1,700 Christians Attend Asian Baptist Congress

The recent Asian Baptist Federation 7th Congress in Thailand drew in some 1,700 attendants, making it one of the largest ABF congresses ever held.

With the theme "Asia Jesus Cares!" the ABF Congress that concluded this past week focused on God's concern for the continent despite the number of recent disasters and the persecution of Christians in countries dominated by Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism.

The congress, which met from 2 to 6 May in Chiang Mai, Thailand, composed its own theme song with lyrics about the tsunami, earthquake and other problems recently faced by those living in Asia and repeatedly sang that "Jesus Cares".

At the opening night, ABF president Jason Das of Bangladesh was the keynote speaker. He started out by saying, "I'm not a leader, but a worker," before urging attendees "not only to preach, but also to reach" by both declaring and demonstrating the good news and love of Jesus Christ.

Workshops at the congress included: "Peace Initiatives in our Plural World," "Multicultural Ministry and Evangelism," and "Prayer in Today's Busy World." Also some sessions focused on music and arts in worship, Christian writing, ministry to the elderly, and meetings for women, youth, theological educators and pastors.

Other keynote speakers at the event included Baptist World Alliance president David Coffey, John Kok, senior pastor of Kuala Lumpur Baptist Church in Malaysia and a BWA general council member, and Takashi Matsumi from Japan, a professor of practical theology in the theology department at Seinan-gakuin University.

Prior to the congress were two pre-conferences, the Living Water Conference by the BWA/Asian Baptist Federation and the Baptist World Aid/ABF Development Conference in Chiang Mai.

Living Water is a series of international evangelism and leadership training seminars sponsored by the BWA with prior meetings held in Russia, Brazil and Kenya.

The BWA-sponsored Living Water Evangelism Conference and the BWAid-led Development Conference ran from 30 April to 2 May and focused on evangelism, leadership training, relief and development, poverty reduction, and HIV and Aids.