BWA gets ready to celebrate anniversary

By May 12, 2004

England (MNN/BWA) — Rick Warren, pastor of the Saddleback Baptist Church in Lake Forest, California, and best selling author of “The Purpose-Driven Life” and the “Purpose-Driven Church” and former U-S President Jimmy Carter will headline the 100th birthday celebration of the Baptist World Alliance , at the Baptist World Centenary Congress in Birmingham, England, July 27-31, 2005.

The global aspect of the meeting is the key to Warren who says the 40 days of purpose program has been used in over 20,000 churches in North America and is exploding in many other countries such as the Philippines where 1,500 churches are studying the concepts, and literally thousands in Spanish in South America. Especially significant is the fact that 600 churches in the United Kingdom are already involved in this program, and thousands of Baptists in England are expected to attend to hear
Warren.

Former President Carter will teach an international Sunday school class on Sunday morning at the meeting. Carter, Nobel Peace Prize winner and the first recipient of the BWA Human Rights Award, is expected to challenge Christians everywhere in the work for the poor and for justice.

BWA President Billy Kim will also address the gathering. Known around the world as an evangelist, Kim’s speech will come as he concludes a five-year term as president of the BWA.

Other speakers include Solomon Ishola, head of the Nigerian Baptist Convention, the largest Baptist group in Africa and one of the newest leaders in Baptist life in Africa.

All of the preachers will address different aspects of the theme “Jesus Christ Living Water.”

The Congress will feature a pastors’ stream and Bible studies that will deal with themes of salvation, baptism, the Holy Spirit, compassion, service and cleansing. There will be focus groups on challenges and changes in today’s world that also speak to the theme. All of this will be connected by worship that will feature gathering and praising,
discovering and exploring, responding and committing, sending and acting. The Congress, held every five years is expected to attract more than 15,000 people from around the world. “It will be one of the greatest Congresses in history,” says BWA President Billy Kim.

BWA General Secretary Denton Lotz emphasized, “This BWA Centennial is an
opportunity for all Baptists to gain inspiration from the past and renew our commitment to reaching the world for Christ in the new century. God has blessed us for 100 years, but we must seek the new path for Baptists to be effective witness in the 21st Century. I believe the Congress will provide us this challenge.”

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