It’s true that most messengers attending the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) are on staff at a church or association or are involved in denominational service of some type. And the registered guests tend to be family members of the ministry leaders and/or laypeople from area churches.
While the experience is much more than a business meeting those in ministry and denominational service are the target audience. I mean who can know all the players, the politics, the issues and the lingo except those involved and invested in denominational life. Am I right?
Still I would encourage all members of Baptist churches to experience an SBC annual meeting at least once — if nothing else for a glimpse at the full picture of the denomination. And what better opportunity for Alabama Baptists to watch it all in action than June 11–12 when the meeting comes to the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex (BJCC)?
Join in for whatever your schedule will allow — one session, a full day or several days. Experience the Pastors Conference and national Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) events June 9–10. And if you are up for some door-to-door evangelism then think about joining the hundreds of volunteers coming in for Crossover on June 8.
A favorite among convention-goers each year is the massive exhibit hall — and Birmingham’s will be the second largest in the history of SBC annual meetings. So where should you start?
First, mention to your pastor or church administrator you are interested in serving as a messenger if a slot is still available. A church official will take care of this step for you if all works out for you to be a messenger. If not then no worries. You can register as a guest onsite when you arrive.
Second, determine how many hours or days your schedule will allow you to attend. From there research all the activities happening during that timeframe and select what you would like to attend at what time. Find the activities and times at www.sbcannualmeeting.com/sbc19/events. The exhibit hall will be open June 10–12 from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Definitely check it out.
Third, determine your travel plans and lodging if you are staying overnight. Hotels close by are likely sold out by now, but there should be options outside the downtown area. If you aren’t familiar with how to navigate the roads around the BJCC now that there’s a missing chunk of the interstate visit 5920bridge.com.
Finally, pack some snacks and a water bottle like you might do at a theme park to avoid long lines and sometimes pricey lunches or plan to eat outside the normal meal times for quicker service. Food vendors and coffee options are available inside the convention center as well as a few restaurants within walking distance.
While parking and finding your way to the annual meeting activities will take a little effort the experience could be a field trip of sorts if you work with fellow church members to go together. If you have any questions about logistics or would like to talk through the options for your schedule feel free to contact us at TAB and we will do our best to assist.
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