When the New Baptist Covenant gathering took place in Atlanta last year, I was unable to attend because of its close proximity in time to two trips to Guatemala I was making. I regretted not being able to attend because the focus on worshipping together with other Baptists of diverse backgrounds and giving attention to the words of Jesus concerning ministry to "the least of these" was very appealing. This year, a number of regional follow-up events to that gathering are being held across the U.S. Here in the Midwest, the gathering is being called the Baptist Border Crossing--making reference to the fact that Baptists from several different states, as well as many different conventions will be coming together for worship and celebration as well as numerous breakout sessions.
The Baptist General Convention of Missouri is one of the groups that has been instrumental in organizing this event. We had already lined up Tony Campolo and former President Jimmy Carter to speak out at our annual convention meeting, and when the idea for a larger gathering of Baptists surfaced, the BGCM opted to shorten its normal two-day convention meeting to just one afternoon session on April 2nd in order to free folks to participate in the broader Border Crossing event. Having had the privilege of hearing Tony Campolo previously, including a week-long series in Buenos Aires at the seminary's annual conferences, as well as hosting him for breakfast in our home, I'm excited about the chance to be challenged by him again. There's a lot of truth in the old adage that good preaching comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable. Dr. Campolo's preaching majors on the latter as he calls us to not settle for less than a radical commitment to following the commands of Christ.
For those interested in obtaining more information about the Baptist Border Crossing event that will be held April 2-4 at the Pleasant Valley Baptist Church in Liberty, MO, this website has further details. If you live in or near the Midwest, I hope you'll make plans to attend this historic gathering of a broad cross-section of Baptists from the heartland region.