Development professionals from 10 different state Baptist Foundations gathered recently in Orange Beach, Alabama, for the 9th annual “Relevant Development” conference.
Hosted this year by The Baptist Foundation of Alabama, the conference served as a platform for sharing innovative ideas, fostering motivation and nurturing fellowship among participants.
The conference theme “The Future is Now” tied in with the event’s guiding verse, Galatians 6:9, which emphasizes perseverance in well-doing to reap the rewards in due time.
Each participating Baptist Foundation team had the opportunity to showcase its ministry highlights and address challenges unique to their work. The agenda encompassed a range of topics including estate planning, investments, capital campaigns, partner relationships and staffing.
“God has placed each of us in our development roles for such a time as this,” Rodney Bledsoe of TBFA noted. “We are catalysts for a Kingdom-impacting wave of generosity as we collectively share our services with faithful Baptists.”
Effects of AI
Beyond the team sharing time, the conference featured insights from two speakers. Austin Wilkerson, general counsel of the Kentucky Baptist Foundation, delved into the advancements of artificial intelligence and how it can aid in idea generation. He also noted the potential reliability concerns that should be considered.
Bill High, CEO and president of 7 Generation Legacy, emphasized the impending $68 trillion wealth transfer and its potential impact on funding global gospel dissemination.
Drawing from his experience working with influential families, including the Green family of Hobby Lobby, High discussed strategies for engaging leaders and encouraging them to consider their legacy.
Also sharing during the conference was Russell McCrory, minister to students at First Baptist Church Montgomery, who led a worship experience, and James Wessel, president of Brindlee Mountain Fire Apparatus in Union Grove, who presented during a devotional segment.
Nathan Ealy of TBFA highlighted the conference’s value, stating, “This time is incredibly valuable for us as a Foundation. We have a unique job and mission that many don’t fully understand. For us to gather with others in the same role helps keep us sharp and on the cutting edge of what we’re doing.”
The 2024 conference will be hosted by the Kentucky Baptist Foundation and will be held in Louisville.
EDITOR’S NOTE — This story was written by The Baptist Foundation of Alabama staff.