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SBC St. Louis: Various ethnic and affinity groups prepare to gather

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Numerous organizations are nearing their annual gatherings in conjunction with the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in St. Louis June 14-15. The majority of the meetings will take place in the days prior to the convention, with one occurring the following week.

K. Marshall Williams, pastor of Nazarene Baptist Church in Philadelphia, speaks at the NAAF banquet June 15 held in conjunction with last year's Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting. Elected as NAAF president in 2014, Marshall will complete two years in that role and deliver his final presidential address at this year's NAAF banquet. MATT MILLER/Special K. Marshall Williams, pastor of Nazarene Baptist Church in Philadelphia, speaks at the NAAF banquet June 15 held in conjunction with last year's Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting. Elected as NAAF president in 2014, Marshall will complete two years in that role and deliver his final presidential address at this year's banquet to be held June 13. MATT MILLER/Special

‘Loving God by loving others’ will be NAAF focus

Promoting personal holiness, strengthening church ministry, and equipping pastors to navigate the Southern Baptist Convention are goals of the National African American Fellowship as it gathers June 11-13.

Praying, fasting, and obeying God, while seeking "implicit and inexplicable love and unity in the church will hopefully bring revival" and a national spiritual awakening, NAAF President K. Marshall Williams told Baptist Press.

"Loving God by loving others," based on Micah 6:8, Matthew 22:37-40, and 1 John 3:14, is the annual meeting theme of the leaders from the 3,500-4,000 Southern Baptist African American churches and church-like missions.

NAAF will elect new officers at its business meeting June 13 at 4 p.m. in Room 242 of America's Center. Robert Wilson, pastor of Light of the World Baptist Church in Atlanta, was among the list officers recommended at the NAAF’s spring board meeting, to serve as the group’s historian. The group's annual banquet will be held later a 6:30 p.m. in Room 276 of America's Center.

Associational leaders focus on Lord's work

Southern Baptist associational leaders will focus on church planting, discipleship, and ministry in rural and urban settings June 12-13 at the St. Louis Holiday Inn Downtown Convention Center.

"Work heartily as for the Lord, not for men," is the theme for the Southern Baptist Conference of Associational Leaders (SBCAL) confab for representatives of the 1,100 Southern Baptist associations in the U.S., said team leader and Georgia Baptist Ray Gentry, director of missions of the Southside Baptist Network in McDonough. Workshops, speeches, plenary sessions, a ministry fair, and networking are on tap.

Blackaby Ministries International President Richard Blackaby will speak at the June 12, 4:50 p.m. banquet and will gift all banquet attendees with a copy of a book he authored with his father Henry Blackaby, Flickering Lamps: Christ and His Church.

Workshop topics include Gospel Coaching Practicum, Biblical Steps to Successful Church Planting, Solutions for Struggling Churches, Helps for Newer DOMs (directors of missions), Finishing Strong, the CROSS Conversation for Disciplemaking, Town and Country Associational Leadership, City Shepherds: Restoring the Soul of the City, and How to Add Value and Make Your Association Relevant.

AVANCE among key Hispanic gatherings in St. Louis

AVANCE, the key pre-SBC dinner and celebration gathering of Hispanic pastors and leaders, will begin at 5 p.m. Sunday, June 12 in Rooms 225-226 of America’s Center in St. Louis. The theme of the meeting will be "Firmes en el Evangelio - Valientes en la Mision" (in English, "Firmly Standing on the Gospel – Boldly Committed to the Mission").

"The more than 3,400 Hispanic congregations in our convention are very diverse linguistically, culturally, and geographically, which requires that we all work together in unity," said Bob Sena, Hispanic relations consultant with the SBC Executive Committee.

Prayer and fellowship led by the National Hispanic Baptist Fellowship will be held Sunday afternoon, June 12. Conferences featuring three SBC entities will follow the AVANCE dinner and program: the International Mission Board in Room 229 of America's Center; the North American Mission Board, Room 223; and LifeWay Christian Resources, Room 220.

Asian-American Baptists launching new fellowship

Asian Americans are launching a national fellowship coordinating the work of the eight Asian groups of the Southern Baptist Convention to advance the Great Commission, said Paul Kim, Asian American relations consultant to the SBC Executive Committee.

Kim will launch the Asian American National Fellowship (AANF) at a dinner June 12 from 5:30-9:30 p.m. in Room 224 of America's Center, 701 Convention Plaza in St. Louis.

AANF operates as an arm of the A2CP2 Leadership Network, an acronym for the Asian American Church Planting/Cooperative Program network formed in 2015 to unify church planting and global missions of Asian American Southern Baptists, Kim said.

The fellowship meeting will be one of two national annual A2CP2 events, Kim added, the other being the A2CP2 National Conference at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary each April.

Evangelists to focus on serving pastors

Connecting with pastors and exploring new avenues for serving churches will be the focus when the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists gathers in St. Louis.

To facilitate meetings with pastors, COSBE will abbreviate its traditional meeting schedule, hosting a worship service Sunday morning, June 12, at Tower Grove Baptist Church followed by a lunch and business session. In addition, COSBE will host an ice cream reception for pastors Monday, June 13, from 9-11 p.m. in the Marriot St. Louis Grand's Washington Room.

"Our emphasis this year is on the evangelists' attending the convention and staying as long as they can in order to meet pastors," COSBE president Phil Glisson said.

COSBE's Sunday worship service will begin June 12 at 10 a.m. at Tower Grove – a 15-minute drive from downtown. Speakers will include Glisson and fellow evangelist Floyd Lammersfeld. The service will also include ventriloquist Teresa Glisson, Gospel illusionist Travis Young, and various COSBE musicians.

Potential agenda items at the business session include ministry to the widows of evangelists and opportunities for evangelists to publish books through COSBE Publishing.

Native American Baptists: A lot to celebrate

God is moving among Native Americans and within the Fellowship of Native American Christians, say leaders of the group.

Reports of several success stories will be shared at FoNAC's June 13 annual meeting set for 10 a.m. in Second Level Room 263 of America's Center, 701 Convention Plaza in St. Louis.

"We anticipate a very good meeting," said Gary Hawkins, executive director of FoNAC. "There are a lot of things seen and unseen that we have to celebrate this year.

The annual meeting's business will include election of officers, changes in board members, reports of the last year's activity, and discussion of partnerships.

Guest speaker is to be Mark Custalow, church planting team leader and church planting strategist with the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia state convention. Custalow, a native Virginian, also is chief of the Mattaponi tribe headquartered in West Point, VA. Native Praise, an ensemble whose membership consists of 54 Native women from 17 tribes and 29 churches, each in traditional clothing from their tribe, will lead in worship.

9Marks, B21, Connect316 among events for SBC attendees

Several Christian ministries – including 9Marks, B21, Connect316 and others – will offer events on topics ranging from the future of the Cooperative Program to the state of discipleship and evangelism in the Southern Baptist Convention.

9Marks, a ministry to help pastors grow healthy churches, will hold panel discussions June 13-14, from 9-11 p.m. in rooms 222-227 of America's Center. The June 13 discussion, co-hosted by the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, will focus on how pastors and churches can respond to cultural and ethical challenges. The event will feature ERLC President Russell Moore; ERLC executive vice president Phillip Bethancourt; 9Marks editorial director Jonathan Leeman; and Mark Dever, pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., and co-founder of the 9Marks ministry. The June 14 discussion will focus on the current state of the SBC and will feature Dever; Southeastern Seminary President Daniel Akin; Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr.; International Mission Board President David Platt; and H.B. Charles, pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, FL. Admission is free.

Baptist21 (B21) will host a June 14 luncheon and panel discussion on "pressing issues facing the church and key issues in our denomination," according to the group's website. The gathering will convene during the SBC annual meeting's lunch break in America's Center rooms 222-227. Panelists will be David Platt, president of the International Mission Board; Matt Chandler, pastor of The Village Church in Flower Mound, TX; R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Seminary; Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern Seminary; Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission; and J.D. Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, NC. B21 was founded by younger Southern Baptists to address issues relevant to Southern Baptists in the 21st century.

Connect316 will host a dinner June 14 from 5-6:30 p.m. in America's Center rooms 220-221. Messages on "The Gospel for Everyone" will be delivered by Braxton Hunter, president of Trinity Seminary in Newburgh, IN.; Blake Newsom, dean of chapel and assistant professor of expository preaching at New Orleans Seminary; and David Allen, dean of the School of Theology and professor of preaching at Southwestern Seminary. According to the group's website, Connect316 is a ministry fellowship that affirms a doctrine of salvation between that of Calvinism and Arminianism, holding that Christ died for the sins of every person.

The Fellowship of Baptist World Ministries will host a breakfast June 13 from 7-8:30 a.m. in the Hawthorne Meeting Room of the Marriott St. Louis Grand. A representative of the International Mission Board will speak on global missions. The Fellowship of Baptist World Ministries is an association of mission organizations who work in covenant with the IMB to conduct evangelism and discipleship throughout the world.

Replicate Ministries will host a breakfast June 14 from 6:30-8 a.m. in The Dome at America's Center. A panel discussion will center on "The Evangelism Dilemma: Why Evangelism is Not Enough to Fulfill the Great Commission." Panelists will include International Mission Board President David Platt; J.D. Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, NC.; Steve Gaines, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, TN.; Johnny Hunt, pastor of First Baptist Church in Woodstock; and Robby Gallaty, pastor of Long Hollow Baptist Church in Hendersonville, TN, and founder of Replicate Ministries. Replicate Ministries seeks "to equip and train men and women to be disciples who make disciples," according to the group's website.

Filipinos to report on church planting progress

The Filipino Southern Baptist Fellowship of North America is on pace to fulfill its goal of planting 100 new churches in North America by 2020.

That's part of the report to be presented to the fellowship's annual meeting Tuesday, June 14, at 2 p.m. in Landmark Ballrooms 6-7 at the Marriott St. Louis Grand Hotel. The theme of the Filipino Fellowship's meeting is "Called for Such a Time as This," drawn from Esther 4:14.

As part of the fellowship's "2020 Vision," it adopted a goal last year of increasing the total number of North American Filipino churches to more than 300 by the year 2020, an increase of 100. The 20-plus congregations planted in 2015 represent the first step of that journey, said Fellowship President Peter Yanes, a North American Mission Board church planting catalyst and ethnic strategist for the Baptist Convention of Pennsylvania/South Jersey.

Chinese pastors set St. Louis fellowship event

The Chinese Baptist Fellowship (CBF) of the United States and Canada expects as many as 40 pastors at its dinner June 14 at 4:30 p.m., said Peter Leong, fellowship liaison officer. The dinner and fellowship in St. Louis is in conjunction with the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting in June, but will conduct its business at its biennial meeting this fall in Vancouver, B.C.

Those gathered will hear an update on church planting and ministry initiatives, Leong said.

The fellowship continues to focus on church planting, and will support the launch of the Asian American National Fellowship, where the Chinese Baptist Fellowship's church planting specialist Ted Lam will speak.

Vancouver Chinese Baptist Church in Vancouver will host the 19th Biennial Conference Sept. 27-29 from 7 a.m.-9:30 p.m. daily. Themed "Thy Kingdom Come," the event will include business meetings, the election of officers, Bible studies, and workshops focusing on topics including biblical marriage.

For location of the CBF dinner and fellowship in St. Louis, contact Leong at pastor.leong@gmail.com.

Messianics to seek partners in Jewish evangelism

Strengthening partnerships with other groups focused on Jewish evangelism will be among the emphases at the Southern Baptist Messianic Fellowship meeting June 15.

In lieu of the traditional two-day SBMF gathering, members and guests will convene Wednesday, June 15, immediately following the convention's morning session for a lunch meeting at a local restaurant to be announced. The fellowship – which is comprised largely of Messianic Jews (Jews who follow Jesus as Messiah) – has modified its typical meeting schedule because a significant number of members will be celebrating the Jewish festival of Shavuot (Pentecost) the weekend before the SBC, and others will be on mission trips.

The meeting will include discussions of reaching Jews from the millennial and younger generations for Christ as well as strategies for making Southern Baptists aware that the SBMF can help them share the Gospel with Jews.

Korean Council set for 35th annual meeting

The 35th annual meeting of the Council of Korean Southern Baptist Churches in America has been set for June 20-23 at Tacoma First Baptist Church in Tacoma, WA. Tacoma First is a Korean congregation and the largest Southern Baptist church in the Northwest Baptist Convention of Washington, Oregon, and northern Idaho.

The meeting has been scheduled for late June to allow its group to attend the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting.

David Platt, president of the International Mission Board, is to be a guest speaker during the Korean Council's meeting, as is Randy Adams, executive director of the Northwest Baptist Convention, and Kaehyek Kim, pastor of Global Baptist Church in Seoul, South Korea. Worship will be led by several churches, including Tacoma First.

With "The Great Commission: All Together" as its theme, and Matthew 28:19-20 as its scriptural focus, this year's Korean Council will hear reports from its various departments. The fellowship is patterned after the Southern Baptist Convention, with home and foreign mission boards, plus education, church planting, and related emphases.

About 13,000 Koreans live in Missouri; Southern Baptists minister through 10 churches statewide, and only one in St. Louis, where the SBC annual meeting is to take place.

In contrast, about 80,000 Koreans live in Washington state; at least 30 Southern Baptist churches minister in the Puget Sound area, including Tacoma First Baptist.

More than 1.7 million Koreans live in the U.S., up 41 percent since 2000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. About 750 Southern Baptist Korean churches minister among them.


Diana Chandler, David Roach, Art Toalston, and Karen Willoughby of Baptist Press contributed to this report.

COSBE, ethnics, evangelism, groups, SBC annual meeting, SBC16, St. Louis

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