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More than 2,000 people expected to take part in premiere of SPARK conference


Tony Evans will be one of of the keynote preachers at this year’s SPARK conference sponsored by the Georgia Baptist Mission Board.

By Roger Alford

DULUTH, Ga. – More than 1,400 people have signed up for one of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board’s most popular training conferences, which is set for Thursday.

The SPARK conference will be led by dozens of well-known Southern Baptist figures who will provide inspirational preaching and insightful teaching.

Scott Sullivan, discipleship catalyst for the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, said he expects more than 2,000 participants for the premiere of SPARK and perhaps more than three times that in the months ahead.

“Registrations are growing well,” Sullivan said. “We expect we’ll have well over 100 host sites all over the world by the day of the premiere.”

Keynote speakers will include Tony Evans, senior pastor of the 9,500-member Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas; Ben Mandrell, president and chief executive officer of LifeWay Christian Resources; Charles Lowery, president and chief executive officer of Lowery Institute for Excellence; and David Kinnaman, president of Barna Group, a leading research and communications company.

Mark Hall and Casting Crowns, the Grammy Award winning group based in Georgia, will be performing some of their major songs during the conference. Hall is longtime student pastor at Eagle’s Landing First Baptist Church, a Southern Baptist church in McDonough, Ga.

The goal is to “spark” an intense fire among Southern Baptists for making and training disciples in local communities, across the U.S, and around the world.

The SPARK conference last year drew more than 6,500 participants at more than 200 hosting sites.

SPARK is set up in such a way that local church leaders or associational missions strategists can host local in-person events or give access to their leaders through digital engagement.  The SPARK content provides quality training and encouragement for pastors, bi-vocational leaders and lay leaders, free of charge.

And they can do that not just on the day of the premiere, but any time after that. The content will be available for download.

Georgia Baptist Mission Board drawings for giveaways, however, will be held only on Thursday during the premiere. Someone whose name pops up during live chats with keynote speakers will receive a MacBook Air.

The names of three people who promote SPARK on social media using #sparkcon2021 will be drawn for $200 in “restaurant cash." And six others who register by noon on Thursday will be drawn to receive $100 in “restaurant cash.”

The COVID-19 pandemic of the past year forced Sullivan and team to rethink discipleship training, which traditionally had been done in one mass meeting.

But that just wasn’t a possibility last year with heightened coronavirus concerns. So, he developed the current SPARK model of multiple sites joining virtually.

To register, go to https://www.thesparkconference.com/home2021

Casting Crowns, Mark Hall, Scott Sullivan, SPARK, Spark Conference, Tony Evans


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