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WRAP-UP: SBC spotlights ethnicity, unity, unengaged
PHOENIX (BP)--Southern Baptist Convention messengers meeting in Phoenix June 14-15 adopted an historic report encouraging ethnic diversity, witnessed dozens of leaders standing together in support of a landmark unity pledge, and saw hundreds of pastors and laypeople volunteer to lead their churches to embrace one of the world's 3,800 unengaged people groups.It was the lowest-attended annual meeting in 67 years, with just over 4,800 in attendance, but the substance of the meeting led plenty who attended to argue it shouldn't be judged on numbers."I do believe it could prove to be the most spiritually significant convention over the last 50 years," Southern Baptist Convention President Bryant Wright, who was re-elected to another one-year term, told Baptist Press after the Phoenix gathering. Wright pointed to the sluggish economy and to the travel time from most SBC churches as possible reasons for the low attendance.
From beginning to end, messengers heard biblical pleas for Southern Baptists to join the church planting movement in North America and to adopt an unengaged people group around the world. And messengers responded. More than 1,000 pastors and their wives packed a North American Mission Board luncheon to learn about the entity's new Send North America church planting strategy. On the final night of the convention, hundreds of messengers flooded the front of the convention hall at the end of the International Mission Board report, having signed cards pledging to lead their church to embrace an unengaged people group. An IMB representative will contact them later.
Each mission board report also featured a commissioning service, with Southern Baptists meeting their newest missionaries.
"Coming back to the authority of Scripture was a correcting point that had to take place [in the SBC], but the mission is to fulfill the Great Commission," Wright said. "I think this was the most unified convention around the Great Commission that I have experienced. People came here with anticipation of that unity."
Wright practiced that unity during his press conference, inviting the presidents of NAMB, Kevin Ezell, IMB, Tom Elliff, and the Executive Committee, Frank Page, to sit on the platform with him and participate. It was the first convention as president for all four men, and each one had a unique emphasis during his respective report to messengers. Ezell highlighted church planting and Elliff emphasized the unengaged, while Page introduced an "Affirmation of Unity and Cooperation" pledge that was signed by entity leaders, state executives and ethnic fellowship leaders. The document had five core points, with the heart of it a pledge to "walk in unity as brothers and sisters in Christ." During the Executive Committee report, the leaders stood on stage together. Read More
Coverage from SBC 2011 in Phoenix
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1%, Page says, would boost CP by $100M
PHOENIX (BP)--A pastor, a seminary student and Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Executive Committee, delivered a challenge for renewed commitment to unified ministry through the SBC's Cooperative Program. Read More
Resolutions: SBC tackles immigration, NIV
PHOENIX (BP)--Messengers addressed the thorny issue of immigration by adopting a resolution that sought to promote the gospel of Jesus while calling for justice and compassion during the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, June 14-15 in Phoenix. Read More
Wright, Luter, Thomas elected SBC officersPHOENIX (BP)--Bryant Wright, pastor of the Atlanta-area Johnson Ferry Baptist Church, was re-elected June 14 to a second term as president of the Southern Baptist Convention, leading a slate of officers that included an African American as first vice president. Read More
Phoenix SBC attendance lowest since '44PHOENIX (BP)--Attendance at the 2011 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting June 14-15 slumped below 5,000 for several reasons, registration officials said. Read More
Seminaries report to Phoenix messengers
PHOENIX (BP)--Messengers to the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention were reminded of the importance of theological education through reports from the convention's six seminaries during the June 14-15 gathering in Phoenix:
GOLDEN GATE -- A school like Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary would not exist in America's West apart from the support of Southern Baptists, Jeff Iorg, the seminary's president said June 14 during the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention.... Read More
SBC approves historic ethnic measure
PHOENIX (BP)--Sensitive to the need for greater diversity in leadership and increased participation of ethnics, the Southern Baptist Convention voted overwhelmingly June 14 to ask for greater accountability regarding their involvement in SBC life.
During a news conference after the vote, Paul Kim, pastor emeritus of Antioch Baptist Church in Cambridge, Mass., said: "I want ethnic pastors and leaders to also have the opportunity to express their love for Southern Baptists in Christ. We have ... Read More
Platt: 'Millions upon millions' need Jesus
PHOENIX (BP)--Pastors are responsible to lead their churches to engage the world's unreached people groups with the Gospel, David Platt said in the convention sermon at the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting June 15.
Platt, pastor of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Ala., noted that people groups by the thousands worldwide are unreached for Christ. "This is not a problem for the International Mission Board to address," Platt said. "This is a problem for every local church ... Read More
Ezell: new day for church planting
PHOENIX (BP)--Missionaries and chaplains, a U.S. Army general, a barber, two tornado victims and a redeemed young man mirrored the work of the North American Mission Board during its report to messengers June 14 at the 2011 SBC annual meeting.
"Knowing there are 318 million people in North America who need to know Jesus Christ stirs our passion as trustees," NAMB trustee chairman Tim Dowdy, senior pastor of Eagles Landing First Baptist Church in McDonough, Ga., told the messengers. "Last ye... Read More
Send North America shared with pastors
PHOENIX (BP)--The North American Mission Board rolled out its Send North America strategy to a packed house of pastors during a June 13 luncheon at the SBC Pastors' Conference.
At least 1,000 pastors and their wives attended the luncheon, which featured NAMB President Kevin Ezell, LifeWay vice president Ed Stetzer and a surprise appearance by Rick Warren.
While Ezell had shared the Send North America strategy in a variety of gatherings around the country over the past four months, Mo... Read More
Ariz. fires spark ministry
SNOWFLAKE, Ariz. (BP)--As the largest fire in Arizona history rages in the eastern part of the state, Southern Baptists have responded with compassion in Jesus' name.
The Wallow Fire has burned more than 730 square miles, destroyed 31 homes and cost around $25 million to fight, MSNBC reported. It has also forced the evacuation of multiple towns, prompting churches, associations and the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention to launch ministry efforts for victims.
The Arizona Southern Bapt... Read More
Gay leaders meet with SBC president
PHOENIX (BP)--A coalition of homosexual leaders and their allies met for more than 30 minutes June 15 with Southern Baptist Convention President Bryant Wright, with the leaders demanding an apology from the SBC and Wright refusing to budge, saying that Scripture is clear on the issue.
The remarkable meeting -- cordial the entire time -- took place between the morning and afternoon sessions of the SBC in Wright's annual meeting office at the Phoenix Convention Center.
The nine-person c... Read More
"Gay marriage": 2 wins, close to a 3rd
ALBANY, N.Y. (BP)--Traditional marriage took a triple blow Tuesday, when one court refused to toss out the anti-Prop 8 ruling, another court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act and -- in the legislative realm -- the New York Senate moved one vote away from passing a landmark "gay marriage" bill.
It was difficult to know which venue was more disappointing to conservatives.
New York would become the largest state to legalize "gay marriage," and bill supporters are closer than they've ... Read More
S. Asia teams witness power of prayerwalking
RICHMOND, Va. (BP)--Their prayers weren't public displays for all to witness on the streets in South Asia. Most of them didn't involve kneeling at a bedside or in front of a church altar.
In January 2010, six Southern Baptist volunteers from various churches in the United States prayerwalked (praying quietly with eyes open while walking) in South Asia, passing through shops, villages, traffic-congested streets and Hindu temples.
"Being from a very small town in Wyoming -- 70 to 80 m... Read More
FIRST PERSON: Missions trip changed my family's worldview
RICHMOND, Va. (BP)--My wife, Stacy, and I believe that the best investment you can make in education is to go with your child on an international mission trip. Raising four children on a relatively modest income does not allow us to put much aside for college educations or retirement. Yet we believe, if it is God's will, He will provide a way for us to be able to accompany each of our four children on an international missions adventure before they begin high school.
In the summer of 2010,... Read More
FIRST PERSON: A day in South Asia
EDITOR'S NOTE: Tim Young and his dad, Mike, took a missions trip to South Asia in the summer of 2010. The investment of time and resources already has produced fruit in Tim's life and for God's Kingdom.
RICHMOND, Va. (BP)--The thick, humid South Asian smells flooded our nostrils, and the blank, hard stares of all the people followed us everywhere. The children quickly swarmed around us, smiling and snickering at the funny-looking white people.
Later, the older gentlemen took us t... Read More
FIRST-PERSON: 'Daddy, listen with your eyes'
Dads, when your son or daughter decides to let you close to their heart and tell you something really important to them, be sure and stop whatever else you are doing and "listen with your eyes"! Read More