The Baptist World Alliance announced the main speakers to its historical Centennial celebration, slated for July 27-31, 2005 in Birmingham, England. Included on the list is Rick Warren, pastor of the Saddleback Baptist Church in Lake Forest, California, and best selling author of The Purpose Driven Life. The former U.S. President Jimmy Carter will also speak at the assembly, which has been dubbed the Baptist World Centenary Congress.
Said Warren: My Saddleback pastors will be happy to serve in any capacity and especially in the areas of worship, discipleship, fellowship, ministry and evangelism mission."
The former president Carter - Nobel Peace Prize winner and the first recipient of the BWA Human Rights Award, will teach an international Sunday school class on Sunday morning at the meeting.
BWA President Billy Kim will also speak at the meeting; the address will mark one of his last as the president of the BWA.
Other speakers include Solomon Ishola, head of the Nigerian Baptist Convention, the largest Baptist group in Africa and one of the newest leaders in Baptist life in Africa; Myra Blyth, recently a deputy general secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain; Fausto Vasconcelos, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and president of the Union of Baptists in Latin America; and Tony Campolo, evangelical activist from England.
All of the preachers will follow the theme Jesus Christ Living Water.
The BWA General Secretary Denton Lotz said, "This BWA Centennial is an opportunity for all Baptists to gain inspiration from the past and renew our commitment to reaching the world for Christ in the new century. God has blessed us for 100 years, but we must seek the new path for Baptists to be effective witness in the 21st Century. I believe the Congress will provide us this challenge."
Kim agreed, saying, "It will be one of the greatest Congresses in history.
15,000 international attendees are expected at the Congress.
For more information, or to register to attend, please visit: www.bwanet.org.