After a year limited by Covid restrictions, an abbreviated business gathering, and no Pastors Conference in 2020, the IBSA Annual Meeting returns with hopes for a grand turnout and celebration of God’s work in Illinois. Special events are planned for 14 affinity groups and ministry interests, plus a Crossover missions projects prior to Annual Meeting time.
“I think all of us as Illinois Baptists are ready to be together again, in person, in worship, and in unity,” said Executive Director Nate Adams. “I hope this year’s Annual Meeting will be the largest and most encouraging in recent memory.”
The three-day slate of worship, business, ministry, missions, and vision casting will kick off with the IBSA Pastors Conference on Tuesday, November 2 at 1 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza in Springfield. Then the IBSA Annual Meeting will follow with sessions at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Wednesday, and another session on Thursday starting at 8:30 a.m.
The Pastors Conference and the Annual Meeting will share the theme “Thrive.”
“Thrive is a central word in IBSA’s new statement of mission: ‘to deliver network value that inspires each church to thrive in health, growth, and mission,’” Adams said. “Churches of all sizes, styles, and locations can thrive, each in their own unique way. Our statewide network of churches exists to deliver value that helps each church to thrive.”
As part of the exhibit hall, church leaders may visit a section where they will meet with staff from IBSA’s Health, Growth, and Mission teams, assessing their churches’ next steps in ministry or revitalization. IBSA’s approach focuses on the processes needed for a church to grow, rather than prescribing one-size-fits-all ministry programs, because in our varied Illinois contexts, one size doesn’t fit all. Or even most.
Lifeway CEO Ben Mandrell, a native of Tampico, Illinois, will be the guest speaker. Pastor Jeremy Byrd of Lincoln Avenue Baptist Church in Jacksonville will preach the convention sermon. IBSA President Heath Tibbetts of First Baptist Church, Machesney Park will preside.
Meet your affinity group
A unique feature of the 2021 meeting is bringing together people with similar interests. This happens informally at meals, receptions, and hallway conversations. But this year, the list of offerings is intentionally expanded.
“Our Baptist family in Illinois has many families of ministry passion, from disaster relief volunteers to women’s ministry leaders to bi-vocational pastors,” Adams said. “Gathering around those special passions and then coming together in worship with a unified passion for God’s Word and our Great Commission task will make this year’s Annual Meeting especially strong.”
Each of the following affinity groups will have dedicated meetings on their work:
• Associational leaders
• Church planters
• Disaster Relief team
• Evangelism coaches
• Hispanic leaders
• Illinois Baptist Women
• Ministers’ Wives
• New IBSA churches
• Second chair leaders
• Small church leaders
• Student ministry leaders
• Young leaders
Plus, IBSA will host a meet-and-greet for people interested in international missions, with IMB missionaries from Spain, Brazil and West Africa.
Affinity groups’ meeting places will be published online and in a special section of the Illinois Baptist next month. Online registration is urged.
Participate in mission projects
The IBSA Mission team will facilitate Crossover missions projects leading up to the Annual Meeting.
On November 1-2, two Springfield churches will partner with Annual Meeting participants to conduct surveys in their neighborhoods, collecting prayer requests and sharing their faith. Illinois Baptist Disaster Relief will partner with a church for a food distribution. And IBSA is in discussion with city leaders about other compassion ministries. Mission Team leader Scott Harris said, “We’re asking people to come one day early and share the gospel in Springfield.”
Pastors Conference: Seven churches, many churches
The Pastors Conference will exposit the Seven Churches in Revelation 1-3. The speakers have been assigned one of the churches, and the text will be handled sequentially in the sessions. “I believe we are at a pivotal point for the church,” said conference president David Seaton, executive pastor of Heights Community Church in Collinsville. Seaton wanted a sharp focus on Scripture, and especially on the church, after a challenging year.
“When we come together as brothers and sisters in Christ from all types of churches from all over Illinois, we make a statement that God is not done with us, Covid did not stop us, and we will thrive as the church even in the face of adversity,” Seaton said.
Featured preacher will be author and pastor Tony Merida of Imago Dei Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. Heights’ worship pastor Jeff Nail will lead worship for the Pastors Conference, while David Higgs of Dorrisville Church is organizing the Illinois “all-stars” praise team to lead in the Annual Meeting.
Ministers Wives: My Cup Overflows
The Ministers Wives will meet Wednesday at the IBSA Building starting at 8:30 a.m. and conclude with lunch. The speaker will be Tzigane Monda, wife of pastor Josh Monda of First Baptist Church of Washington. The theme is “My Cup Overflows” based on Psalm 23:5. Cost is $20, and participants may register online.
Six churches are being considered for affiliation with IBSA. They are
• Friendship Baptist, Caseyville
• First Christian Church, Wayne City
• Auburn Baptist Church, Orland Park
• Living Word Bible Church, Darien
• Chicago Golden Light Chinese Church, Wheeling
• Peaceful Baptist Church, Rolling Meadows
“Even during times of great challenge and stress, many believers, churches, and ministries are thriving,” Adams said. “Our family gathering of Baptist churches will give us opportunities to share stories of perseverance and hope, and look forward together in faith.”
Visit the IBSA Annual Meeting website for more information.