NEW ORLEANS (BP) -- "Jesus: to the Neighborhood and the Nations" is the theme for the Southern Baptist Convention's June 19–20 annual meeting in New Orleans, SBC President Bryant Wright has announced.
Drawn from Luke 24:47-48, the theme is worded to convey the importance of dual missions at home and abroad, Wright said.
"Sometimes people feel like it's either/or, that they must focus on those at home to the neglect of those in the uttermost parts," Wright said. "Sometimes people are so focused on the uttermost part that they neglect their own neighborhood, their own mission field. ...
"[S]ome people think unless they are reaching their neighborhood first, they don't have the right to focus on going to the nations," Wright continued, noting: "This is a specifically-worded theme. Christ is clear. We are to focus on both. It is not either/or. It is both/and.
"They ought to be our focus all the time."
A radical reprioritization of Christ's Great Commission is Wright's prayer for the mission focus of the annual meeting, to be held at New Orleans' Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.
"I'm praying this will be Spirit-led," Wright said, that there will be "a powerful conviction of the Holy Spirit as we focus on carrying out Christ's Great Commission in a unified spirit."
Wright chose the passage from the book of Luke to expound on the disciple Luke's frequently quoted rendering of the Great Commission in Acts 1:8.
"That's the beauty of the Gospels, to look at parallel teachings in different Gospels. It gives us a sense of freshness, an understanding of what Jesus is teaching us. Lord willing, I intend to preach on this expression of the Great Commission in my convention sermon," Wright said, referring to the president's address on Tuesday during the convention. "I think it just allows us to expound more on the very crisp, clear mission Jesus gives us in Acts 1:8."
Wright, pastor of the Atlanta-area Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, Ga., will conclude his second one-year term as SBC president during the New Orleans annual meeting.
Diana Chandler is a staff writer for Baptist Press.