VALLEY FORGE, PA (1/31/17)—This summer at the 2017 Biennial Mission Summit, June 30-July 2, at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Oregon, the Mission Summit Conversations will showcase seven dedicated rooms for the seven denominational priorities: Anti-Violence, Discipleship, Ending Poverty, Gospel in a Rapidly Changing Society, Innovative Models of Pastoral Ministry, Next Generation of Leaders and Women in Ministry.
The Mission Summit Conversations are an open opportunity for anyone attending the 2017 Biennial Mission Summit to engage in meaningful dialogue about a topic of interest by self-selecting into a small group. As individuals register for the Biennial Mission Summit, they will be asked to also register for one of the Mission Summit Conversation topics. In order to better prepare for the conversations, delegates and participants are encouraged to review the case statement for their topic in advance of the event. To view the case statements developed at the 2015 Mission Table for each of the denominational priorities, click the topic name below.
- Ending Poverty
- Gospel in a Rapidly Changing Society
- Innovative Models of Pastoral Ministry
- Next Generation of Leaders
- Women in Ministry
At the 2017 event, all seven Mission Summit Conversations will occur simultaneously on Saturday, July 1, from 10:00AM – 11:45AM. During the first phase of the 90 minute conversation time, attendees will have an opportunity to hear updates of local, regional, and national mission and ministry activity related to the conversations. During phase two, participants will engage in dialogue about what they have heard and what they hope for regarding the topics of conversation.
Background: Mission Summit Conversations
At the last round of Mission Summit Conversations at the 2015 Biennial Mission Summit, participants engaged in dialogue around twenty-one topics which had surfaced from local churches, regional events, national agencies and seminaries, as well as feedback from previous Mission Summit Conversations. An online survey narrowed the wide range of topics to twenty-one and then 2015 Mission Table attendees (persons from every region, seminary and national agency) identified seven ABC priorities.
Moving forward, the next Mission Table will be held in 2019 rather than 2017 to allow more time to focus upon our current set of priorities. The decision to engage the priorities that were identified at the last Mission Table in November 2015 is an affirmation by the Board of General Ministries Executive Committee and supported by the Board of General Ministries, that recognizes the energy currently undergirding these priorities.
Work continues on the seven denominational priorities in a variety of different settings throughout American Baptist Churches USA. American Baptist Home Mission Societies and International Ministries are heavily involved in the ABC priorities. Local churches and regions are also actively pursuing the priorities. Associated Ministry Organizations, and the ABCUSA Office of the General Secretary, are committed to working with these priorities.
The Regional Executive Ministers Council (REMC) met in November 2016 for a continuing education event, focusing on the “Next Generation of Leaders,” which was led by Jolene Erlacher, author of “Millennials in Ministry” (Judson Press, 2014).
A June 2017 meeting is planned for the REMC to focus on another denominational priority, Innovative Models of Pastoral Ministry, and will be led by Beth Ann Estock, author of “Weird Church: Welcome to the Twenty-First Century.”
New Feature: Baptist Talk
New at the 2017 Biennial Mission Summit, participants and delegates will have an opportunity to be a part of “Baptist Talk.” Baptist Talk is a new outgrowth of the Mission Summit Conversations. “While the purpose of the Mission Summit Conversations is to engage in topics that could become ministry priorities for the denomination, the purpose of Baptist Talk is to increase our understanding and respect for one another as American Baptists,” said C. Jeff Woods, associate general secretary for Regional Ministries and facilitator of the Mission Summit Conversations.
In June of 2016, ABCUSA Past President Don Ng proposed the concept of Baptist Talk to the BGM. The BGM responded by affirming the proposal and creating a commission to bring Baptist Talk to life.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.