Baptist World Alliance, BWA News Release

Church life, spirituality, mission and justice to highlight Baptist congress

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The 21st Baptist World Congress in Durban, South Africa, will include the discussion of theological, ecclesial, missional and justice concerns that affect the lives of Baptist Christians.

The congress, normally held every five years, will be held from July 22-26. The July 2015 event will be the first in Africa.

Information on the congress is available on the BWA website at www.bwanet.org/congress.

Among ecclesial concerns are: How to lead congregations and communities toward new opportunities for ministry; how to balance commitments to ministering to church members and reaching communities; the ways in which context informs and shapes worship; the integration of immigrant populations in the life of the local church and the Baptist convention or union; and how the church may promote fellowship and unity in the midst of political, ethnic, religious and other forms of conflicts.

The increasing role of technology in the lives of individuals and the church will also be discussed, particularly, understanding the pros and cons of social media within the Christian community and the use of technology in the transmission of eternal truth.

Because mission is at the heart of Baptist life, it will receive special focus. Much of the attention will be on evangelism, such as cultivating the passion for mission and mission involvement by reflecting on the place and role of the Holy Spirit in evangelism. Evangelism outreach to various groups, such as men, youth and the “nones,” those who self-identify as having no religion, will be of keen interest.

There will be reflections on the increasing trend of mission from Global South countries to countries in the north, as well as ways to foster genuine partnership and collaboration in mission.

The biblical foundations of justice advocacy and peacemaking will be explored as well as ways in which justice advocacy, conflict transformation and reconciliation are related to the Christian faith.

Various approaches to peacemaking and their effectiveness will be considered. Discussions will examine ways to effectively engage society and political systems. There will be deliberations on ways in which gender discrimination may be challenged. The political implications of environmental crises will be looked at. Participants will hear from persons who are experiencing human rights abuses.

Those attending the congress will have an opportunity to draw on lessons learned from South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission that was established by President Nelson Mandela after the transition from apartheid to majority rule in the country.

Presenters and facilitators are from a wide variety of countries and territories, such as the United States, Jamaica, Bahamas, United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden, Finland Norway, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Brazil, Chile, Australia, South Africa, West Papua, Hong Kong and elsewhere.