2017 SBC Preview

Phoenix to host upcoming 2017 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting June 13–14

As this year’s Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) annual meeting approaches, SBC President Steve Gaines says fellow Baptists should anticipate emphases on prayer, evangelism and financial stewardship at the June 13–14 gathering in Phoenix, where the 2003 and 2011 annual meetings also were held.

This year’s annual meeting theme is “Pray! For such a time as this” based on Luke 18:1 and Esther 4:14. Gaines hopes that through a commitment “to fervent, frequent, faith-filled prayer,” the SBC will become “a catalyst for spiritual awakening and revival.”

“I believe Southern Baptists can be used of God to spark a mighty movement of prayer, evangelism and discipleship across our nation and around the world,” said Gaines, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church, Cordova, Tennessee. “If we will pray and abandon ourselves to the Lord, He will use us exponentially to take the gospel to people.”

Evangelism emphasis

In addition to several seasons of prayer, Gaines said, annual meeting highlights will include a personal evangelism emphasis Tuesday evening (June 13) led by California pastor and evangelist Greg Laurie and a Wednesday afternoon (June 14) panel discussion on financial stewardship.

Regarding stewardship, Gaines said Southern Baptist churches cannot give more to SBC missions and ministries than church members give through their local congregations.

“The solution for increased funding for world missions begins in the heart of every individual believer in Christ,” Gaines said. “Southern Baptists need to get our financial houses in order.”

The SBC annual meeting also will feature a “Sending Celebration” as International Mission Board (IMB) celebrates missionaries, along with their church families. The Sending Celebration is scheduled for Tuesday, June 13, at 8:30 p.m. in the Phoenix Convention Center.

This year’s Crossover evangelism efforts in Phoenix will center on a June 11 Harvest Crusade led by Laurie. Crusade organizers will work with volunteers to help local churches conduct door-to-door visitation across the city, engaging residents in gospel conversations and extending personal invitations to attend the Sunday night event.

For information about volunteering at the Sunday crusade, visit harvestamerica.com/serve. For information about outreach opportunities on Friday and Saturday, visit harvestamerica.com/pre-events. For more information about Crossover and how you and your church can be involved, visit harvestamerica.com/crossover-events.

Messengers gathering in Phoenix will consider a variety of recommendations including:

• a recommendation that SBC Bylaw 18 be amended to grant one Executive Committee (EC) representative each to the Dakotas, Iowa, Minnesota-Wisconsin and Montana even though they currently have too few church members to apply for EC representation under the provisions of SBC Bylaw 30.

• a recommendation that IMB be permitted to adopt a fiscal year of Oct. 1–Sept. 30 and that the convention amend the SBC Business and Financial Plan to reflect the change.

• a recommendation that the convention approve a 2017–2018 Cooperative Program (CP) Allocation Budget of $192,000,000. The budget would maintain current CP allocations to all convention ministries. However, the formula for distributing any overage of gifts above the CP Allocation Budget would be amended to increase IMB’s portion from 51 percent to 53.4 percent and decrease the SBC Operating Budget portion from 2.4 percent to 0 percent.

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/sbc17 under the Messengers/Guests tab. Resolutions may be submitted online but must be followed up by a letter of credentials from the submitter’s church.

Register online at sbcannualmeeting.net/sbc17 under the Messengers/Guests tab. Messengers, exhibitors and guests need to be registered and properly badged for entrance into the general sessions June 13–14.

Express registration

After completing online registration, each individual 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.

Registration is open for preschool child care, Giant Cow Children’s Ministries, Children in Action Missions Camp and Youth on Mission in conjunction with the annual meeting.

Pre-registration is required and is available online at sbcannualmeeting.net/sbc17 under the “children/youth” tab, with a deadline of whenever the space limitation of 120 children is reached. Registrations will not be taken onsite. (BP)


Going to the annual meeting?
Stay up-to-date on activities with the SBC Annual Meetings app. Download the app on your mobile device by accessing the App Store, Google Play or by visiting app.core-apps.com/sbc_am2017.

And follow along on Twitter @BaptistPress, @SBCLife, @SBCMeeting, @sbccp and @SBCPastorsConf. This year’s preferred hashtag will be #sbc17. (BP)


Missionary speakers to share at National WMU annual meeting

Those who attend will be encouraged to identify defining moments that affect and inspire their missional journey during the Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) Missions Celebration and Annual Meeting, June 11–12, in Phoenix.

“Defining Moments” will be the consistent theme of featured missionary speakers, including Kelly and Brandi Parrish, church planters serving with the North American Mission Board (NAMB) in Denver; Jacob and Jessica Dahl, church planters serving with NAMB in Washington; and Ross and Dena Frierson, International Mission Board (IMB) missionaries.

Focused times of prayer will be led by Carlos Ferrer of NAMB; Edgar Aponte of IMB; and Ken Weathersby, representing the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Executive Committee.

Onsite registration opens at 2 p.m. on Sunday with conference options beginning at 3 p.m., including 10 speed conferences that run 20 minutes each in length. A reception to greet Sandy Wisdom-Martin, the new executive director of national WMU, will be held from 4:45 to 6 p.m. prior to the first general session at 7 p.m.

A special celebration of the 20th anniversary of lives being transformed through Christian Women’s Job Corps, a ministry of WMU, will be part of the evening session.

On Monday general sessions will be at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. In addition, 14 conferences will be offered during breakout sessions from 11 a.m. to noon and 4 to 5 p.m. Topics range from strategic prayer to working across generations to ways to create community among volunteers, in addition to conferences led by NAMB and IMB missionaries.

At 6:30 p.m. on Monday, there will be a special pre-screening of “Mully,” a movie about Charles Mulli, a man born into poverty in Kenya. (The different spelling of “Mully” is intentional.)

At age 6, Mulli was abandoned by his parents as they left in search of a better life. He grew up begging on the streets and became a Christian as a teenager.

When Mulli was 17, he walked more than 40 miles to Nairobi to seek employment. He found work and met his future wife, Esther. He became a wealthy entrepreneur and respected community leader and the couple had eight children.

In 1989 he founded the Mully Children’s Family. He sold all his property and businesses in order to provide street children in Africa with shelter, medical care, education and more. Since then Charles and Esther Mulli have taken guardianship of more than 12,000 abandoned children.

Following the movie, the Mullis will be available for a Q-and-A session.

On-site missions effort

The WMU Missions Celebration and Annual Meeting will be at the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel Ballroom at 100 N. 1st Street, just prior to the June 13–14 SBC annual meeting (see story, page 4).

Participants are encouraged to bring supplies for hygiene kits that will be put together by children participating in SBC child care during the week.

These kits will go to Arizona Baptist Children’s Services to bless the individuals and families it serves. (BP)

For more information, visit wmu.com/phoenix.


On Monday, June 12, the International Mission Board (IMB) will host a complimentary dinner prior to the final session of the Pastors Conference. The dinner will be in the Phoenix Convention Center, Room West 301A/B/C, and tickets can be picked up at the IMB booth. (BP)


SBC Pastors Conference to focus on ‘above every name’

With the theme “above every name,” the June 11–12 Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Pastors Conference is centered on 12 pastors of average-sized Southern Baptist churches preaching through Philippians to exalt Jesus’ name.

The Pastors Conference will feature preaching, worship and prayer to undergird the ministry of pastors and their wives. The sessions at the Phoenix Convention Center will be held June 11–12, prior to the SBC’s June 13–14 annual meeting there.

The 12 conference preachers lead churches ranging in size from approximately 60 to 500 in worship attendees.

Larger churches traditionally have helped fund the Pastors Conference.

This year, however, conference costs have been covered by New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary’s Caskey Center for Church Excellence and other sponsors, freeing the conference’s traditional sponsors to help by funding attendance for pastors of smaller congregations who would not otherwise be able to make the trip to Phoenix.

More than 30 $1,000 scholarships have been distributed, which exceeds the goal Pastors Conference leaders had of helping around 20 people attend the conference and SBC annual meeting.

“We are thrilled that we have been able to help this group of men to attend, grateful to those who have given and anticipate giving out even more in the near future,” Pastors Conference President Dave Miller said.

“Our regret is that we will not be able to help everyone who wants to come to the annual meeting and Pastors Conference.”

Miller, pastor of Southern Hills Baptist Church, Sioux City, Iowa, said the preacher-selection process for the conference wer in average attendance illustrated how many outstanding pastors lead average-sized churches.

Miller’s advice for conference attendees is to “read and look through the Book of Philippians” in advance because the meeting “is all about the text” of Scripture.

The ethnically diverse lineup of speakers features three African-Americans, six Anglos, one Jamaican American, a Cuban American and an Asian American.

Each session also will include a “common ground testimony” by a pastor of a larger church.

The Pastors Conference offering will go to Mission:Dignity, a ministry of GuideStone Financial Resources to supplement the incomes of retired pastors and their widows.

Child care available

Child care for children ages birth through 12 years will be offered by Southern Baptist Disaster Relief child care volunteers during all Pastors Conference sessions.

Children ages 4–12 may register for a conference provided by Children’s Conferences International. Register at www.childrensconferences.com. (BP)

For more information, visit sbcpc.net.


Alabamians nominated to serve

Nominees to serve on the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Executive Committee, the four denominational boards — International Mission Board, North American Mission Board, LifeWay Christian Resources, and GuideStone Financial Resources, — the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the six seminaries and the Committee on Order of Business have been selected by the 2017 SBC Committee on Nominations.

Nominees will serve if elected by the messengers to the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, June 13–14 in Phoenix.
Alabama Baptists nominated:

Executive Committee — Nominated for a second term, Benjamin F. “Ben” Kelley Jr., Montgomery.

New Orleans Seminary —Nominated for a second term, Mike Shaw, Pelham.

Southeastern Seminary — Nominated for a second term, Gregory T. Pouncey, Mobile.

Midwestern Seminary — Nominated for a second term, Ben O. Character, Oxford.

Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission — Nominated for a second term, Bill Morgan, Prattville. (BP)


Women’s events set for SBC

Ministers’ wives attending the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Phoenix are invited to a trio of women’s events.

The events include a Pastors’ Wives Conference (June 12, 8:45 a.m.–11:45 a.m.), a Ministers’ Wives Luncheon (June 13, noon) and a Women’s Expo.

Authors and speakers Kelly Minter of Nashville and Kay Warren of Lake Forest, California, will headline this year’s events to be held in the North Ballroom of the Phoenix Convention Center. The expo will be held in the lobby outside the ballroom and will offer a variety of resources “expose, engage, enlighten and empower ministry wives.”

This year’s theme is “Brave,” based on Proverbs 31:25: “She is clothed with strength & dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.”

Luncheon tickets may be purchased online at lifeway.com/Event/womens-event-sbc-ministers-wives-luncheon-2017.

To learn more about all three events, visit http://sbcwives.com. (BP)