Alabama Baptists prepare to welcome messengers to SBC meetings

Alabama Baptists prepare to welcome messengers to SBC meetings

By Grace Thornton
The Alabama Baptist

Got your best smile ready? In just a few weeks Baptists from all over the country will be pouring into the Magic City for the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) annual meeting, and Rick Lance says it’s a prime opportunity to say hello and introduce ourselves.

“I appeal to Alabama Baptists to think of yourselves as an important part of a convention welcome wagon,” said Lance, executive director of the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions (SBOM). “We want to make sure all of our SBC family feels welcome as they come to Birmingham.”

To that end the SBOM has been working for months planning and preparing to host the meeting in the best way possible. 

They’ve been preparing billboards to welcome messengers to Alabama. 

Sharing the gospel

And as the meeting gets closer leaders from the SBOM will be involved on a variety of fronts, starting with Crossover. 

Before messengers and guests gather for the SBC annual meeting volunteers will go out June 8 to knock on 20,000 doors in the Birmingham area and share the gospel with the people they meet. It’s an SBC tradition to take all that manpower converging on the city and harness it for the sake of missions. 

Sammy Gilbreath, SBOM evangelism director, is leading those efforts and recruiting volunteers. 

He’s been working hard alongside Birmingham-area associations to get ready, and they would love your help too (see story below on how to volunteer).

In past years Crossover has resulted in hundreds of people professing newfound faith in Christ, providing local churches contacts to follow up with and disciple.

Michael Ethridge, director of operations for Birmingham Metro Baptist Association, has been the point person for recruiting greeters and ushers (see story below) for the SBC annual meeting June 11–12.

“He has been assisted by area pastors from a variety of churches,” Lance said. “They are being trained and oriented to do this ministry with excellence. We are grateful for their participation.”


In the days between Crossover and the annual meeting SBOM is helping to sponsor one night of the SBC Pastors Conference, led this year by Danny Wood, pastor of Shades Mountain Baptist Church, Birmingham.

The SBOM staff is also hosting an exhibit booth at the SBC annual meeting for the first time ever.

“Do plan to come by the exhibit area and say hello,” Lance said. “We would welcome the time of fellowship.” 

He and other Alabama Baptist leaders hope everything will come together in a great meeting where God is glorified.

“These are but a few tangible ways we are seeking to assist our SBC family as they gather in Birmingham for the first time since 1941,” Lance said. “We hope and we pray that the SBC family will make Kingdom impact while in Birmingham. We further desire to see Christ honored in all that we do.”

For more information about SBOM leaders and the ministries of SBOM visit


Getting involved: Volunteer opportunities during SBC

If you’re a hands-on kind of person then you will like the assortment of ways to get involved in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) annual meeting this June. One of them is to volunteer to share the gospel in Birmingham. You also can volunteer to help serve messengers as they attend the meeting.

What’s needed

Explore the information below to discover more about what’s needed and how you can be involved.

Participate in Crossover Birmingham

If you’ve got a heart for sharing Jesus with people who don’t know Him yet Crossover Birmingham could use your help.

On June 8, the Saturday before the SBC annual meeting, groups will meet at 9:30 a.m. at nine hub churches to head out into neighborhoods with the gospel. 

The churches represent Bessemer, Birmingham Metro, Mud Creek, North Jefferson, Shelby, St. Clair and Sulphur Springs Baptist associations. Volunteers will divide into teams and visit 30–50 homes each. 

You don’t have to be local to be a part. To go out you need to do two things — register for the event and attend one training session. 

The first option for training is a kickoff rally at 6:30 p.m. the Wednesday before (June 5) led by Johnny Hunt, senior vice president of evangelism and leadership at the North American Mission Board and co-pastor of First Baptist Church, Woodstock, Georgia. 

Simulcasts available

That event will be held at The Church at Brook Hills, Birmingham, with simulcasts at The Baptist Church at McAdory, McCalla; First Baptist Church, Mount Olive; and First Baptist Church, Trussville.

A second option is to arrive an hour early on Saturday for 8:30 a.m. training at the hub church where you’re planning to serve.

For more information, to view a list of hub churches or to register visit

Serve as an usher or greeter

There’s also a need for ushers and greeters at the annual meeting June 11–12 at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Center (BJCC). You could serve in the morning or afternoon session on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Michael Ethridge, director of operations for Birmingham Metro Baptist Association (BMBA), is coordinating volunteer efforts. Online registration ahead of time is required and BMBA will email you a short training video.

To register visit For more information contact Ethridge at 205-599-3245 or (TAB)