ST. LOUIS – The 178th annual meeting of the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) will be built around a theme of “Gratitude” out of Ps. 1-7:1 Oct. 29-31 here at the Millennium Hotel.
Humor is certain to be a part of the festivities as well with headline speaker Dennis Swanberg set to deliver a 10:40 a.m. message Oct. 31. Swanberg, a comedian and a former Baptist pastor, is billed as “America’s Minister of Encouragement” and is known for his many colorful impersonations.
John Marshall, pastor, Second Baptist Church, Springfield, will preside over the meeting for his second year. Worship Pastor Kevin Hawkins and the Second Springfield Choir and Orchestra will help lead in music, along with Marshall’s wife, Ruth.
Oct. 29 will feature messages by Marshall and MBC Executive Director John Yeats as well as a benediction by a bi-vocational pastor—the first of several benedictions and invocations by bi-vocational pastors that will be sprinkled throughout the annual meeting.
“More than 50 percent of our pastors are bi-vocational,” said Jerry Field, team leader for MBC support services who is over the annual meeting. “Bi-vocational should never be viewed as part-time. These are men who are full-time ministers ministering fully to their congregations while at the same time really in the great tradition of Baptists making their daily living for their family perhaps doing some other vocational pursuit in order to provide. They are the backbone of our convention.”
Selah, a contemporary Christian worship group, will sing Oct. 30 during the day and also perform in concert in the evening session. At various times MBC regional worship leaders will lead messengers in song and provide special music.
Kenny Qualls, pastor, First Baptist Church, Arnold, is scheduled to deliver the convention sermon. That will take place at 11:35 a.m. Oct. 30.
Other speaking slots Oct. 30 will emphasize CORE, which represents the MBC’s core values of becoming disciples, developing leaders, and missional living. Those two speakers are Calvin Miller, author of more than 40 books and professor of preaching and pastoral ministry at Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School, Birmingham, Ala., and Tony Merida, lead pastor of Imago Dei Church, Raleigh, N.C.
On Oct. 31, there will be a special time of prayer set aside for the North American Mission Board’s Send emphasis in St. Louis. That prayer will take place at approximately 9:50 a.m.