OVERLAND PARK, KS (ABNS 6/23/13)—American Baptists attending Mission Summit 2013 jumped in to the Mission Summit Conversations aspect of the event on Saturday morning, meeting in small groups focusing on self-selected topics in order to share learnings, surface insights, and suggest experiments related to those topics.
“The Mission Summit Conversations are an opportunity for ABC persons from all across our denomination to come together and talk about the issues of mission and ministry that matter most to them. The Conversations themselves are an experiment that grew out of discussions among regional and national staff about doing ministry in a way that reflects how the world functions today,” said Rev. Dr. C. Jeff Woods, associate general secretary for Regional Ministries and facilitator for the Mission Summit Conversations.
The Mission Summit Conversations, taking place at Mission Summit 2013: An American Baptist Biennial Gathering, June 21-23, 2013 in Overland Park, Kansas, are a series of three gatherings, over the course of two days. The groups are divided into three large rooms titled, “Our Leaders,” “Our Witness,” and “Our Future.”
“The Saturday sessions of approximately 1000 American Baptists in Overland Park, KS, were an exhilarating mosaic of people from across the divides of age, ethnicity, race, geography, and social strata,” said Rev. Reg Mills, chair of the Mission Summit/Biennial Planning Team. “I was struck by the oneness of Spirit. There is a power in this experience that if replicated in our local churches would transform both church and community.”
The Mission Summit Conversations are meant to provide space for meaningful conversation among the Mission Summit participants in order to advance the mission and ministry of our American Baptist Churches. Attendees should take away from the Mission Summit Conversations: (1) an understanding that they and their local congregations are not alone in the challenges that they face in mission and ministry; (2) contact information and helpful insights from others who are facing similar challenges; and (3) an experience to inspire discernment and excitement about possible experiments for their local church setting.
“We hope that many of these conversations that get started at the Summit continue in the future,” said Woods. “With today’s technology, there is no reason why a group of people from across the country cannot find a way to continue their conversation if the interest is there, continuing to share learnings, and follow up on experiments and insights into the future.”
Follow the events at Mission Summit 2013 on the ABCUSA website, Facebook page, Twitter (#missionsummit2013), and view the photo album at www.abc-usa.org. Photos will be available throughout the weekend.
American Baptist Churches is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.