With a 2-day pastors’ conference, Women’s Missionary Union conference, 25th anniversary of the conservative resurgence and the 2004 annual meeting lined up back to back, the week of June 13 will mark one of the busiest for Southern Baptists this year.
First in the array of national meetings is Southern Baptist Pastors’ Conference, which begins June 13-14 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Throughout the conference, leaders from the 16-million member denomination will explore four themes: the Gospel, the Kingdom, repentance and the Word. Featured speakers include: Jerry Vines, pastor of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla.; Johnny Hunt, pastor of First Baptist Church of Woodstock, Ga.; Stephen Olford, president of Encounter Ministries in Memphis, Tenn.; Adrian Rogers, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn.; and Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.
In addition to the list of traditional speakers, this year’s pastors’ conference will feature a unique leader in the conservative Christian movement: Mike Haley. Haley, a former homosexual and leader of the Focus on Families’ “Love Won Out” conferences, which addresses the issue of reaching homosexuals with the gospel, will give his testimony on how he was “reclaimed and redeemed” by the gospel of Christ.
The second featured event is the Women’s Missionary Union’s Missions Celebration, slated for June 13-14 at the Indiana Convention Center, 500 Ballroom, in Indianapolis. During the conference, the WMU will launch the 2004–2006 emphasis of “Christ Followers” initiative, which encourages members to become motivated and equipped followers of Christ.
“Together we will discover how God is working around the world through committed Christians who live a missions lifestyle because of a genuine love for Jesus Christ and for others,” said Wanda S. Lee, executive director of the WMU.
Several renowned dramatists and performers will “bring the biblical followers of Christ to life” through monologues and worship services. There will also be a time for testimonies and five plenary sessions where the members will engage in leadership training.
In conjunction with the Mission Celebration, the WMU Foundation will host a Legacy Dessert Party on Sunday, June 13 at the nearby Hyatt Regency.
Meanwhile, on June 14, from 9 to 11 p.m. at the Indiana Convention Center, several prominent leaders of the SBC will take part in the “Remembering the Past, Reaching the Future” celebration of the 25th anniversary of the conservative resurgence in the denomination.
Sponsored by the Criswell College, the celebration will look back at the history and development of the SBC since the conservative resurgence took place 25 years ago.
“After 25 years, we want to remind the current generation of this cyclical past so that we will not be condemned to repeat it,” said TCC President Jerry Johnson.
Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission President Richard D. Land will deliver a historical overview of the conservative resurgence and SBC President Jack Graham, pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, will open the meeting with prayer.
The feature of the week is the “Kingdom Forever” annual meeting of the SBC. The June 15-16 meeting will allow ‘messengers’ from each SBC church from across the states to take part in voting for several significant matters currently facing the denomination.
Such issues include the membership to the Baptist World Alliance. Messengers will vote on a recommendation to halt membership and funding to the 100-year-old alliance because of “theological concerns.” Another issue will pertain to the “sole membership” of the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. The seminary remains the only SBC entity that has not adopted the “sole membership” model, which clarifies that the SBC owns the seminary. The third major issue would be about changing the name of the Annuity Board. The executive committee of the SBC has approved the name change to “GuideStone Financial Resource of the Southern Baptist Convention.”
"The Southern Baptist Convention is an opportunity for us to share with the world what God is doing in our lives, in our churches and through the people known as Southern Baptists," SBC President Jack Graham said. "... This gathering will challenge us all to renew our passion for the Great Commission and issues of eternal impact."
Additionally, the messengers will elect a new president - Bobby Welch from the Daytona Southern Baptist Church, and new first and second vice presidents as part of the annual meeting.