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June-July 2021

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Walking in Memphis

85th National Convention | Memphis, TN | July 18-21, 2021


2021 Convention Program

2021 Digest of Reports


Renasant Convention Center (RCC) will serve as the location for all major convention events and activities. Further information regarding events will be posted at as details become available.

The 85th National Convention will be held July 18-21 in Memphis, Tennessee. As the denomination reunites after a difficult pandemic year, Free Will Baptists anticipate a celebratory atmosphere. Keynote speakers Danny Conn (TN), Melvin Moon (MO), Christian Powell (NC), Keith Burden (OK), Eddie Moody (TN), and John Weaver (OK) will explore the theme “Overcome” from various Scripture passages, challenging attendees to sow seed in difficult times (Matthew 13:1-23), follow the Good Shepherd (Matthew 18:10-14), work together (Matthew 18:15-35), be good stewards (Matthew 25:14-30), and reach out to everyone (Luke 14:15-24).

In addition, seminars, workshops, and panel discussions will explore other important subjects relating to families, churches, and ministry.

Convention Director Ryan Lewis expresses his excitement about the meeting: “While things are sure to look different in Memphis, Free Will Baptists once again have an opportunity to gather and fellowship in person—something I think we may have taken for granted until it was gone.”

During Tuesday and Wednesday business sessions, delegates are expected to approve denominational budgets of nearly $30 million. Moderator Tim York will guide delegates through the election of board members, general officers, and commission appointees. In addition, national agencies and commissions will submit annual reports.

Attendees are also encouraged to take part in IMPACT Memphis, a one-day evangelistic campaign of service and outreach. This year, Saturday, July 17, volunteers will participate in door-to-door outreach at Faith FWB Church, in Oakland, Tennessee, or take part in outreach and work activities at Cross Creek Church, in nearby Olive Branch, Mississippi. For details about Impact, or to register, visit


Vertical Three

While denominational business is conducted, the 53rd Vertical Three Conference will explore the theme “Resolved” based on Daniel 1:8, challenging young people to stand for the Lord in the face of an increasingly hostile culture.

Between CTS Expo events, seminars, and worship services, student attendees are sure to grow as their faith is challenged at the conference. On Tuesday evening, Vertical Three will host Jonnie W, joke-teller and music-maker, who brings a unique blend of music and comedy to the conference. Learn more:


Convention Music

Due to continuing COVID-19 restrictions in Memphis, the 2021 Convention Choir, guided by the Music Commission, will add voices to each evening service virtually. Learn more:



Walking in Memphis

Memphis is not the same city Free Will Baptists visited in 2012. Downtown has been revitalized, with improved parks, walking and running trails, and the beautiful new Renasant Convention Center. The National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Hotel (where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assasinated) offers a powerful and thought-provoking look into the history of the Civil Rights movement (to reserve a tour, visit

With the pandemic still in mind, Memphis offers many beautiful outdoor spaces to experience. Enjoy great views of downtown and the Mighty Mississippi on the Sky Bridge to Mud Island River Park. Once on the island, wander the gardens or walk beside the busy river:

According to, the Memphis Zoo is king of the jungle in the U.S. Get close to a grizzly, play in a geyser, visit a petting zoo, or hop the tram for an unforgettable view of other exotic animals. Open seven days a week, the zoo costs $21 for adults and $16 for children (weekdays). Tennessee residents enjoy free admission Tuesdays from 2:00 p.m. until closing. provides more details.

The Memphis Botanic Garden welcomes everybody, including little bodies. Adult admission is $10, $5 for children, and free for kids under two:

If you still have energy, enjoy horseback riding, hiking, or paddleboating at Shelby Farms Park or run, walk, or ride the seven-mile trail from the farm to the heart of midtown:

Need to beat the Memphis summer heat and humidity? Your kids will enjoy a frolic in the fountains at Civic Center Plaza, located on Main Street, between Poplar and Adams.

Every night, enjoy the LED light show on de Soto Bridge from sundown until 10 p.m., at the top of each hour. (The Harahan Bridge lights up, too.) Places to watch the Mighty Lights include riverfront parks (Tom Lee, River Garden, or Martyr’s Park); Bluffwalk pathway; and Fourth Bluff at Memphis Park, located on Front Street between Court and Jefferson. Greenbelt Park on Mud Island also has space for parking and watching the show.

Still need more options to make the most of Memphis? Visit to learn more about the sights, sounds, flavors, and attractions of Memphis. We’ll see you in July!


©2021 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists