2017 SBC exhibits highlight cooperative success

PHOENIX (BP) -- Hear insights in preaching, church planting, adoption and foster care at the Southern Baptist Convention Cooperative Program booth at the SBC 2017 Annual Meeting June 13-14 in Phoenix.

J.T. Reed of Gateway Seminary removes a covering from the seminary's booth in the exhibit hall at the 2016 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in St. Louis to mark the affirmative vote by messengers to change the seminary's name from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary.
File photo by Bob Carey
Respected Southern Baptist pastors, SBC entity heads and other leaders will cover a broad array of topics at the booth, opening June 12 at approximately 8:30 a.m. in advance of the annual meeting and continuing through 11:30 a.m. June 14.

The presentations at the Phoenix Convention Center will collectively demonstrate the cooperation the Southern Baptist family enjoys in missions and ministry, said Ashley Clayton, SBC Executive Committee vice president for Cooperative Program and Stewardship.

"The individuals on stage during these panel discussions represent a broad array of SBC ministries fueled by the Cooperative Program," Clayton said, "and all of them are aligned behind the promise or message that no matter where you are and no matter where God has called you, as part of the SBC family, you are not alone."

SBC President Steve Gaines, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church near Memphis, Tenn., will participate in "The Sacred Desk: Practical Matters in Preaching," joined by former SBC President James Merritt, lead pastor of Cross Pointe Church in Duluth, Ga. With them will be SBC Executive Committee President and CEO Frank Page; Mark Dever, senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington; and Jonathan Akin, pastor of Fairview Church in Lebanon, Tenn.

International Mission Board President David Platt is scheduled for the panel, "Churches Send -- Southern Baptists Send Together!" as well as the panel "Adoption and Foster Care." Other entity heads expected to participate are North American Mission Board President Kevin Ezell, and Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission President Russell D. Moore.

J.D. Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Micah Fries, pastor of Brainerd Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tenn.; Kentucky Baptist Convention Executive Director Paul Chitwood, and Woman's Missionary Union Executive Director and Treasurer Sandy Wisdom-Martin are also in the three-day line-up.

The SBC mobile app and TalkCP.com will post a complete schedule of panel discussions during the three days in Phoenix.

Other reports for the exhibit hall surrounding the SBC's annual meeting follow:

INTERNATIONAL MISSION BOARD -- Visitors to IMB's booth will have an opportunity to explore how, for 172 years, Southern Baptists have partnered to see an ever-increasing, Christ-exalting, Spirit-filled force of men and women pursuing the nations for the glory of His name.

Visitors also will discover how IMB is partnering with churches to challenge congregations toward meaningful engagement in God's global mission. The exhibit includes six interactive experiences designed to inspire and equip attendees to explore how they can utilize their unique skills in God's mission through praying, giving, going and sending.

NORTH AMERICAN MISSION BOARD -- Learn how NAMB is helping pastors and churches more effectively engage the mission field in the United States, Canada and beyond. The exhibit will focus on its "Pray for Planters" initiative, an effort to engage 10,000 SBC churches in prayer for North American missionaries.

"Every church, no matter the size, can pray," said NAMB President Kevin Ezell. "And every missionary, regardless of where they are serving or what challenges they are facing, needs prayer." Any pastor who commits his church to the prayer emphasis will receive a free T-shirt and resources to help his church pray for missionaries. More information can be found at prayforplanters.com.

NAMB will also highlight its Send Network for church planting and its Send Relief outreach for compassion ministries.

LIFEWAY CHRISTIAN RESOURCES -- LifeWay's 6,800-square-foot Christian store will offer a wide selection of books, Bibles and other Christian products. LifeWay will present interactive displays highlighting the new Christian Standard Bible (CSB) translation and other church resources. Among exhibit features:

-- Ministry experts from LifeWay's Resources division will host training sessions for kids, students and adult discipleship ministries. Topics may include "Small Groups as a Discipleship Strategy," "Levels of Biblical Learning," "Creating a Gospel Culture in Your Church" and "Characteristics of Discipleship." A schedule of sessions will be available in the LifeWay exhibit.

-- Messengers will be able to obtain information about the free LifeWay breakfast scheduled for Tuesday (June 13) at 7 a.m. in North Hall A (Level 300) of the convention center. The event will focus on the essential role of Bible engagement in discipleship. Reservations can be made at www.Lifeway.com/SBCbreakfast.

-- LifeWay Groups Ministry experts will help messengers plan and select appropriate materials for group Bible studies.

-- LifeWay Films will have information about a special screening 8-9 p.m. Monday (June 12) of the new film "Run the Race," featuring Tim Tebow.

-- Book signings are scheduled in the LifeWay store throughout the convention by numerous authors including Kay Warren, Robby Gallaty, Lisa Harper, Greg Laurie, Frank S. Page and Trillia Newbell.

GUIDESTONE FINANCIAL RESOURCES -- GuideStone's Wellness Center will offer free health checks, valued at up to $150, allowing messengers and family members to have their blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose measured. Medical professionals will be on hand to answer any questions about the results, and participants will receive a comprehensive report to take to their personal physicians for follow-up.

In the main GuideStone booth, representatives will offer reviews of participants' retirement accounts and answer questions about GuideStone's life and health plans, property and casualty coverage, and other services. Churches will be able to order free materials for the June 25th Mission:Dignity Sunday showcasing GuideStone's outreach to retired ministers and their widows in urgent financial need.

GuideStone will offer its Retirement Income Solutions meeting, for those who plan to retire in the next five to 10 years, on Tuesday (June 13) from 5:15 to 5:45 p.m. in room 124B (Level 100) of the convention center. Registration is available at the GuideStone booth.

Visit the GuideStone booth and receive a free copy of GuideStone President O.S. Hawkins' upcoming book, "The Christmas Code: Daily Devotions Celebrating the Advent Season."

ETHICS & RELIGIOUS LIBERTY COMMISSION -- Those who visit ERLC's booth can pick up the latest issue of Light Magazine, featuring content from Russell D. Moore, Nathan Finn, Steven Smith, Robert George and many others. The theme of this issue is "500 Years of Reformation."

Register to win one of two ERLC resource gift packs featuring the most recent books from ERLC authors and resources from featured speakers at this year's ERLC National Conference. Each pack will include a full set of the newly launched Gospel for Life series, edited by Moore and Andrew T. Walker, as well as two complimentary registrations to the 2017 ERLC National Conference August 24-26 in Nashville. Tenn. This year's conference theme is "Christ Centered Parenting in a Complex World."

Attendees can register at the ERLC booth for the conference by signing up for ERLC Highlights, a new resource featuring top content from ERLC on key issues of the day and delivered directly to your inbox each week.

GATEWAY SEMINARY -- Gateway Seminary's display will focus on the benefits of Gospel-centered education offered at the seminary's five urban campuses in the Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, Phoenix and Portland, Ore. areas. Visitors to the booth may purchase tickets to the Gateway Alumni and Friends Luncheon, set for Wednesday (June 14) in Rooms 129A and B in the north building of the convention center. At the luncheon, Gateway President Jeff Iorg will report on the activities of the past year, including the opening of the new San Francisco campus and first year at the Los Angeles-Ontario campus. The seminary will also present its distinguished alumni awards. Luncheon tickets are $10 each and may be purchased in advance at Eventbrite (www.eventbrite.com/e/sbc-alumni-and-friends-luncheon-tickets-32860175670).

MIDWESTERN BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY -- Celebrating Jason K. Allen's fifth year as president, guests visiting the MBTS exhibit booth will receive Allen's recently published book, "Discerning Your Call to Ministry." Each book comes with a $250 scholarship and other potential prizes. Admissions team members will be ready to answer questions about Midwestern's opportunities for training in ministry and missions. The new Timothy Track and Ph.D. Residency programs, the 81-hour M.Div. and other undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and online degree programs will be featured. Purchase tickets to the For the Church Phoenix Luncheon Tuesday (June 13) for $15, and tickets to Midwestern's Alumni & Friends Luncheon set for Wednesday (June 14) for $25. At the alumni and friends luncheon, Allen will highlight five leadership lessons gathered during the past five years at MBTS. Early bird pricing for events is available online at mbts.edu/ftcphx and mbts.edu/sbclunch.

NEW ORLEANS BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY -- The NOBTS booth highlights main campus programs, distance learning options and the Entrust Mentoring Community. The seminary enlistment team is on site to guide potential students as they seek to answer God's call to ministry and prepare for service. Alumni are invited to visit the booth to reconnect with faculty and staff and to hear the latest news from campus. This year, NOBTS will feature an informational brochure regarding the seminary's upcoming centennial celebration which begins Oct. 3 and runs through October 2018. In keeping with tradition, small bottles of Louisiana hot sauce will be available to visitors.

SOUTHEASTERN BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY -- The SEBTS exhibit is designed to benefit church ministry and the pursuit of biblical education. Check out this year's exhibit and learn about courses offered at the College at Southeastern and SEBTS. Talk with admissions staff and faculty, including President Danny Akin, Bruce Ashford, Chuck Lawless, Jamie Dew, Jim Shaddix and Keith Whitfield. The booth will feature book giveaways and the spring issue of Southeastern magazine, "Preaching and the Great Commission" as it relates to church planting, mentorship and sermon delivery.

SOUTHERN BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY -- Throughout the annual meeting, the Southern Seminary exhibit will offer a variety of giveaways providing resources for pastors. One giveaway is a new resource by SBTS Press, "Essential Reading on Preaching," featuring contributions by seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr., Hershael W. York, David E. Prince and others. Along with promotions and interaction opportunities with faculty, the seminary will distribute the latest issue of Southern Seminary Magazine. Themed around preaching in a secular age, the magazine features articles by Mohler and Michael Pohlman, and a profile of SBTS alumnus Andy Davis. Convention attendees can connect with alumni, professors, friends and prospective students at the exhibit's seating area, as well as purchase tickets for the annual alumni luncheon set for Wednesday (June 14). More information is available at www.sbts.edu/alumni/sbc17.

SOUTHWESTERN BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY -- SWBTS will reflect its ongoing passion for preaching the Word and reaching the world. Visit the booth to receive free books and resources, including a Phoenix landmarks and restaurants guide, and two new additions to the Seminary Hill Press "Everyday" series on parenting and pastoral ministry. SWBTS representatives and faculty will be available to discuss seminary programs and answer questions. The booth will feature several seminary-produced videos highlighting SWBTS students equipped for their call and making a global impact for the Kingdom of God.

WOMAN'S MISSIONARY UNION -- The WMU exhibit will showcase new ways for individuals, families and churches to engage in missional discipleship. Discover resources from WMU and New Hope Publishers, and online leadership opportunities.

Christian Women's Job Corps/Christian Men's Job Corps, a WMU ministry, is celebrating 20 years of changed lives. Learn how to participate as a volunteer, mentor or coordinator at one of 195 sites in the U.S.

WorldCrafts, WMU's fair-trade division, is helping share the story of Charles Mulli as told in the movie, "Mully." The booth will distribute free tickets to a special pre-screening of Mully, set for Monday (June 12) at 6:30 p.m. at the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel. This film tells how one man's obedience to God transformed a nation. Prior to the screening meet Mulli and his wife Esther, Monday from 2-5 p.m. at the WMU booth. New resources from WorldCrafts, including a devotional book and small-group study guide including the Mulli family's story of discipleship, are designed to help Southern Baptists identify ways to personally impact the issues of poverty, sex trafficking, orphan care and adoption. Additional resources related to adoption and orphan care from New Hope Publishers will be available. Register to win various WMU giveaways.

BAPTIST GLOBAL RESPONSE -- What will help you minister to the world's hurting, helpless and homeless more effectively? How can BGR better equip your church to serve the sick and hungry? At this year's BGR booth, churches will have an opportunity to tell how their congregations are helping people around the world.

By telling individual stories of outreach, participants will discover ways BGR can come alongside and better help their churches connect with people in need. Participants will also learn about those whose lives have been changed through Southern Baptists' care. Each person who shares a story will have a chance to win a Kingdom Growers Coffee giveaway basket.

BGR is an international disaster relief and community development organization that connects Southern Baptists to those in need.

SOUTHERN BAPTIST FOUNDATION -- How can I help this generation touch the next generation for Christ? What will my legacy be? Can I make an impact for Christ? How can I support Kingdom work after I am gone?

These are just a few of the questions visitors to the Southern Baptist Foundation booth will be encouraged to explore. Visitors will be challenged to think about causes they love and discover ways to support them. Resources and services to facilitate giving, glorifying God and advancing His Kingdom will be showcased. For more information, visit the booth or email sbfdn@southernbaptistfoundation.org.

SEMINARY EXTENSION -- Seminary Extension continues to offer theological education and ministry training that is biblical, accessible and affordable. The ministry is still focused on having an immediate impact for the Kingdom of God through the local church. If interested in studying with Seminary Extension, please stop by the booth for more information. Seminary Extension looks forward to visiting with former students, instructors and friends. Student services associate Carmen Ferreira and Seminary Extension director Randal Williams will be at the booth each day, and look forward to seeing guests there.

Compiled by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press' general assignment writer/editor. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists' concerns nationally and globally.
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