Associational leaders focus on harvest

Baptist Press
Posted: Apr 25, 2014 4:52 PM
BALTIMORE (BP) -- "Ready Churches, Ready Harvest" will be the theme for Southern Baptist associational leaders when they meet June 7-8 in Baltimore in advance of the 2014 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting there.

Southern Baptist Convention President Fred Luter will address the group at a June 6 banquet at 7 p.m. at the Inner Harbor Holiday Inn, with seating limited to 150. Tickets are still available.

Formerly the Southern Baptist Conference of Associational Directors of Missions, the group changed its name to the Southern Baptist Conference of Associational Leaders (SBCAL) and restructured at its 2013 annual meeting in Houston.

Conference team leader Johnny Rumbough, director of missions for the Lexington Baptist Association in South Carolina, said the conference will focus on equipping and encouraging associational leaders to prepare and mobilize their churches to reach the harvest for Christ.

Rick Fisher, vice president of Blackaby Ministries in Greenville, S.C., will preach at the 10:15 a.m. Sunday worship service, and a second Sunday morning service may be added, Rumbough said. Fisher is the author of the 2014 "CROSSing North America" Associational Missions Emphasis sermon series, downloadable at no cost at

In meetings from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Saturday and from 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Sunday, a lineup of leaders from various facets of Southern Baptist life will speak, including Randy Bradley, SBCAL executive team chairman; Aaron Coe, vice president of mobilization for the North American Mission Board; IMB President Tom Elliff; O.S. Hawkins, president of GuideStone Financial Resources; Valerie Rumbough, chief operating officer and executive vice president of the Baptist Foundation of South Carolina; and Ed Stetzer, president of Lifeway Research.

In 20 breakout sessions, topics will include pastor search committee training, increasing associational funding, the association's role in making disciples, the merging of two associations, the Woman's Missionary Union and associational partnerships, associational engagement in NAMB's 32 Send Cities, an overview of affinity groups identified by the International Mission Board, and the worth of groups in associational purpose and survival.

Recording artist and worship leader Jason Rumbough of Raleigh, N.C., will serve as conference worship leader.

SBCAL conference registration of $100, with free admission for spouses, includes admission to all sessions excluding the June 6 banquet, which has a $32.50 admission fee. Tickets and conference registration are available on the group's website,

Diana Chandler is Baptist Press' general assignment writer/ editor. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook ( and in your email (

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