VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 12/18/19)—The American Baptist Churches Board of General Ministries announces a Mission Table, to take place May 19-21, 2020 at the Green Lake Conference Center in Green Lake, Wis. The Mission Table will meet around the theme, “United in Christ, Together in Mission,” and will bring together representatives from American Baptist regions, affiliated ministry partners, national staff, executives and officers, to focus on common mission emphases. The Green Lake event is planned in coordination with the annual National Leadership Council (NLC) meeting, a council which is made up of American Baptist Regional Executive Ministers and denominational leaders from major national organizations.
The purpose of the Mission Table, as outlined in our ABCUSA Bylaws is “. . . to further refine and pursue areas of common mission emphases articulated by their respective constituencies and the Mission Summit, making recommendations for, and committing to, areas of action. The Mission Table’s sole focus will be the furtherance of God’s mission through American Baptists, not the institutional life of the Denomination, so that staff of the mission partners and congregations can effectively network around shared responsibilities and priorities.” (Bylaws: Article VII – Mission Table Section 3 – Mission).
The Mission Table concept emerged as part of a set of restructuring efforts recommended by the former General Executive Council of American Baptist Churches, comprised of key regional and national staff. Participants of the mission table include persons from every region, seminary, and national agency.
Participants from ABC regions, seminaries, and national agencies will converge together to consider larger ministry challenges that are present in and affect every local church, region and American Baptist entity.
Two prior Mission Table events have occurred since the Mission Table was introduced in the new American Baptist Churches USA Bylaws in 2011 – one event in November 2013 and one in November 2015. At the first event in 2013, participants looked at 32 individual topics and considered how they affect local church ministry and the larger denomination. The 2015 event found attendees narrowing the larger number down to seven denominational priorities. This second event focused on these seven priorities in more detail, and denominational entities and regions also focused on or highlighted these priorities in their work in different ways.
One of the learnings from both past Mission Summits and past Mission Tables is that a significant part of the outcomes occur at the table while people are in conversation. Opinions get shared, perspectives surface, and new thoughts and ideologies are considered. At the previous Mission Table events, the groups discussed summaries and learnings from the Mission Summit Conversations and the Mission Tables, which were made available to aid American Baptists in meeting their own ministry challenges in their individual organizations.
The 2020 event will focus on our mission together as a denominational family, with the theme “United in Christ, Together in Mission” being a central part of the conversation and 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.