Nineteen church leaders attended LeaderBreakthru/AZSBC Coaching Skills Training at the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention office April 19-20. Thirteen more received advanced training May 24-25 that began a six-month supervised process leading them to become LeaderBreakthru certified life coaches.
The two trainings were lead by Keith Henry. AZSBC church life facilitator and certified coach, and Terry Walling, president of LeaderBreakthru mininstries.
Sixteen students at the Arizona Campus of Gateway Seminary graduated May 27 in commencement ceremonies led by Dallas Bivins, director of the Arizona Campus.
Jeff Iorg, president of Gateway, delivered the commencement address at the formal ceremony held at First Southern Baptist Church in Scottsdale.
Appointment of a task force to study how Southern Baptists can be more effective in evangelism and a resolution decrying “alt-right white supremacy” were among highlights of the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting June 13-14 in Phoenix.
The annual meeting drew 5,018 registered messengers, down from 7,321 last year in St. Louis but 164 more than 2011 when the convention last met in Phoenix. When registered guests, exhibitors and others were included, the count rose to 9,318.
As expected, Arizona Southern Baptist churches turned out for their host-meeting; their 374-messenger total was the second largest of the state delegations. Texas was the highest at 474 messengers.
When the Southern Baptist Convention family came to Phoenix in early June, Arizona Southern Baptists were program participants at the annual meeting, as well as at related meetings.
Below, we chronicle some of the action with news briefs and photos.
SBC Annual Meeting
In the opening session, Noe Garcia, senior pastor of North Phoenix Baptist Church, Phoenix, formally welcomed messengers and guests to Phoenix.
He recalled statistics about Phoenix that he read on the North American Mission Board website when he first began talking with North Phoenix about becoming pastor. Only an estimated 12 percent of Arizonans are evangelical, he said, and Phoenix ranks 89th out of 96 as one of the least Bible-minded cities in the U.S.
“You can read these stats and really get discouraged … but as you and I both know, we serve a King of Kings who can take any valley of dead bones and breath life into it,” he said.
“We covet your prayers for the city,” he said. “God has brought incredible church planters here, incredible young pastors.”
About 38,000 people gathered at the University of Phoenix Stadium Sunday night, June 11, for Harvest America, featuring top Christian music artists and preaching by Greg Laurie, senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship. An additional 246,647 tuned in live through the webcast, the 3,700 simulcast host sites and on Facebook Live.
At the end of the evening, 2,904 people walked down to the stadium floor to indicate their decision to follow Jesus Christ, and 4,324 more registered their commitment online or at host locations nationwide. Others made professions of faith during Crossover Arizona prior to the Sunday night event.
Arizona Southern Baptist Disaster Relief was at the ready for the Southern Baptist Convention held in Phoenix June 11-14. But rather than serve on site during the gathering, volunteers actually served other disaster relief crews from New Mexico and Utah/Idaho staying at First Chinese Baptist Church in Phoenix.
The New Mexico Disaster Relief crew provided childcare for children of SBC messengers in attendance.
Pastor Jamal Bishara and First Arabic Baptist Church, Phoenix, welcomed 20 members of the Southern Baptist Messianic Fellowship for a Sunday worship service and Arabic hospitality with about 50 of his congregation and their friends on Sunday, June 11.
The Fellowship is comprised largely of Messianic Jews — Jews who follow Jesus as Messiah.
Mary Jo Courtnay and Aaron Petre spent June 12-14 at the Phoenix Convention Center moving from meeting to message to praise. It was a lot to absorb for first-time messengers to the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention.
“I expected the annual meeting to be all about SBC business,” said Courtnay. “I was surprised by the worship and preaching.”
Attending the convention was an educational experience for Courtnay. “I understand more about the Southern Baptist Convention now, particularly the overall process and how resolutions are developed,” said Courtnay.
The Arizona Korean Baptist Association is praising God for His provision during the annual meeting of The Council of Korean Southern Baptist Churches in America (CKSBCA). The annual meeting took place in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, June 13-14 in Phoenix.
“The Council of Korean Southern Baptist Churches in America tries to meet at the same time and place as the SBC annual convention, because we belong to the SBC and are a partner of the SBC,” said Pastor Brian Chun Kuk Oh, senior pastor of Arizona New Light Baptist Church in Phoenix. When the annual SBC meeting was held in Phoenix in 2011, the CKSBCA held their meetings in Texas, due to logistical concerns regarding transportation, meals and worship planning.
More than 200 men gathered at Young Life’s Lost Canyon, a retreat center outside of Williams, for the Metamorphosis Men’s Retreat, May 5-7. From Friday afternoon until Sunday morning, they smelled the pine trees, enjoyed the cool air and were biblically challenged to grow in their faith.
Friday night’s speaker was Pastor Jackie Allen of Palm Vista Baptist Church, Surprise, and current president of the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention. Allen preached a solid evangelism and discipleship message that resulted in several salvation decisions.