I’ve just come from the Baptist World Alliance gathering held once every five years. It was arguably the best Baptist meeting I have attended in recent years (and I attend a bunch of them)! This one just happened to take place in Hawaii and attendees represented about 100 nations around the world. To say it was a global meeting would be to make a vast understatement. The Hawaii Convention Center shimmered with diversity even though we were all Baptists! During the five days of the meeting I spent time with Baptist friends from Uganda, Zimbabwe, Japan, China, Liberia, Ghana, Lebanon, and a host of other places. We deepened our friendships, networked around projects, shared successes and failures, worshipped together and celebrated our Baptist past, present and future.
In the midst of the meeting, it struck me that this gathering of Baptists every five years is truly a “don’t miss it” sort of gathering. The BWA is the Baptist marketplace, the central hub where we gather to learn from each other, to understand each other, and to share in ministry and mission together. It is a blessing for laity and clergy alike! I’d even go as far as to encourage pastors and missions ministers from CBF churches to attend the annual meetings (BWA leaders gather annually as well) where international church-to-church partnerships and other kinds of collaboration with global Baptists can happen.
I’ll close with a simple “Aloha” to my good Baptist friends around the world. It was good to spend time with you in a beautiful part of the world. Thanks for coming!
For more information on the Baptist World Alliance, go to bwanet.org.