luncheon will be June 16 in the Hyatt Regency Ballroom adjacent to the convention center. The event will feature guest speaker is Angie Smith, an author and the wife of Todd Smith, lead singer of Dove Award-winning group Selah. The guest musician is TaRanda Greene. Luncheon tickets are $15 and can be purchased by clickingMinisters’ Wives’ Luncheon or contacting Mary Cox at firstname.lastname@example.org. See related Baptist Press story today for more information.
— Global Hunger Relief, the Southern Baptist campaign to combat hunger in the U.S. and worldwide, will participate in the annual meeting program for the first time on Wednesday morning (June 17). A cooperative initiative of seven Southern Baptist national partners, GHR is a way for people to get directly involved in fighting hunger crises that impact millions worldwide today. During the report and at their booth in the exhibit hall, GHR will promote Global Hunger Sunday on Oct. 11, and draw attention to what Southern Baptists are doing to counter the hunger problem. Visit globalhungerrelief.com to learn more about GHR and resources for Global Hunger Sunday.
— GuideStone Financial Resources will again offer a wellness center during the annual meeting. Messengers can visit the exhibit hall to take advantage of the wellness center’s services, valued at $150. GuideStone also will offer retirement and insurance meetings during the SBC annual meeting and Pastors’ Conference June 15-17.
Register online at sbcannualmeeting.net under the Messengers tab. After completing online registration, each messenger will receive an eight-digit registration code to present at the annual meeting’s Express registration lane. There, the registration code can be entered into a computer and a nametag will be printed.
Messengers planning to propose resolutions must submit them no later than 15 days prior to the annual meeting. Detailed guidelines on submitting resolutions are available at sbcannualmeeting.net under the Messengers tab. Resolutions may be submitted online but must be followed up by a letter of credentials from the submitter’s church.
Children & students
Registration is open for preschool child care, Giant Cow Children’s Ministries, Children in Action Missions Camp and Youth on Mission in conjunction with annual meeting.
Southern Baptist Disaster Relief child care volunteers will care for preschoolers; Giant Cow Children’s Ministries (formerly Children’s Conferences International) and Woman’s Missionary Union will guide the Children in Action Missions Camp and Youth on Mission curricula and activities.
Preschool child care and activities for children who have completed grades 1-6 will be held at the convention center. Youth who have completed grades 7-12 will worship each morning at the convention center before going into the community for hands-on mission projects.
Pre-registration is required and available online at sbcannualmeeting.net under the “Children/Youth” tab. Early registration is encouraged, as space is limited. No onsite registration will be accepted.