Archives For Columbus

SBC_logo_2015Midwest is host for Southern Baptist business, prayer next week 

Columbus, Ohio | Missions, evangelism, and cultural impact will highlight the 2015 Southern Baptist Convention June 16-17, which also will emphasize prayer—“extraordinary prayer.”

In his year as SBC President, Ronnie Floyd has positioned the Columbus meeting as an opportunity for Baptists to pray together. The annual meeting’s theme is “Great Awakening: Clear Agreement, Visible Union, Extraordinary Prayer,” based on Romans 13:11. Floyd told Baptist Press he 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,” said Floyd, pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas. “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.”

The prayer focus will culminate in a Tuesday evening Call to Prayer to be streamed on sbcannualmeeting.net and broadcast on the Daystar Television Network. “We will join together in the same room and around the world via technology for this one epic night of prayer,” Floyd blogged last month. “Plan now to adjust your dinner or fellowship to before this session or gather with friends after the session itself. Please let NOTHING
keep you from this extraordinary night of prayer together.”

Floyd also will host a discussion Wednesday afternoon on preparing churches for the future of marriage in America. Panelists include two SBC pastors, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission President Russell Moore, Southern Seminary President Albert Mohler, and Rosaria Butterfield, author of “The Secret Thoughts of an Unchurched Convert: An English Professor’s
Journey into Christian Faith.”

On the Saturday before the Convention convenes, more than 140 projects and activities are planned for the annual Crossover evangelism outreach.

Sending Celebration
The North American and International Mission Boards will hold a joint missionary commissioning service during the Wednesday morning session of the Southern Baptist Convention. Along with celebrating the missionaries about to embark for their mission fields, the service also will celebrate the churches that are sending them.

“The mission fields we serve are unique and need to be approached differently; but the people we want to reach are growing more similar all the time,” said NAMB President Kevin Ezell. “The Sending Celebration is another example of the greater collaboration between IMB and NAMB.”

Musicians Shane & Shane will lead worship during the celebration.

Movies, meals, and an app
LifeWay Christian Resources will offer free screenings of two upcoming movies in Columbus.

“War Room,” the newest film from Alex and Stephen Kendrick, will be shown June 15 at 9 p.m. in the convention center. “Woodlawn,” a true story about spiritual awakening among high school football players, will screen June 16 at 9 p.m. in the convention center.

LifeWay’s The Gospel Project will host a light breakfast and panel discussion on different preaching styles and philosophies. The June 16 meeting begins at 6:30 a.m. and features Pastors H.B. Charles (Florida), J.D. Greear (North Carolina), Chip Henderson (Mississippi), and LifeWay VP Ed Stetzer. Register at Gospel Project.com/SBC15.

The SBC Men’s Breakfast is June 17 at 6:30, sponsored by the North American Mission Board and LifeWay. Speakers include Greear, Matt Carter (Texas) and Michael Catt (Georgia), along with LifeWay and NAMB personnel.

The annual SBC Ministers’ Wives Luncheon, featuring author Angie Smith, is sold out, but there are several other opportunities for women attending the Columbus meeting. The Pastors’ Wives Conference begins at 8 a.m. on Monday, June 15, at the Hyatt Regency, and a women’s expo area will be open prior to each of the events. Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary will host “Tea at 3” on June 15 from 3-4 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency, featuring short messages from women in a variety of leadership roles.

The SBC’s two mission agencies will co-host the fifth annual Send North America Luncheon June 15 at the convention center. Ezell and International Mission Board President David Platt will discuss how the mission boards’ closer cooperation will serve Southern Baptists. Free tickets are available at snaluncheon.com.

Baptist21 will host its annual lunch and panel discussion on June 16 immediately after the morning session. Panelists, including Platt, Moore, Mohler and Charles, will discuss the most pressing issues facing the church. Register at baptisttwentyone.com.

Messengers can once again schedule their SBC activities with help from an app available for iPhone, iPad, and Android
devices. Search “SBC Annual Meetings” in the app store. Along with up-to-date schedule and speaker information, the app also includes a map of the exhibit hall, local restaurant list, PDF versions of the book of reports, daily bulletins, and SBC Life, and a list of area churches.

SBC messengers can register online at sbcannualmeeting.net. Each messenger will receive an eight-digit registration code to present at the annual meeting’s Express registration lane. Childcare for kids in grades 1-6 will be provided, as will hands-on mission opportunities for teens. Pre-registration is required at sbcannualmeeting.net under the “Children/Youth” tab.

SBC Annual Meeting information is from Baptist Press, online at BPNews.net. For more, including a schedule of the Annual Meeting June 16-17, read the May 18 issue of the Illinois Baptist online.

COMMENTARY | Robin Bickerstaff Glover

For many Baptists traveling north and east for this month’s Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting, Ohio probably feels like an out-of-the-way destination. Before moving to Chicago earlier this year, my husband, Steven (an IBSA zone consultant), and I lived and ministered in Ohio for several years. Those of us in the Midwest know the state as an influential place whose opinions and politics can affect the whole country, and where the gospel is desperately needed.

Robin_Glover_calloutIn the 1980s, Columbus, the state capital, adopted a new slogan, proclaiming the city “the heart of it all.” Truly, time and again, the state has proven to be a powerful community in politics. As one Washington Post columnist wrote before the 2012 presidential election: “As Ohio goes, so goes the presidential race.”

But how much do we know about its capital? Here are some facts and figures: Columbus is home to Ohio State, one of the country’s largest public universities. The city has a large LGBT community and has been named the country’s “most underrated gay city” by an LGBT travel website.

At 36%, Catholicism is the predominant religion practiced in Columbus, and the Muslim population is on the rise. According to the most recent statistics, only 6% of the city’s population identifies as Southern Baptist.

The SBC is going to Columbus in order that we might bring the good news of the gospel to the lost, and so that we might strengthen and encourage each other and our brothers and sisters in Christ who are on the front lines, pushing back the darkness.

As we share the gospel through the Crossover evangelistic outreach and other outlets along the way, we can say like the prophet in Isaiah 40:9, “Behold your God!”

As we go into Columbus, here are some things to remember and pray:

• As light bearers, we must keep the premier things in their place. The premier thing is the love of God, and the second is to love others. As Christians, our premier work is to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.

• We should go in the spirit of missions, not only sharing the Word, but also showing the gospel through acts of service, compassion, and justice toward the lost.

• We must go to Columbus encouraging our denomination to purposely speak to the issues of our young people, in order that we might raise up a passionate, God-fearing generation of diverse leaders who stand on the Word of God and live with a Christian worldview, even in these difficult times.

Let us greet the city of Columbus graciously. As we do, our desire must be to bless our host city by our conduct and love for people, even as we lift up our voices saying, “Behold your God!”

Robin Bickerstaff Glover is a writer living in Chicago and a member of Uptown Baptist Church.

Editor’s note: The following Trevin Wax column from BPNews.net first appeared on his Kingdom People blog, hosted at thegospelcoalition.org.

COMMENTARY | Trevin Wax

Summer is for vacations and, for many pastors, denominational gatherings. The Southern Baptist Convention is no exception. This year, we’re meeting in Columbus, Ohio, the 15th largest city in the U.S., one that is well outside of the Southeast where most of our churches are based.

Trevin_WaxIn the past decade, though the attendance at the annual meeting has risen and fallen in conjunction with the location and the major topic of conversation (or controversy), the overall trend has been a dwindling of messengers. This isn’t surprising, considering the loosening of denominational loyalty and the variety of good conferences a pastor can attend.

But Columbus might buck the decline. Here are three reasons I’m particularly excited about this year’s annual meeting.

1. The annual meeting is trending younger.

In Baltimore last year, we saw a 10-year high of younger messengers involved in the convention proceedings. Baptist Press has reported that “nearly one-fourth (24.68 percent) of attendees were younger than age 40. That surpassed by more than 4 percentage points the previous best for the age group, recorded in 2013.”

My first visit to a Southern Baptist Convention was in San Antonio in 2007 as a 25-year-old associate pastor. I remember my initial shock at the small number of young people present. Recent years have seen an upswing in younger Southern Baptist engagement, a reality that is especially surprising when considered alongside the millennial generation’s diminishing enthusiasm for institutions in general. What this tells me is that the annual meeting is beginning to show signs of becoming a vibrant network, not just a report on denominational infrastructure.

2. The schedule of the annual meeting has been reworked in order to highlight the things we are most passionate about.

Few people get excited about a business meeting. Most messengers admit they come to network and see friends, not sit through every session of the SBC. But this year will be different, thanks to a reworking of the schedule under the leadership of the SBC’s president, Ronnie Floyd. For example, all the missions entities will present on Wednesday morning, and it won’t just be a time of reports, but also commissioning of missionaries.

The Send North America conference, slated by the North American Mission Board for this summer in Nashville, already has drawn more than 7,000 registrants, a staggering figure when you consider the fact that only one Convention since 2010 has come close to that number.

What does this tell us? Southern Baptists are hungry for a meeting that casts vision and rallies our people around a great cause. They’re not necessarily there, first and foremost, to vote on resolutions.

But resolutions matter. And so does our business. As Southern Baptists, we should care about the annual meeting, and we should care about this meeting because we care about the Kingdom of God. Business meetings come and go, with their moments of boredom and hilarity, awkwardness and quiet power, and yet in these moments, decisions are made, courses are set that define our cooperative work the rest of the year. It’s not glamorous, but the work of the Kingdom rarely is. This year, however, features a streamlined schedule that emphasizes what we’re there for.

3. We will pray for God to awaken His church to the opportunities before us.

The Tuesday evening meeting will be time of prayer and worship, a pleading with God to revive His people and empower our witness. It is easy to bemoan the moral decay of our culture, the encroaching limits to religious liberties and the difficulty of evangelism in a relativistic society.

But we shouldn’t miss the opportunity here. By cherishing once-common things, such as marriage between a man and woman for life, and core Christian doctrines, such as the exclusivity of Christ for salvation, we have the opportunity for our ordinary obedience to shine even brighter in a pluralistic world that bows to Aphrodite. The annual meeting gives us the opportunity to lay aside our differences, unite around our common confession and lock arms for the cause of Christ and His Kingdom.

Trevin Wax is managing editor of The Gospel Project, a Gospel-centered small group curriculum for all ages published by LifeWay Christian Resources.