More than 1,000 leaders from SBC churches in the Midwest are registered for a leadership gathering in Illinois next week. The Midwest Leadership Summit convenes in Springfield January 18-20, bringing together representatives from twelve states and nine Baptist state conventions.
“Southern Baptist churches in the north have unique challenges and opportunities,” said Nate Adams, Executive Director of the Illinois Baptist State Association and one of the organizers of the event. “And the Midwest Leadership Summit is a unique opportunity to network with other pastors and leaders, and to hear about ministry approaches that are effective in this Midwest context.”
The Summit is a partnership between the state conventions, the North American Mission Board, Woman’s Missionary Union, and Guidestone Financial Resources. Leaders will gather for three plenary sessions, and they may choose six breakout sessions, from a list of 70 options featuring experts and practitioners in church leadership, evangelism, missions, and church planting.
Plenary speakers include Ben Mandrell, President of Lifeway Christian Resources; Willie McLaurin, SBC Executive Committee Vice President for Great Commission Relations and Mobilization; Shane Pruitt, National Next Gen Director for the North American Mission Board; and Sandy Wisdom-Martin, Executive Director-Treasurer of national WMU. Jeremy Westbrook, Executive Director of the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio, will serve as emcee of the large group sessions.
Begun as the North Central States Rally on a triennial basis, the Summit now meets every two years. The state convention partners are Dakota Baptist Convention, Illinois Baptist State Association, State Convention of Baptists in Indiana, Baptist Convention of Iowa, Kansas-Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists, Baptist State Convention of Michigan, Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention, Missouri Baptist Convention, and the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio.
“We continually hear both participants and national ministry partners describe the Midwest Leadership Summit as the most helpful and practical church leadership training event they attend,” Adams said. “And this has consistently been the case for the past 16 years that I’ve been participating in the event.”
As a regional equipping event focusing on a multi-state region, the Midwest event is unique in Southern Baptist life. It is funded by the national partners and state associations. “We are grateful for the national SBC partners who join with our nine Baptist State Conventions to make this three-day event possible for more than a thousand pastors and leaders,” Adams said.
Participants were invited by local associations in November. Registration closed in December. The Summit has met in several Midwest states across the years, and in Springfield, Illinois for the four recent gatherings.
–Eric Reed, editor, Illinois Baptist media