HOUSTON (BP) -- The Southern Baptist Convention's effectiveness in Gospel missions will be the focus of the Cooperative Program exhibit at the June 11-12 annual meeting in Houston, featuring interviews with international and North American missionaries, pastors and other ministry leaders.
Interviews in the SBC Exhibit Hall highlighting the work of the International Mission Board and North American Mission Board will focus on the SBC's work in spreading the Gospel at home and abroad, said Ashley Clayton, special assistant to the Executive Committee president for the CP and stewardship.
"We want everyone to see the Cooperative Program as a conduit for Gospel ministry. We don't give to the CP; we give through the Cooperative Program to fuel our SBC missions and ministries," Clayton said. "The Cooperative Program exists to fuel missions and ministry. It's just that simple."
The CP booth in the Exhibit Hall will champion how funding is provided to NAMB, IMB, theological education, ERLC, state missions and evangelism, Clayton said.
For the first time, the CP exhibit's interviews and panel discussions will be live-streamed through SBC.net. Two high-definition video screens will display interviews and a live Twitter board will be available for online participants.
Interviews and panel discussions will feature such leaders as Russell Moore, incoming president of the SBC Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission; Bible teacher Beth Moore; Greg Laurie, senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, Calif.; and other pastors and various state convention leaders.
The SBC's ethnic diversity also will be emphasized. The SBC has 10,000 non-Anglo churches, two-thirds of which are predominantly African American or Hispanic. At least 25 other ethnic groups are represented among the 16 million members comprising Southern Baptists' 47,000 congregations.
Ken Weathersby, SBC Executive Committee vice president for convention advancement, hailed the increasing diversity.
"It is very exciting to see more ethnic churches involved in the life of the Southern Baptist Convention," Weathersby said. "It is my hope and desire that the messengers would hear the heart and passion of these leaders for making disciples of all peoples and not just their cultural groups. Also, it is my desire to dispel the myth that ethnic churches are not participating and giving through the Cooperative Program."
In conjunction with the booth, Executive Committee President Frank Page will introduce Great Commission Advance, an initiative being developed in concert with state convention and SBC entity leaders for release at the 2014 SBC annual meeting in Baltimore. He will continue to emphasize the "1% CP Challenge" introduced in 2011 to encourage Southern Baptist churches to give an additional 1 percent of their undesignated receipts through the CP.
This year's Exhibit Hall will be larger than previous years, expanded to include non-SBC-sponsored entities that "meet the stated purpose and guiding principles of the exhibitor policy," according to the amended Executive Committee policy.
For the second year, the CP booth reflects a partnership with and is positioned in the exhibit hall alongside IMB and NAMB.
NORTH AMERICAN MISSION BOARD -- Opportunities for Southern Baptists to get directly involved in North American church planting and other missions work through Send North America will highlight NAMB's exhibit. Visitors will learn more about the unique spiritual needs of North America's five regions and the special needs in NAMB's Send North America cities.
NAMB mobilizers and church planters will be available to help connect churches to mission fields throughout North America. The exhibit will highlight NAMB's new TenTwo initiative, which encourages Southern Baptists to pray for North American missions every day at 10:02.
The NAMB-sponsored "Faces of the SBC" exhibit will highlight the roles of the convention's ethnic fellowships and networks as well as the growing diversity of the SBC.
On the street in front of the conference center, NAMB will sponsor a Southern Baptist Disaster Relief exhibit, which will include two semitrailers, an SBDR truck and a mobile command center open for visits. The Southern Baptists of Texas Convention and Texas Baptist Men also will display a semitrailer, shower trailer and a cleanup and recovery trailer.
INTERNATIONAL MISSION BOARD -- It's an incredible responsibility: making Christ's name known among every language, people, tribe and nation. Jesus gave the Great Commission to every believer, a challenge that encompasses every individual, every church, the entire SBC to be united to glorify His name. What is God calling you to do to impact eternity?
That's the journey awaiting SBC messengers at the IMB's Exhibit Hall booth anchored in Christ's words in Matthew 22:37-39: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. ... Love your neighbor as yourself." Visitors will be challenged to deepening levels of commitment by seven inspirational stories of individuals and churches willing to sacrifice everything to follow Christ.
Southern Baptists will be invited to share their testimonies on a special interactive website, which can be accessed at the IMB booth or from a computer or mobile device. Messengers will be able to connect with missionaries and IMB leadership, and learn about new resources and tools to help navigate the next steps in personal journeys seeking to be "totally His."
WORLD HUNGER FUND -- A first-time presence in the exhibit hall will be Global Hunger Relief, a new initiative of the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund that seeks to take the WHF's unique "dollar in, dollar out" message to new and wider audiences.
While many hunger relief organizations keep as much as 70 percent of donations for administrative overhead, the Southern Baptist channel sends 100 percent of every gift to meet hunger needs in North America and globally. That can be accomplished because Southern Baptists already cover administrative costs of their hunger projects by their gifts through the Cooperative Program. The Global Hunger Relief campaign emphasizes how Southern Baptist missionaries and their partners conduct Gospel-centered projects that share God's love in both word and deed, with a goal of seeing lives transformed.
The Global Hunger Relief booth will be located behind the CP stage, next to Baptist Global Response. The GHR initiative is a collaborative effort of the World Hunger Fund partners: Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, NAMB, IMB, Baptist Global Response, Woman's Missionary Union, LifeWay Christian Resources and the SBC Executive Committee.
BAPTIST GLOBAL RESPONSE -- "Buckets of Love" hospice kits will be a key focus at the Baptist Global Response booth.
For months, Southern Baptists in Texas have been collecting and packing the buckets with medical and hygiene items designed to help people suffering with terminal illnesses. Franklin and Paula Kilpatrick, retired Southern Baptist missionaries coordinating the Bucket Project in Texas, have asked churches to bring packed buckets to the BGR booth.
In addition, several national SBC leaders will pack buckets at the booth, including Tom Elliff, president of the International Mission Board; Russell Moore; Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary; Wanda Lee, executive director/treasurer of Woman's Missionary Union, SBC; and Frank Page. The leaders' scheduled appearance times will be available at the booth, located behind the CP stage. Learn more about The Bucket Project at www.gobgr.org/buckets
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
LIFEWAY CHRISTIAN RESOURCES -- The SBC Exhibit Hall will feature LifeWay's 9,000-square-foot store offering a wide selection of books, Bibles and other Christian products to help grow churches and encourage believers in their faith. Other LifeWay areas will present interactive displays highlighting the division's research, church resources, conference centers and direct sales as well as B&H Publishing Group.
--Ministry experts from the church resources division will introduce the redesigned Bible Studies for Life small group curriculum.
--Exhibits featuring LifeWay "OneSource" endorsed products and providers designed to give individuals and churches trusted purchasing options for items such as church buses and furniture, copiers, office supplies and background checks.
--LifeWay Research will focus on the theme "Transformation," drawing attention to its Transformational Discipleship research with a 9-foot robot that will interact with convention visitors.
--Book signings scheduled by B&H Publishing Group and LifeWay Christian Stores include authors David Platt, Ed Stetzer, John Bisagno, Daniel Akin, Diana Davis, David Dockery, Rhonda Kelley, Mary Jo Sharp, Ken Hemphill, Jeff Iorg, James Merritt, Ron Owens, Paige and Dorothy Patterson, Elmer Towns and others.
GUIDESTONE FINANCIAL RESOURCES -- GuideStone's Wellness Center will provide 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 and other GuideStone services. Churches will be able to order materials for Mission:Dignity Sunday, highlighting GuideStone's ministry to needy retirees and widows.
GuideStone will offer several breakout sessions, including a two-morning panel presentation on church safety. A free, hot breakfast will be provided both mornings. Additional sessions will include GuideStone's retirement income options and compensation planning for smaller churches. Registration is required for the breakfast and is recommended for other sessions. Times and locations will be available in the SBC Bulletin, at GuideStone's booth and at www.GuideStone.org/SBC13
The first 500 people to sign up for materials for Mission:Dignity Sunday and the first 500 people visiting the wellness center will receive a free copy of GuideStone President O.S. Hawkins' book, "The Joshua Code: 52 Scripture Verses Every Believer Should Know."
ETHICS & RELIGIOUS LIBERTY COMMISSION -- Incoming ERLC President Russell Moore will interview SBC pastors and leaders and offer materials detailing his direction for the SBC's moral and public concerns entity. Other ERLC features will include a 25th anniversary commemorative booth for retiring ERLC President Richard Land and a display of the Psalm 139 Project promoting the use and availability of ultrasound technology in crisis pregnancies. Visitors may charge cell phones and other devices at a complimentary electronic charging station for visitors.
WOMAN'S MISSIONARY UNION celebrates 125 years of Southern Baptist missions support and education through its exhibit, themed "Missions for Life." Throughout 2013 - 2014, WMU is actively challenging churches to take the "1-2-5 Challenge" to start one new missions discipleship group with two leaders and five members. Register for daily drawings for a "1-2-5 Challenge" one-year curriculum bundle.
New Hope Publishers has partnered with the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and Jay Dennis, pastor of First Baptist Church at the Mall in Lakeland, Fla., to launch the Join 1 Million Men in the War Against Pornography church-wide campaign, coinciding with WMU's Project HELP and efforts to end human exploitation. Dennis, founder of "One Million Men Porn Free," will be available to answer questions and sign books. Visitors to the New Hope booth can enter a daily drawing to receive the Join 1 Million Men church program package.
WorldCrafts will display products supporting impoverished people groups and offer drawings for daily nativity giveaways. Educational materials will detail WorldCrafts' ministry partnering with artisans to develop and support sustainable businesses in more than 30 countries. Many WorldCrafts partners work to free women from human exploitation and sex trafficking. Visit the booth for new products, a special promotional offer and a catalog.
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's work is to 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.
SEMINARY EXTENSON -- Seminary Extension offers a part-time, economical outlet to educate and train pastors, leaders and teachers. Whether through independent correspondence study done directly with Seminary Extension or through group studies facilitated by mentors in the field, the service offers a unique opportunity for churches, associations and Southern Baptist state conventions to train people for ministry where they live. Director of Seminary Extension Randal Williams and Student Services Associate Carmen Ferreira will offer personal consultations at the Seminary Extension booth.
MIDWESTERN BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY will launch its new branding, allowing visitors to become familiar with the brand in a number of exciting ways. Visitors to the booth with receive copies of MBTS President Jason K. Allen's "For the Church: A Collection of Essays" highlighting his vision for the seminary and the latest Midwestern Journal of Theology. Register at the booth for a gift and a chance to win a MacBook Air notebook computer.
GOLDEN GATE BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY continues to shape leaders who expand God's Kingdom globally. This year, Golden Gate will highlight its new master of arts in Christian counseling degree and its new Korean-English bilingual program. Themed "Biblical, Missional, Global," the booth will tell the benefits of Gospel-centered education offered at Golden Gate's five urban campuses in northern and southern California, Arizona, the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Northwest.
SOUTHWESTERN BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY will reflect its ongoing passion for taking the Gospel to the world's unreached peoples. The booth will feature several seminary-produced videos highlighting successful students and Southwestern's global impact. Seminary representatives and faculty will be available to discuss Southwestern's programs and answer questions.
NEW ORLEANS BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY will highlight its fully online master's degrees, a new social work dual degree initiative and a new Great Commission studies major in the doctor of philosophy program. 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.
SOUTHERN BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY will distribute copies of "A Guide to Evangelism" -- the latest volume in the seminary's SBTS Press guide book series -- edited by Boyce College dean Dan DeWitt. Along with promotions and interaction opportunities with seminary personalities, the seminary will also give away the latest issue of Southern Seminary Magazine, themed around a Christian understanding of Islam and including articles by SBTS President R. Albert Mohler Jr. and missions professor Zane Pratt. Convention attendees can connect with alumni, professors, friends and prospective students at the booth's seating area.
SOUTHEASTERN BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY will again utilize iPad kiosks to receive information from prospective students, distribute information about the seminary and accept alumni luncheon reservations. Attendees will learn of such new initiatives as the massive open online course – MOOC -- a popular new, free method of viewing lecture content from universities. Also, alumni are welcome to stop by to reconnect with fellow alumni, meet Southeastern's new alumni director, Jonathan Six, and hear about his vision for current and future alumni.
Compiled by Baptist Press staff writer Diana Chandler. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress
), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress
) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp