What happened at the 183rd Annual Gathering? Here are reports that were updated hourly during the 2008 event:
October 18, 2008 - Morning Seminar Report
The Annual Gathering concluded with a final seminar in the Ballroom. Rev. Tom Lipsey of Montgomery Community Church in Cincinnati spoke asking the question: "Who do you invite to the party? Who do you invite to the banquet?" He focused on how Jesus purposely chose to include people who are not included. Rev. Lipsey said we do this by buying into the missional mindset through connecting with our communities. The session closed with an evaluation of the entire Annual Gathering conducted in a small group format. It was a wonderful weekend and we are already looking forward to what God has in store in the coming year!
October 17, 2008 - Worship Service Report
The service began with a time of praise with the Trinity Baptist Church, Marion Worship Team. This was followed by a time of laughter as we enjoyed a Vacation Bible School "Powerlab" demonstration with Bill Snyder, Jr. and Cheryl Van Winkle. We were then treated to the Mass Choir of the Marion Baptist Association with Jenny Hughes directing. It was powerful and uplifting! Trinity Baptist returned to the stage to lead us in a medley of hymns. Our keynote speaker, Rev. Dr. Jeff Johnson spoke for the final time as he invited us to continue exploring what "Outflow Living" really means. Dr. Johnson told us that Outflow Living means getting out of your comfort zone to reach the world for Christ. Rev. Tim Mohon led us in a celebration of Communion to close out the evening.
October 17, 2008 - Mission Banquet Report
It was a wonderful gathering to celebrate missions supported through ABC-Ohio. We enjoyed hearing of the mission work through a question and answer format with Bob Bishop, Executive Director of the Dayton Christian Center and Mark Samuel, Executive Director of Neighborhood Ministries in Youngstown. Along with reports from Bob and Mark, we were excited to hear from Sarah Williams, Associate Executive Director of Dayton Christian and Gerald Hamilton, Program Director of Neighborhood Ministries. The told us about a new national youth initiative. The goal is to build a peer network involving Christian Centers from across the nation. Following the reports, we turned to our Mission Speaker Chuck Fox. Chuck and his wife Ruth are American Baptist Missionaries serving approximately 75,000 Akha hilltribe people in northern Thailand. In a humorous and enjoyable way, Chuck filled us in on what his job entails as he reaches people for Christ in a foreign land. He also shared with us the amazing and intricate textile products produced by the Akha people. You can help the work of Chuck and Ruth and the Akha people by purchasing tablecloths, clothing, toys, purses, cards and more from the online store at www.akhahilltribe.org.
October 17, 2008 - Executive Minister's Report
Rev. Dr. Larry Swain addressed the delegates in the ballroom. He reported on the progress of renewal in ABC-Ohio through the Rise Up and Build Campaign. He brought us up to date on the work of "Design for Ministry." This included a report on the new logo, new website (of course - you know that because you are on the website right now!) and new communication efforts. Dr. Swain discussed a new opportunity for youth this winter with the Dare2Share Youth Conference on January 30 and 31 (more information coming soon!). He then reported on the activities of our region churches including those who have taken advantage of grants to build new ministries in their communities. Dr. Swain then turned to the future as he brought us up to date on new opportunities in 2009 with our Missions Conference and events throughout the year. Great things are happening! Do we have reason to hope? Dr. Swain says emphatically "we can face the future with hope because this I know: my God shall supply all of our needs!"
October 17, 2008 - Luncheon Report
The Minister's Council presented the ABC-Ohio Ministers & Mates Luncheon in the Pavilion. Ministers and their mates from across the state gathered for a time of fellowship and inspiration. Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Johnson continued the Outflow theme as he compared and contrasted "service" outflow with "servant" outflow activities. He also asked the tough question, "who would care if your church closed tomorrow?" He again emphasized the need to move congregants from seekers to believers and finally to disciples of Christ.
October 17, 2008 - Seminar Report
The morning dawned cold and gray but our hearts were again warmed as we gathered in the Ballroom. Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Johnson took the stage to lead in a session concerning the opportunities we have to reach the world for Christ as seen through the eyes of Jesus. The theme of Outflow permeated his talk as he reminded us that we are to not just make "believers" but "disciples."
October 16, 2008 - Worship Service Report
The evening began with a time of praise featuring the Worship Team from First Baptist Church, Sunbury. We were blessed with special music from Ednita & Gabriel Vaflor of Trinity Baptist in Marion. After an introduction by Minister of Congregational Development Rev. Bob Cassady, our keynote speaker took the stage. Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Johnson is the National Director of Evangelism for ABC-USA through National Ministries. In a humorous and inspiring way, Rev. Johnson helped us to see the difference between "missional" and "maintenance" churches. By the way, a DVD of all of Rev. Johnson's messages throughout the Gathering will be available for purchase for only $25 - watch this site for more information!
October 16, 2008 - Dinner Report
We returned to the Pavilion to enjoy a wonderful dinner. The Rise Up and Build Banquet featured reports from two Rise Up and Build churches and what the campaign has done in the lives of those churches.
October 16, 2008 - Afternoon Report
The Plenary Session opened Thursday afternoon's activities in the Ballroom. ABC-Ohio Region President-elect Rev. Patty Bilyeu of Marietta opened the session with a devotion. Following that, we heard exciting reports from the Ministry Teams of the Board of Regional Ministries. This was highlighted by an interview with two graduates of the Lay Ministry Academy. The afternoon session continued as outgoing ABC-Ohio Region President Rev. Tim Mohon of Grand Prairie Baptist Church presented an inspiring presidential address. The session closed with the Past-President's pin presented to Rev. Mohon by Executive Minister, Dr. Larry Swain.
October 16, 2008 - Luncheon Report
The air turned colder outside but hearts grew warmer inside as we gathered to register for the Annual Gathering. We renewed old friendships and struck up new ones at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Columbus. Various luncheons took place throughout the hotel. The American Baptist Women of Ohio gathered in the Pavilion to hear missionary Chuck Fox report on his work. The Ohio Baptist Education Society (OBES) members were blessed to hear from Ruby Radford of Third Baptist in Toledo as she expressed her thanks for the scholarship support she has received through the OBES. The American Baptist Men's Banquet had the opportunity to hear from Pastor Marvin Haught of Brandon Baptist who shared about American Baptist Men's disaster relief efforts.
October 15, 2008
The 183rd Annual Gathering kicked off on October 15 with a special clergy "Pre-Gathering" service hosted by Sawmill Baptist Church in Powell. The service was preceded by a fellowship dinner served by the wonderful folks at Sawmill Baptist. After enjoying the fellowship and food, we moved to the sanctuary where we heard an inspiring message by keynote speaker Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Johnson. His message focused on evangelism with a look at Andrew's interactions with Jesus. We learned what it meant to move from being simply a seeker - to a follower and then ultimately into a disciple of Christ.