I just returned yesterday from New Orleans and the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). Each year, BGR is allowed to staff a booth in the exhibits and displays area. This year, in our display, we focused on the Japan relief efforts, hunger in Africa, the BGR Kits for Kids project and medical/health care ministries.
Our display was well received. We had good interaction with the convention messengers who stopped by to talk about various things. One interesting thing is that most people tend to know BGR now. A few years ago as we started BGR, we receive a lot of, "who are you.." questions. This year many would say, "I know BGR. Our church has done a project with you!" It was really nice to hear.
Also, during the IMB's report by the president, Dr. Tom Elliff, BGR received a compliment and "plug" for the work we do. Dr. and Mrs. Elliff and I had made a trip together to the Horn of Africa last November. He got to see first hand the way that hunger, relief and health care projects are critical to Kingdom work and has become a great advocate for BGR. Moreover, he got to follow up that trip with a trip to Japan and see the devastation and work there to help the Japanese Baptists in their recovery efforts.
Several milestones were achieved during the SBC this year in New Orleans. If you didn't know, Southern Baptists elected their first African American president, Fred Luter, Jr. We also voted to keep our name as the "Southern Baptist Convention" but with a "qualifier" to those who wanted to use it: "Great Commission Baptists."
But one of the most encouraging things to me was the excitement from many of the younger leaders who are passionate about social justice issues such as widows and orphans, human trafficking, hunger, etc. Nobody asked me, but I think a better descriptor of who we are as Southern Baptists would be...
"Southern Baptist Convention: Great Commission and Great Compassion Baptists"
Seeing what I saw this past week, this would probably be a more accurate description.