American Baptists “Connect!” at 2017 Biennial Mission Summit

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American Baptists “Connect!” at 2017 Biennial Mission Summit

PORTLAND, OR (7/1/17)—
“Connected to Christ” was the theme of the opening Worship Experience at the 2017 Biennial Mission Summit in Portland, Ore. The Rev. Sharon T. Koh, executive director/CEO of International Ministries, spoke about the simplicity and the complexity in Jesus’ call to his disciples to “Come, Follow Me” (Mark 1:17).

Koh said that Jesus’s call to discipleship is clearly described in John 15: “Remain in me as I remain in you.” Several of IM’s newest missionaries, Jon and Amanda Good and Juan and Denise Aragon, spoke in two video vignettes about how their connections with Christ led them to their call to the global mission field. Koh concluded with an invitation to the gathered to respond to God’s call to participate in God’s local and global mission.

View a Facebook Live video of the Worship Experience at: Or, visit this link to view upcoming services live at 7:00 pm PDT on Saturday, or at 9:00 am PDT and 7:00 pm PDT on Sunday.

In an evening focused on International Ministries, the Rev. Dr. Lauran Bethel, IM global consultant, introduced Koh and scripture was read by the Rev. Charles Jones, IM area director.

Koh is a Los Angeles native and an ABCUSA pastor. She graduated from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif. Her passion is facilitating God’s mission around the world, and she cares deeply about IM’s global servants and their families. For more information, go to

The Friday evening service, which was opened at 7:00 pm by American Baptist Churches USA President Rev. Judy Fackenthal, was an evening affirming and proclaiming the many ways American Baptists are connected to Christ.

American Baptists traveled to the Biennial Mission Summit from across the country and around the world.

Photos will be shared throughout the Biennial Mission Summit at Attendees are also invited to use the hashtag #ABConnect when posting on social media.

The second day of the event begins on Saturday morning with breakfast gatherings and Bible Studies, followed by the heart of the Biennial Mission Summit, the Mission Summit Conversations, which began in 2013. 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. From these 21 topics, the 2015 Mission Table attendees (persons from every region, seminary and national agency) identified seven ABC priorities.

In 2017, the Mission Summit Conversations will feature these 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. American Baptists who did not attend the event are invited to join in the discussion about these topics through the American Baptist Churches USA Facebook Page, which includes Groups for each of the seven topics which were introduced prior to the event, with a goal of encouraging discussion and learning before, during and after the event.

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.