Today in Atlanta four major African-American Baptist conventions are convening: the National Baptist Convention of America, the National Baptist Convention USA, the Progressive National Baptist Convention and the National Missionary Baptist Convention of America. Collectively, these four groups represent some 10 million Baptists, and roughly 10,000 of that total are expected in Atlanta today. The four groups will meet separately for business sessions, but will join together to discuss cooperation in common ministries such as disaster relief, evangelism and social issues.
While Southern Baptist troubles (and statistical declines) of recent decades have received the bulk of news coverage, African-American Baptists continue to grow numerically and in terms of missions and ministry. Last month a single African-American Baptist congregation, Fountain Baptist Church in Summit, N.J., reached a goal of raising $1,000,0000 for Hurricane Katrina relief. Collectively, African-American Baptists have pledged $1,000,0000,0000 for Katrina relief. No other group of Baptists in America can come close to touching that figure.
For the next three days in Atlanta, African-American Baptists will discuss ways they can better meet human needs around the nation and world, in the name of Jesus. Afterwards, thousands of other Baptists from throughout the nation will sit down with thousands of African-America Baptists for the New Baptist Covenant Celebration and talk about ways North American Baptists at large can work together to fulfill the commands of Jesus in ministering to the poor, sick and marginalized.
If you want to see the beginnings of a 21st-century Gospel revival, drop by the World Congress Center in Atlanta this week.