Baptist Press

PHOENIX — As this year’s Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting approaches, SBC President and Tennessee pastor Steve Gaines says fellow Baptists should anticipate emphases on prayer, evangelism, and financial stewardship at the June 13-14 gathering in Phoenix, where the 2003 and 2011 annual meetings also were held.

This year’s annual meeting theme is “Pray! For such a time as this” based on Luke 18:1 and Esther 4:14. Gaines hopes that through a commitment “to fervent, frequent, faith-filled prayer,” the SBC will become “a catalyst for spiritual awakening and revival.

“I believe Southern Baptists can be used of God to spark a mighty movement of prayer, evangelism, and discipleship across our nation and around the world,” said Gaines, pastor of Memphis-area Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova. “If we will pray and abandon ourselves to the Lord, He will use us exponentially to take the gospel to people.”

Southern Baptists will gather at the Phoenix Convention Center for their third annual meeting in Arizona’s capital city.

In addition to several seasons of prayer, Gaines said, annual meeting highlights will include a personal evangelism emphasis Tuesday evening (June 13) led by California pastor and evangelist Greg Laurie and a Wednesday afternoon (June 14) panel discussion on financial stewardship.

Regarding stewardship, Gaines said Southern Baptist churches cannot give more to SBC missions and ministries than church members give through their local congregations.

“The solution for increased funding for world missions begins in the heart of every individual believer in Christ,” Gaines said. “Southern Baptists need to get our financial houses in order.”

Steve Gaines

The annual meeting will be preceded by Crossover evangelism efforts in Phoenix and will include a June 11 Harvest Crusade led by Laurie. Crusade organizers will work with volunteers to help local churches conduct door-to-door visitation across the city, engaging residents in gospel conversations and extending personal invitations to attend the Sunday night event.

Event coordinators with the North American Mission Board and Arizona Southern Baptist Convention are praying the crusade and other outreach efforts, which will lead up to the SBC annual meeting, will result in more than 5,000 people making decisions for Christ.

For information about volunteering at the Sunday crusade, visit For information about outreach opportunities on Friday and Saturday, visit For more information about Crossover and how you and your church can be involved, visit

Messengers gathering in Phoenix will consider a variety of recommendations during the annual meeting. See related stories that detail those approved by the SBC Executive Committee during its Sept. 19-20 meeting and its Feb. 20-21 meeting. Among the proposals:

  • A recommendation that SBC Bylaw 18 be amended to grant one Executive Committee representative each to the Dakotas, Iowa, Minnesota-Wisconsin, and Montana even though they currently have too few church members to apply for EC representation under the provisions of SBC Bylaw 30.
  • A recommendation that the International Mission Board be permitted to adopt a fiscal year of Oct. 1-Sept. 30 and that the convention amend the SBC Business and Financial Plan to reflect the change.
  • A recommendation that the convention approve a 2017-2018 Cooperative Program Allocation Budget of $192,000,000. The budget would maintain current CP allocations to all convention ministries. However, the formula for distributing any overage of gifts above the CP Allocation Budget would be amended to increase the IMB’s portion from 51 percent to 53.4 percent and decrease the SBC Operating Budget portion from 2.4 percent to 0 percent.

Annual meeting attendees once again can stay updated by using the “SBC Annual Meetings” mobile application. The app will include a listing of speakers for the SBC Pastors Conference and SBC annual meeting as well as the daily program schedule, daily events, exhibitor listing, convention center maps, 2017 Book of Reports, and more. Download the app on your mobile device by accessing the App Store, Google Play, or by visiting

Other highlights

  • This year’s June 11-12 SBC Pastors Conference in Phoenix, with the theme “above every name,” is centered on 12 pastors of average-sized Southern Baptist churches preaching through the biblical book of Philippians. Pastors Conference President Dave Miller said the speaker selection process — which considered only pastors of churches with approximately 500 or fewer in average attendance — appeared to illustrate how many outstanding pastors lead average-sized churches.
  • The SBC annual meeting will feature a “Sending Celebration” as the International Mission Board celebrates missionaries, along with their church families. The Sending Celebration is scheduled for Tuesday, June 13, at 8:30 p.m. in the Phoenix Convention Center.
  • On Monday, June 12, the IMB will host a dinner prior to the final session of the Pastors Conference. The dinner will occur in the Phoenix Convention Center, Room West 301A/B/C, and tickets can be picked up at the IMB booth.
  • The North American Mission Board will report opportunities for churches to engage locally and throughout North America in compassion ministries as well as church planting efforts. NAMB will highlight these opportunities at its Send Luncheon for pastors, Monday, June 12, at noon and as part of its presentation at the annual meeting Tuesday afternoon, June 13. Pastors and others can become involved in North American missions by visiting NAMB’s exhibit. “Send Hope” will be the theme for the Send Luncheon. Evangelist and pastor Greg Laurie will be featured at the event, which will take place in the Phoenix Convention Center, Level 300, Room West 301A/B/C. Attendees must register for a free ticket in advance at


Register online at under the Messengers/Guests tab. NOTE: messengers, exhibitors, and guests need to be registered and properly badged for entrance into the general sessions June 13-14.

After completing online registration, each individual will receive an eight-digit registration code to present at the annual meeting’s express registration lane. There, the registration code can be entered into a computer and a nametag will be printed.


Messengers planning to propose resolutions must submit them no later than 15 days prior to the annual meeting. Detailed guidelines on submitting resolutions are available at under the Messengers/Guests tab. Resolutions may be submitted online but must be followed up by a letter of credentials from the submitter’s church.