Phoenix SBC: Commission focus, no night sessions
Mark Kelly, Baptist Press
May 02, 2011

Phoenix SBC: Commission focus, no night sessions

Phoenix SBC: Commission focus, no night sessions
Mark Kelly, Baptist Press
May 02, 2011

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — “A Great Commission People with a Great

Commandment Heart” will provide the focus for a June 14-15 Southern Baptist

Convention (SBC) annual meeting in Phoenix

that will be more compact and offer more opportunities for fellowship.

A broad range of auxiliary activities also will be held,

from Crossover 2011 evangelistic outreach events to the annual Pastors’

Conference and Woman’s Missionary Union annual meeting and missions


The SBC’s business

sessions in the Phoenix Convention

Center will include messengers’ consideration of

recommendations from the SBC Executive

Committee’s review of ethnic church and ethnic church leader participation in

the convention.

Bryant Wright, president of the Southern Baptist Convention,

said last year’s emphasis on “Great Commission Resurgence” laid the foundation

for this year’s challenge to fulfill Christ’s disciple-making command.

“I’m very thankful for what Johnny Hunt and the GCR

Task Force did in calling attention to the fact that we’re not baptizing as

many, we’re not growing, that we’re not doing our part of fulfilling the Great

Commission,” Wright said. “Now that we understand that, the fulfillment of the

Great Commission is going to be front and center at the convention.

In January, the SBC’s

Committee on Order of Business announced significant changes in the annual

meeting schedule, including holding two missionary appointment services, fewer

business sessions and no night sessions. Wright said the changes are designed

to allow a greater focus on the Great Commission and free up time for

fellowship, discussions and family.

“We’ve asked the North American Mission Board (NAMB) and the

International Mission Board (IMB) to commission new missionaries during the

meeting,” Wright said. “It’s very seldom that a church is able to experience a

commissioning service. This is going to allow the churches of the convention to

take part.

“Days at the convention are long and an important part of

the annual meeting is fellowship, so you go to eat dinner with somebody that

you haven’t seen in five years and the next thing you know it’s too late to get

back to the evening session,” Wright said. “We’re going to go a little longer

in the afternoon so people can have the evening free for fellowship with


The main addresses during the annual meeting, combined with

a Pastors’ Conference focus on church planting, will inspire and challenge

participants to take the gospel to a world in desperate need of Good News,

Wright said.

“I realize Southern Baptists are just one part of God’s

Kingdom. It takes Bible-believing Christians all around the world to fulfill

the Great Commission,” Wright said. “But we really do have a wonderful

opportunity to put the Great Commission front and center for Southern Baptists.

We will have the focus of Kevin Ezell at NAMB on church planting, and also

Vance Pitman’s focus in the Pastors’ Conference on church planting in the

western United States, and we also will have myself and David Platt (preaching

the convention message) and Tom Elliff at IMB (the mission board’s new

president) challenging us to really get serious about reaching the unreached

people groups of the earth.”

While there are many people groups where less than 2 percent

of the population is Christian, there are 3,800 “unengaged” people groups that,

as far as anyone knows, have no Christian witness at all, Wright said.

“It’s what’s on my heart. I know it’s what’s on Tom Elliff’s

heart. The challenge we’re putting before churches is, let’s really make a

commitment to engage the unengaged people groups with the gospel of Jesus Christ,”

Wright said. “I have said I feel part of why we have had less focus on the

Great Commission is that we have lost our first love of Jesus Christ. It’s

important that we remember relationship with Christ is to be pre-eminent and

when we really follow Jesus, then we’re going to have a passion for the lost.”

While Phoenix is a long way for most Southern Baptists to

travel, Wright said he believes those who attend will be glad they got away

from the day-to-day responsibilities of the local church to let the Lord speak

to them.

“It’s good for Southern Baptists to go to places like

Phoenix for our convention because it gives us a presence and it’s a way to

encourage the churches in those communities,” Wright said. “When we come

together, we also sense God moving among us with a passion to reach the

unreached people groups, to plant churches in areas where there’s not a lot of

witness for Christ. Being there together, the Holy Spirit just works among us,

to give us a catalyst to move forward in faith.”

Wright also encouraged convention-goers to dress “business


“The heat of Phoenix

is incredible. It will look kind of strange on the streets of Phoenix for

people to be walking around in coats and ties in 110-degree heat,” Wright said.

“So we’re encouraging people just to come business casual, even those on the

platform. Dress comfortably for an incredibly warm climate.

“The fact the meeting is going to be compact, the fellowship

time at night, the Great Commission focus — it’s going to be a very focused

convention,” Wright said. “The convention president, the convention sermon,

NAMB and IMB are all on the same page. We’re all in this together. That’s very

exciting. For those who are interested in focusing on Christ’s Great

Commission, it will be very exciting to be part of this.”

Crossover Phoenix

Southern Baptists coming to Phoenix for Crossover 2011

evangelistic outreach events will assist local churches and strengthen new

congregations. Dozens of congregations will join volunteers at 70 ministry

venues throughout the Phoenix-Tucson corridor, a 120-mile stretch encompassing

5.2 million residents.

Volunteers will share the love of Christ as they participate

in block parties, prayerwalking excursions, Intentional Community Evangelism

outreach projects and acts of kindness.

Crossover 2011 also will directly impact and strengthen 10

new churches that are just starting in the five Baptist associations of the


To learn more about Crossover 2011, visit

www.crossover2011.org. To assist new church plants in the Phoenix area, visit

www.churchplantingvillage.net/crossover2011. For those unable to travel to Arizona

this summer, Southern Baptists can join in an online prayer community at

facebook.com/SBCpray4AZ or by following twitter.com/sbcpray4az.

(See related story.)

Ethnic study

Messengers to the annual meeting will receive

recommendations from the SBC Executive

Committee’s review of ethnic church and ethnic church leader participation in

the convention. Those recommendations, adopted by the EC Feb. 22, are designed

“to foster conscious awareness of the need to be proactive and intentional in

the inclusion of individuals from all ethnic and racial identities within

Southern Baptist life.”

Based on a motion presented at the 2009 SBC

annual meeting in Louisville, Ky.,

an Executive Committee study group examined “how ethnic churches and ethnic

church leaders can be more actively involved in serving the needs of the SBC

through cooperative partnership on the national level.”

The group reviewed all resolutions adopted at annual

meetings regarding ethnic participation and relationships; analyzed the ethnic

identities of program personalities on the platform at recent annual meetings;

studied the ethnic identities of entity staff, mission board personnel,

seminary faculty and recent graduates; and heard testimonies from ethnic


Also part of the study was a review of the numbers of ethnic

congregations and ethnic members within the SBC,

pictorial representations in convention literature, coverage of ethnic

diversity in convention publications and a review of the ethnic identities of

convention committees, boards and commissions.

Specific information about the recommendations being brought

to messengers may be found at http://bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?id=34708.


Registration for the Phoenix

annual meeting once again will provide churches with the online opportunity to

register their messengers at www.sbc.net to avoid waiting at the counter upon

arrival at the convention.

After online registration, the SBC

website provides a church with a messenger reference number form to be printed

out and presented by each messenger at the SBC

registration booth in exchange for a nametag and a set of ballots. The

appropriate church-authorized representative must complete all online


The traditional registration method also is available for

those churches that are unable or may not opt to access the online

registration. Registration cards are available from state convention offices.

For further information about online registration, hotel

choices, parking and shuttle services for the SBC

annual meeting, visit www.sbcannualmeeting.net.


Messengers wishing to propose resolutions must submit them

at least 15 days prior to the annual meeting, giving the Resolutions Committee

a two-week period in which to consider them. Detailed guidelines on submitting

resolutions are available at www.sbcannualmeeting.net (by clicking on

“Resolutions”). Resolutions may be submitted online but must be followed up by

a letter of credentials from the submitter’s church.

Children and youth

Registration for families to enroll their children in

preschool childcare and the children’s conference in the Phoenix

Convention Center is available

under the “Children & Students” tab at www.sbcannualmeeting.net.

Childcare for newborns through 3-year-olds will be available

from Sunday evening through Wednesday, June 12-15. There is a non-refundable

registration fee of $10 per child for preschool care. This fee is in addition

to the session fees for the convention. The cost per session is $5 per child,

not to exceed $40 per family, plus the $10 non-refundable registration fee.

Lunch also will be available for preschoolers on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday

at $5 per meal. Complete payment is due for all sessions, and lunch if

selected, no later than arrival at the first session.

Registration is being handled exclusively online at

www.sbcannualmeeting.net. The deadline for preschool childcare registration is

June 1 and is limited to 150 children per session. Parents wanting to register

their children after June 1 may print the required information and bring it to

Phoenix, where they will be registered on-site on a space-available basis.

Questions about this year’s childcare can be directed to [email protected].

Children’s Conferences International will provide an

age-graded, Scripture-based conference for all children ages 4-12. This year’s

theme, “Ride the Waves!” will include fun songs, crafts, stories, skits and

games. The cost for children ages 4-6 is $50 per child for the four days of the

children’s conference, Sunday evening through Wednesday. The registration for

Monday through Wednesday is $45 per child, $40 per child for Tuesday through

Wednesday registration.

Questions about the children’s conference program can be

phoned to Children’s Conferences International at (317) 447-8213 or (586)

879-8421 or e-mailed to [email protected]. The deadline for

enrollment is June 1 and is limited to 400 children. Parents wanting to

register their children after June 1 may inquire at the first session, where

they will be registered on-site on a space-available basis.

Information about the Fuge

camp for grades 6 through 12, yet to be released, will be posted through www.sbcannualmeeting.net.

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Kelly is an assistant editor and senior

writer for Baptist Press. For complete information on the SBC

annual meeting in Phoenix, visit www.sbcannualmeeting.net.)

(SPECIAL NOTE — Thank you for your continued support of the Biblical

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you for your understanding and patience in this. If you do have comments or

issues with items we run, please contact [email protected]

or call 919-847-2127.)

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