Mission Summit Conversations
At the 2017 Biennial Mission Summit in Portland, Oregon, the Mission Summit Conversations showcased seven dedicated rooms for the seven named 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 have been held in 2013, 2015 and 2017 at the Biennial events as an open opportunity for anyone attending to engage in meaningful dialogue about a topic of interest by self-selecting into a small group. To view case statements (developed at the 2015 Mission Table) for each of the seven 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
Background: Mission Summit Conversations and Denominational Priorities
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. Review the Learnings from the 2015 Mission Summit and 2015 Mission Table here. [Include link to the page which will be transferred from the old site, per Anna’s notes in the Google Sheet – you can also see the second note under “Transformed by the Spirit page”, below, for a little more clarity (hopefully).]
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. The American Baptist Churches USA Board of General Ministries decided in 2017 to forego holding a Mission Table, 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 was an affirmation by the Board of General Ministries Executive Committee and was supported by the Board of General Ministries, recognizing the energy 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 of the REMC focused on another denominational priority, Innovative Models of Pastoral Ministry, and was 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 had 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.
Baptist Talk Conversations will continue at the 2019 Biennial Mission Summit; these sessions will provide an opportunity for persons to share their thoughts, views, ideas, ministries and concerns with one another around topics that they care deeply about.