OVERLAND PARK, KS (ABNS 6/25/15)—American Baptists from across the country and Puerto Rico have begun to arrive in Overland Park, Kansas, for the American Baptist Churches Biennial Mission Summit. The event follows board meetings of the program boards, highlighted by a joint board dinner and plenary session on Wednesday evening, June 24.
Joint Board Event
The joint board event, organized by ABC President Don Ng, brought together the board members of the Boards of International Ministries, the American Baptist Home Mission Societies, American Baptist Women’s Ministries, the Ministers and Missionaries Benefit Board and ABCUSA/Board of General Ministries. The directors connected with one another about their shared American Baptist heritage.
“One representative from each board presented a T.E.D.-style talk about ‘Why I am American Baptist.’ Each five minute-talk inspired the board members with a celebrative tone for the many gifts we each gain from our dear American Baptist family!” said Rev. Judy Fackenthal, ABC Vice President. “We look forward to our biennial dinner in 2017 when we will gather in Portland, Oregon, to enjoy Christian fellowship with sisters and brothers from across the nation.”
With the reworking of the American Baptist Churches denominational structure, each board (IM, ABHMS, ABWM, MMBB, and BGM) meets at different times of the year. However, in a biennial year, the boards convene prior to the event and come together for a joint dinner and program during that week.
Biennial Mission Summit
The 2015 Biennial Mission Summit event features a Hall of Ministries, full of representatives from American Baptist organizations and partner Exhibitors. It will also feature workshop options, a Festival of Young Preachers, a time for “Prayers for Peace,” and four exciting speakers. The theme of the 2015 event is “Share the Journey.”
Rev. Dr. Amy Butler, senior minister of the historic Riverside Church in New York City, will preach during the Friday evening service. Rev. Dr. A. Roy Medley, general secretary of American Baptist Churches USA, will bring the message on Saturday evening during a celebration of his fourteen years as General Secretary. Rev. Dr. Aidsand F. Wright-Riggins III, executive director of the American Baptist Home Mission Societies, will speak during the Sunday morning time of worship. The Sunday evening service will be highlighted by speaker Rev. Dr. Don Ng, president of the American Baptist Churches USA and the first Asian-American to serve in this role.
The Biennial Mission Summit will again feature Mission Summit Conversations, which were introduced at the 2013 event. Over 1,000 people attended the Mission Summit Conversations in 2013, which provided a new and exciting opportunity for American Baptists from across the country to come together to discuss vital ministry challenges. This model is based around the Transformed by the Spirit initiative. The full list of topics is online, here.
For those who are unable to attend the Biennial Mission Summit, they can still be involved in the conversations through a new virtual forum site. American Baptists may visit www.missionsummitconversations.com to register for an account and join in on the conversations.
American Baptist Churches USA 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.