Mission Summit/Biennial FAQ
Q1. What is a Mission Summit/Biennial?
The Mission Summit/Biennial is the American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA) national gathering held every two years in a different part of the country (for example, San Juan, PR in 2011, Overland Park, KS in 2013). The ABCUSA Mission Summit/Biennial has three main purposes.
The first purpose is the “Mission Summit” which is a unique opportunity to come together, share ideas, and learn from one another what is working in the growth and vitality of our churches today. American Baptists can take away new information to their home churches, and try new tactics to be successful as churches within their community.
Second, the Mission Summit/Biennial is a time of celebration. We gather to celebrate God’s work among us as an ABCUSA family, and this time together serves as a reunion where brothers and sisters in the faith reconnect, worship and learn together. These moments of celebration take place at the worship sessions, Mission Summit Experiences, in the hallways, and at the pre- and post-Biennial events of various ABCUSA affiliated groups and organizations.
We also need to do the necessary business of our denomination which is the third purpose for gathering together. We elect the denomination’s officers (President, Vice President, Budget Review Officer) for the coming Biennium.
Q2. Who are the Mission Summit/Biennial Delegates?
Delegates to the Mission Summit/Biennial are members in good standing of cooperating congregations of American Baptist Churches USA. Each church selects and sends Delegates for the purpose of electing the officers for the coming biennium and for voting on any other official business. The number of Delegates from any one church is dictated by a formula based on membership and financial support of ABCUSA.Churches and attendees can contact their regional offices, to learn how many delegates their church can send.
Q3. Can you tell me more about the "Mission Summit Conversation" part of the event?
A Mission Summit Conversation is an open opportunity for anyone attending the Mission Summit/Biennial to engage in meaningful dialogue about a topic of interest by self-selecting into a small group. The Mission Summit Conversations are the heart of the Mission Summit. Three rounds of Mission Summit Conversations will be held.
Following the second round of Mission Summit Conversations, a representative from each Mission Summit Conversation group will be invited to report out during an open plenary session either verbally or electronically or both, depending upon how many groups form.
Click here to view the Mission Summit Conversations FAQ
Click here to view a list of Sample Topics
Q4. Why should I attend?
Mission Summit/Biennial attendees are able to participate in powerful times of learning, worship, small group explorations of topics of particular interest, a sharing of ministry opportunities through the Exhibit Hall, and much more. Everyone is welcome to register and attend an ABCUSA Mission Summit/Biennial. Only Delegates from our churches may vote on any business items.
Q5. What is the Exhibit Area?
The Exhibit Area in Overland Park will be a high-traffic area where delegates can learn about a number of groups related to ABCUSA programs, organizations and institutions, as well as vendors from the local area of the Mission Summit/Biennial. This area will provide space for formal and informal gatherings and networking and for attendees to obtain helpful resources to enhance congregational ministry.
Q6. Is there provision for hearing impaired people at the Biennial?
Yes, there will be a section near the front of the auditorium for hearing impaired people to sit, and an ASL interpreter will be in front of that section signing during all Worship Services.
Q7. Will there be offerings received during the worship sessions?
Yes, worship sessions give us opportunities to support various ministries of American Baptist life.
The recipient of each offering will be announced before the offering is received.
Q8. What meals can I attend?
All meals are ticketed events. Only a few meals are by invitation only, and these are identified in Biennial publications. Meal tickets will be available for purchase with registration. A limited number of additional tickets MIGHT be available during the Mission Summit at the Meal Event Ticket Counter. It is best to purchase your meal tickets before arriving at Overland Park. Attendees will also be able to purchase light meals, sandwiches, coffee, tea and water at concession stands in the Exhibit Hall.
Q9. Who plans the Mission Summit/Biennial?
The Mission Summit/Biennial Planning Team (MSBPT) is a group of American Baptists, both clergy and lay, from around the nation who are appointed by the ABCUSA President to plan the event. They are assisted by the Local Arrangements Committee (LAC), composed of people from the host region, who take responsibility for details such as child care, local transportation, etc. The Staff Advisory Group (SAG) is made up of representatives from all four ABCUSA program boards. It also assists the Mission Summit Biennial Planning Committee by taking the dreams and plans of the MSBPT and making them a reality. Working together, these three groups bring you the Mission Summit/Biennial in its final form.