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
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
“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,
“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
“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.”
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
(See related story.)
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
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.)
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