PHOENIX (BP) – As this year’s Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting approaches, SBC President Steve Gaines says fellow Baptists should anticipate emphases on prayer, evangelism and financial stewardship at the June 13-14 gathering in Phoenix, where the 2003 and 2011 annual meetings also were held.
This year’s annual meeting theme is “Pray! For such a time as this” based on Luke 18:1 and Esther 4:14. Gaines hopes that through a commitment “to fervent, frequent, faith-filled prayer,” the SBC will become “a catalyst for spiritual awakening and revival.”
“I believe Southern Baptists can be used of God to spark a mighty movement of prayer, evangelism and discipleship across our nation and around the world,” said Gaines, pastor of Memphis-area Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn. “If we will pray and abandon ourselves to the Lord, He will use us exponentially to take the Gospel to people.”
In addition to several seasons of prayer, Gaines said, annual meeting highlights will include a personal evangelism emphasis Tuesday evening (June 13) led by California pastor and evangelist Greg Laurie and a Wednesday afternoon (June 14) panel discussion on financial stewardship.
Southern Baptists have held their annual meeting in Phoenix twice before, in 2003 and 2011.
Regarding stewardship, Gaines said Southern Baptist churches cannot give more to SBC missions and ministries than church members give through their local congregations.
“The solution for increased funding for world missions begins in the heart of every individual believer in Christ,” Gaines said. “Southern Baptists need to get our financial houses in order.”
Messengers gathering in Phoenix will consider a variety of recommendations during the annual meeting. See related stories that detail those approved by the SBC Executive Committee during its Sept. 19-20 meeting and its Feb. 20-21 meeting. Among the proposals:
- a recommendation that SBC Bylaw 18 be amended to grant one Executive Committee representative each to the Dakotas, Iowa, Minnesota-Wisconsin and Montana even though they currently have too few church members to apply for EC representation under the provisions of SBC Bylaw 30.
- a recommendation that the International Mission Board be permitted to adopt a fiscal year of Oct. 1-Sept. 30 and that the convention amend the SBC Business and Financial Plan to reflect the change.
- a recommendation that the convention approve a 2017-2018 Cooperative Program Allocation Budget of $192,000,000. The budget would maintain current CP allocations to all convention ministries. However, the formula for distributing any overage of gifts above the CP Allocation Budget would be amended to increase the IMB’s portion from 51 percent to 53.4 percent and decrease the SBC Operating Budget portion from 2.4 percent to 0 percent.
Annual meeting attendees once again can stay updated by using the “SBC Annual Meetings” mobile application. The app will include a listing of speakers for the SBC Pastors’ Conference and SBC annual meeting as well as the daily program schedule, daily events, exhibitor listing, convention center maps, 2017 Book of Reports and more. Download the app on your mobile device by accessing the App Store, Google Play or by visiting app.core-apps.com/sbc_am2017.
Attendees can also follow on Twitter @SBCMeeting, @BaptistPress, @SBCLife, @sbccp and @SBCPastorsConf for the latest annual meeting updates. Many social media users will employ the hashtag “#sbc17” in their posts about the annual meeting.
- The CP Stage, with its focus on the Cooperative Program, will again be prominently located between the booths of the North American Mission Board and the International Mission Board. “We have redesigned the stage this year to reflect a family setting. Just like dads, moms and kids share their day with each other around the kitchen table, or in a warm, inviting family room, the CP Stage will be an intimate place for the SBC family to meet, share, and encourage one another,” said Ashley Clayton, SBC Executive Committee vice president for Cooperative Program and stewardship. Programming will run Monday, June 12, through Wednesday, June 14.
- GuideStone will once again make available its popular Wellness Center June 12–14. But this year, rather than having participants move from one station to another, the Wellness Center will offer participants one-stop biometric readings. Additionally, GuideStone staff will be available during all exhibit hall hours to meet with participants about their retirement plans or insurance coverages.
Register online at sbcannualmeeting.net/sbc17 under the Messengers/Guests tab. NOTE: messengers, exhibitors and guests need to be registered and properly badged for entrance into the general sessions June 13-14.
After completing online registration, each individual will receive an eight-digit registration code to present at the annual meeting’s express registration lane. There, the registration code can be entered into a computer and a nametag will be printed.
Messengers planning to propose resolutions must submit them no later than 15 days prior to the annual meeting. Detailed guidelines on submitting resolutions are available at sbcannualmeeting.net/sbc17 under the Messengers/Guests tab. Resolutions may be submitted online but must be followed up by a letter of credentials from the submitter’s church.
Discounted tickets are available for Southern Baptists to attend daily Arizona Diamondbacks baseball games June 6-11 at Chase Field. Tickets, which range from $5-$30, may be purchased at Dbacks.com/sbc2017.