Q1. What is a Biennial Mission Summit? Answer: The Biennial Mission Summit is the American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA) national gathering held every two years. The ABCUSA Biennial Mission Summit has three main purposes.
The first purpose is the “Mission Summit,” which is a unique opportunity to come together, share ideas, and learn from one another what is working in the growth and vitality of our churches today. American Baptists can take away new information to their home churches, and try new tactics to be successful as churches within their community.
Second, the Biennial Mission Summit is a time of celebration. We gather to celebrate God’s work among us as an ABCUSA family, and this time together serves as a reunion where brothers and sisters in the faith reconnect, worship and learn together. These moments of celebration take place at the worship sessions, Mission Summit Experiences, in the hallways, and at the pre- and post-Biennial events of various ABCUSA affiliated groups and organizations.
We also need to do the necessary business of our denomination which is the third purpose for gathering together. We elect the denomination’s officers (President, Vice President, Budget Review Officer) for the coming Biennium.
Q2. Who are the Biennial Mission Summit Delegates? Answer: Delegates to the Biennial Mission Summit are members in good standing of cooperating congregations of American Baptist Churches USA. Each church selects and sends Delegates for the purpose of electing the officers for the coming biennium and for voting on any other official business. The number of Delegates from any one church is dictated by a formula based on membership and financial support of ABCUSA. Churches and attendees can contact their regional offices, to learn how many delegates their church can send.
Q3. Can you tell me more about the "Mission Summit Conversation" part of the event? Answer: A Mission Summit Conversation is an open opportunity for anyone attending the Biennial Mission Summit to engage in meaningful dialogue about a topic of interest by self-selecting into a small group. The Mission Summit Conversations are the heart of the Mission Summit. Two rounds of Mission Summit Conversations will be held.
Q4. Why should I attend? Answer: Biennial Mission Summit attendees are able to participate in powerful times of learning, worship, small group explorations of topics of particular interest, a sharing of ministry opportunities through the Hall of Ministries, and much more. Everyone is welcome to register and attend an ABCUSA Biennial Mission Summit. Only Delegates from our churches may vote on any business items.
Q5. What is the Hall of Ministries? Answer: For the Biennial Mission Summit this June in Overland Park, we will be introducing a “Hall of Ministries.” The Hall of Ministries will highlight our different ministries and partners, along with others interested in exhibiting and sharing their organizations with American Baptist Churches USA. The Hall of Ministries set-up will incorporate the theme of the event, “Share the Journey,” and will serve to lead people through the various ministries of ABC along a distinctive path, with signposts directing them along the way.
In a central location of the Hall of Ministries, there will be a Ministry Square, around which exhibitors in the Hall of Ministries will be strategically placed along a path creating a “Journey” through the hall. The Ministry Square will serve as a town hall and meeting area, where Mission Summit 2015 attendees may gather, meet to hold conversations, network and connect with one another amongst tables and seating. The Ministry Square is the perfect meeting place for friends and church members to reconnect with one another! Above all, we want Biennial Mission Summit attendees to be engaged, make valuable connections, and see what organizations are doing—things that can make a difference in their lives.
Q7. Will there be offerings received during the worship sessions? Answer: Yes, worship sessions give us opportunities to support various ministries of American Baptist life. The recipient of each offering will be announced before the offering is received.
Q8. What meals can I attend? Answer: Meal events are ticketed events. Only a few meals are by invitation only, and these are identified in Biennial publications. There will also be a Courtyard Grill and Cash Carts available at the Overland Park Convention Center during lunch and dinner hours. Meal tickets will be available for purchase through registration. A limited number of additional tickets MIGHT be available during the Mission Summit at the Meal Event Ticket Counter. It is best to purchase your meal tickets before arriving at Overland Park.
Q9. Who plans the Biennial Mission Summit? Answer: The Biennial Mission Summit Planning Team (BMSPT) is a group of American Baptists, both clergy and lay, from around the nation who are appointed by the ABCUSA President to plan the event. They are assisted by the Local Arrangements Committee (LAC), composed of people from the host region, who take responsibility for details such as child care, local transportation, etc. The Staff Advisory Group (SAG) is made up of representatives from all four ABCUSA program boards. It also assists the Biennial Mission Summit Planning Committee by taking the dreams and plans of the BMSPT and making them a reality. Working together, these three groups bring you the Biennial Mission Summit in its final form.