The Cooperative Program (CP) exhibit at the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) annual meeting in Baltimore will feature a diversity of speakers reflecting the multifaceted ministries the CP funds, said Ashley Clayton, SBC vice president for the Cooperative Program and stewardship development.
TED-like talks will be among the newest features of the CP exhibit and will cover such key issues as sex trafficking and ministry outside the Bible Belt.
“Daily personalities who will appear in these interviews on the CP stage will include pastors, denominational leaders and other voices from across the convention who are knowledgeable and passionate about the Cooperative Program,” Clayton said. “Messengers should find the schedule of programming at this display and visit as often as possible throughout their convention experience while in Baltimore.”
Speakers will reflect a wide range of SBC leaders, including elected leaders, entity heads, seminary presidents and pastors, focusing on such topics as church revitalization, pastoring in urban settings, church planting, ethnic diversity, theological challenges, the Great Commission Resurgence and state conventions as well as issues affecting pastors’ wives.
“The CP platform and stage display in the Exhibit Hall is an attempt to elevate, above the floor noise all around us, the long-held SBC values of international missions, theological education, church planting, evangelism, collegiate ministry, disaster relief, church revitalization, moral advocacy and so much more,” Clayton said.
The CP booth reflects a partnership with and is positioned in the Exhibit Hall alongside the International Mission Board (IMB) and North American Mission Board (NAMB).
The SBC’s ethnic diversity also will be emphasized in the CP booth and in the nearby Many Faces exhibit, said Ken Weathersby, SBC vice president for convention advancement.
“The Many Faces exhibit at the annual meeting is a strategic forum to highlight the diversity in the SBC,” Weathersby said. “It is our hope and desire that the messengers would visit with the African American and ethnic leaders as they collaborate and network together to expand the Kingdom of God.” A Many Faces reception will follow the Tuesday evening session of the annual meeting. The gathering will be held in Room 345 of the Baltimore Convention Center.
Reports of other entities’ and ministries’ plans for the Exhibit hall during the SBC’s June 10-11 annual meeting follow:
File photo by Adam Covington
The Cooperative Program stage in the Exhibit Hall has become a place of substantive discussion about the SBC, its ministries and its future. Among last year’s panel discussions in Houston, Frank Page, president of the Executive Committee, spoke with members of a Calvinism advisory committee.
INTERNATIONAL MISSION BOARD – Recognizing the Great Commission was given to each believer in Christ through the church, the IMB exhibit will help visitors find what part they and their churches can play in “One Sacred Effort” to take the gospel to the ends of the earth. The exhibit will feature take-away cards and stickers identifying specific people groups and ministry projects that an individual or church can pray for, partner to reach and engage with the gospel.
Each take-away card will be grouped into providing scripture resources, meeting human needs and sharing the gospel in the global marketplace through various careers. The exhibit also contains sections for global affinity groups, so if God is leading an individual or church to a specific area of the world, they can talk with people working in that area, find out about its people groups and explore how to commit to a particular ministry project.
In addition to the printed cards and stickers, IMB representatives will show visitors the imb.org/one website, which is going live for the SBC meeting featuring the identified people groups and ministry needs. The website can be shared with fellow church members to help them find their place in God’s eternal story of bringing people to Him.
NORTH AMERICAN MISSION BOARD – Visitors to NAMB’S exhibit will meet some of the 32 Send North America city coordinators and regional mobilizers. NAMB representatives will help connect SBC attendees with resources to help them engage their entire church families in the Send North America strategy.
Attendees will learn more about the 2015 Send North American Conference and the Send North America Experience Tour. The conference and tour will provide pastors with venues in which they can help their congregations better understand how God is moving in North America and how they can join what He is doing through Send North America.
NAMB leaders also will participate in a variety of question-and-answer sessions sponsored by the SBC Executive Committee at the Cooperative Program exhibit.
LIFEWAY CHRISTIAN RESOURCES – LifeWay’s popular 8,000-square-foot Christian store will offer a wide selection of books, Bibles and other Christian products. Other LifeWay areas will present interactive displays highlighting research initiatives, church resources, conference centers and direct sales as well as the B&H Publishing Group.
Among the features at the LifeWay exhibit:
LifeWay Research’s interactive 9-foot robot, popular at last year’s SBC, will focus on the theme “Transformation,” drawing attention to its Transformational Discipleship research.
Ministry experts from the church resources division will introduce the expanded Explore the Bible small group curriculum, the only book-by-book curriculum for all ages.
A special story time for kids will be held daily at 2 p.m. in the B&H Publishing Group area featuring noted children’s authors reading their books. Veggie Tales characters Bob and Larry will appear each afternoon at 2:15 in the LifeWay store.
Book signings are scheduled in the LifeWay store throughout the convention by numerous authors such as Ben Carson, David Platt, Gary Chapman, Tom Elliff and Jerry Vines.
Exhibits featuring LifeWay “OneSource” endorsed products and providers will inform individuals and churches of discount purchasing options for items such as church buses and furniture, copiers, office supplies and background checks.
GUIDESTONE FINANCIAL RESOURCES — GuideStone’s Wellness Center once again will offer free health checks valued at $150, allowing messengers and family members to have their blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose measured.
In the main booth, GuideStone representatives will offer reviews of participants’ retirement accounts and answer questions about GuideStone’s life and health plans, property and casualty coverage, and other GuideStone services. Churches will be able to order materials for Mission:Dignity Sunday, highlighting GuideStone’s ministry to needy retired ministers and their widows.
GuideStone will offer several breakout sessions, including “Doctrines of Faith: Taking a proactive approach to our changing culture,” in which a panel will discuss real-life situations churches need to know about for managing possible liability and risks. A free breakfast is included in this session at 8 a.m. Tuesday and 7:30 a.m. Wednesday; advanced registration is required at www.GuideStone.org/SBC14.
GuideStone’s Compensation Planning course will be offered at 9 a.m. on Tuesday and its Retirement Income Solutions seminar at 1 p.m. on Monday and 2 p.m. on Tuesday. Advanced registration is recommended for the compensation and retirement income meetings, also at www.GuideStone.org/SBC14.
GuideStone also will make available a free copy of Nelson’s Annual Preacher’s Sourcebook (Volume 2), edited by GuideStone President O.S. Hawkins, to pastors/preachers. Quantities are limited.
ETHICS & RELIGIOUS LIBERTY COMMISSION – Questions and Ethics, a free book by ERLC President Russell D. Moore, will be distributed at the entity’s booth in the Exhibit Hall.
Just days before the Supreme Court rules on the historic religious liberty case involving Hobby Lobby, join the ERLC for “Hobby Lobby and the Future of Religious Liberty,” a panel discussion featuring Moore, Rick Warren, David Platt and Sam Rodriguez, at 9 p.m. Monday, June 9, in the Baltimore Hilton’s Holiday Ballroom 4/5 & Corridor on Level 2. Slated Tuesday: “Questions & Ethics Live” with Moore and Matt Chandler at 5 p.m. fielding key theology, ministry and cultural questions in the Baltimore Hilton in the Holiday Ballroom 1/2/3 on Level 2. Space is limited for both events; go to erlc.com/sbc to register.
WMU – “Missions for Life,” WMU’s tag line, will be the backdrop for learning about missions involvement opportunities for preschoolers, children, youth and adults at their exhibit. A special focus for Woman’s Missionary Union in Baltimore is the conclusion of a yearlong celebration of its 125th anniversary. Churches are being encouraged to start new organizations through the 1–2–5 Challenge (begin one new organization, with two new leaders and five new members). Adjoining the WMU booth will be New Hope Publishers and WorldCrafts; all three divisions will conduct daily giveaways from their booths.
New Hope Publishers is partnering with WMU to tell the story of radical commitment to God’s mission and will feature the new 2014–15 WMU emphasis book by national WMU President Debby Akerman, “Secrets to Surrender: Living Wholeheartedly.” New Hope also is featuring the work of several SBC leaders including Taylor Field of Graffiti Ministries in New York City. Taylor will sign his books at the LifeWay store in the Exhibit Hall.
WorldCrafts, a fair-trade division of WMU, develops sustainable businesses among impoverished people around the world. A member of the Fair Trade Federation, WorldCrafts partners with dozens of artisan groups to import and sell hundreds of handcrafted items from more than 25 countries. Many of the artisan groups WorldCrafts partners with are working to free women from human exploitation and sex trafficking.
SOUTHERN BAPTIST FOUNDATION – Planning for eternity will be the focus of the Southern Baptist Foundation’s booth showcasing resources and services to facilitate giving, glorifying God and advancing His Kingdom. The foundation assists assist believers in quality estate planning as an act of stewardship and generosity. The foundation also provides prudent, socially screened investment services to churches and entities.
SOUTHERN BAPTIST HISTORICAL LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES – Governed by the Council of Seminary Presidents, the SBHLA is the largest and most accessible collection of Baptist material in the world. The SBHLA exhibit will feature historic photographs of Baptist life, events, churches, ministries and missions. In addition to information on the library and archives, the booth also will have brochures on church archives and information on a new website, baptistheritage.com.
SEMINARY EXTENSION – Seminary Extension has been training volunteers, leaders, teachers and pastors for Southern Baptist churches since 1951. Following its original mandate from the Southern Baptist Convention, Seminary Extension continues to offer opportunities for theological education and ministry training through independent study as well as group studies sponsored by churches, associations and state conventions. Individuals interested in this kind of training where they live and serve are invited to stop by Seminary Extension’s booth in the Exhibit Hall for information. The director Randal Williams and student services associate Carmen Ferreira will field questions about promoting Seminary Extension in your area. They also look forward to visiting with alumni, current and former instructors.
GLOBAL HUNGER RELIEF – A new campaign in the battle against hunger across North America and overseas will launch in the Exhibit Hall in Baltimore. The Global Hunger Relief (GHR) booth will be staffed in part by Southern Baptist missionaries who work hands-on with hunger relief efforts. The booth will focus particularly on relief efforts in Appalachia and among Syrian refugees. Also included in the GHR promotion will be two new music videos from Drew Cline, former lead singer for NewSong and current worship pastor of Fellowship Bible Church in Little Rock, Ark.
More than 1 billion people around the world are hungry more often than not, and about 24,000 people – over half of them young children – die every day from various conditions that could have been alleviated by basic nutrition. Global Hunger Relief seeks to challenge a new generation of believers to personally take Jesus’ love to starving souls in both word and deed. GHR is a collaborative effort of the World Hunger Fund partners: Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, NAMB, IMB, Baptist Global Response, WMU, LifeWay Christian Resources and the SBC Executive Committee.
GOLDEN GATE BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY – This year, Golden Gate will highlight its fully accredited and fully online master of divinity degree as well as the pending sale and relocation of its campus in Mill Valley, Calif. Themed “Biblical, Missional, Global,” Golden Gate’s booth will tell the benefits of gospel-centered education offered at the seminary’s five urban campuses in northern and southern California, Arizona, the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Northwest.
MIDWESTERN BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY – A display of selected books from the Charles Spurgeon Library will be featured at Midwestern’s booth. Visitors can receive a free copy of The Church Planting Survival Guide, a new resource on church planting from the seminary. And they can enter to win an iPad Mini loaded with books by Spurgeon. Numerous other materials will be available, including the latest copy of the Midwestern Magazine focusing on the theme of the relationship between the seminary and the local church. Both faculty and staff will be available to meet with alumni, friends and prospective students during the convention.
NEW ORLEANS BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY – NOBTS will highlight its main campus programs, extension centers and fully online master’s degrees. Faculty members will discuss degree programs and current campus news with alumni and potential students. In keeping with tradition, NOBTS will give away small bottles of Louisiana hot sauce.
SOUTHEASTERN BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY – Visitors to Southeastern’s exhibit will have the opportunity to interact with SEBTS leaders, faculty and alumni about innovative seminary and college degree programs and strategic initiatives that aim to fulfill the Great Commission. Admissions staff will be present to provide information and answer questions as well as distribute the most recent issue of Southeastern’s magazine honoring Daniel Akin’s 10 years as SEBTS president. Convention attendees also will have the opportunity to win books by SEBTS faculty members in the areas of biblical studies, theology, philosophy, cultural engagement and missions.
SOUTHERN BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY – Alumni of Southern Seminary’s Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Ministry are invited to the seminary’s exhibit to receive a gift in celebration of the school’s 20th anniversary. Details about the anniversary celebration plans for the fall also will be available. Throughout the annual meeting, the Southern Seminary exhibit will have a variety of giveaways providing resources for pastors. Along with promotions and interaction opportunities with seminary personalities, the seminary also will distribute the latest issue of Southern Seminary Magazine. Themed around church revitalization, the magazine features articles by President R. Albert Mohler Jr., North American Mission Board President Kevin Ezell, Billy Graham School dean Adam Greenway and former Billy Graham School dean Thom Rainer, now president of the LifeWay Christian Resources. Convention attendees can connect with alumni, professors, friends and prospective students at the exhibit’s seating area as well as purchase tickets for the annual alumni luncheon on Wednesday, June 11. For more information, go to www.sbts.edu/alumni-and-friends/sbc-luncheon.
SOUTHWESTERN BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY – Southwestern’s exhibit will reflect the seminary’s ongoing passion for preaching the Word and reaching the world. The booth will feature several seminary-produced videos highlighting successful students and Southwestern’s global impact. Free books and resources will be distributed, and SWBTS representatives and faculty will be available to discuss the seminary’s programs and answer questions. Information also will be available about Southwestern’s “LAUNCH” evangelism event at 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Baltimore Convention Center (www.swbts.edu/launch).
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Compiled by Baptist Press general assignment writer/editor Diana Chandler and BP editor Art Toalston.)