In 1960, Bob Bingham joined the staff of Wieuca Road Baptist Church in Atlanta as Minister of Education. That same year he initiated a series of quarterly meetings with other M.E.’s in Georgia. This was the beginning of what became in 1963, the Georgia Baptist Religious Education Association.
From earliest days the stated purpose of G.B.R.E.A. was “to promote sound religious education practices…provide opportunity to discuss interests and problems common to all…bring together workers in this field for fellowship.” The terminology has been updated but our purpose remains consistent with those first concepts.
As far back as 1966, we know that a meeting was held at Callaway Gardens. For the majority of years, Callaway was the location of choice for the annual January meeting. There were times when the meeting was moved to other areas in the state, such as Savannah, Mercer University in Macon, Lake Lanier Islands, and St. Simons Island. These were usually attempts to boost attendance. However, the location, amenities, and attractions in and around Callaway always brought us back there until the cost became prohibitive for many. Since 2009, the annual meeting has been held in local churches.
- 2009 FBC Centerville, Roger Henderson, President; Josh Hunt, Keynote Speaker
- 2010 Briarlake, Decatur, Neal Cordle, President; Jason Hayes, Keynote Speaker
- 2011 Central, Warner Robins, Mike Taylor, President; Bruce Raley, Keynote Speaker
- 2012 Johnson Ferry, Marietta, John Walker, President; Allan Taylor, Keynote Speaker
- 2013 Mabel White, Macon, Ray Gentry, President; Randy Stinson/Timothy Paul Jones, Keynote Speakers
- 2014 First Baptist Church, Jonesboro, Richard Brown, President; Josh Hunt, Keynote speaker
- 2015 Lizella Baptist Church, Macon, Matthew Isennock, President; Dr. Alvin Reid, Keynote speaker
- 2016 Flat Creek Baptist Church, Fayetteville, Matthew Gibbs, President; Dr. Thom Rainer, Keynote Speaker
- 2017 Mabel White Baptist Church, Macon, Bill Gambrell, President; Eric Geiger and Ken Adams, Keynote Speakers
In January, 2012, GBREA voted to became GBACE, the Georgia Baptist Association of Christian Educators, opening the group to a wider base of participation to include members from a variety of vocational capacities in Christian education and discipleship.
Nothing boosts attendance like a good program, and there have been many. Pastors, seminary professors, denominational leaders, as well as nationally known conference leaders and consultants have taught, challenged, and inspired our members. And there has never been a shortage of fellowship.
The real strength of our organization has been the bond of Christian friendships begun or enhanced as a result of participation in the organization. We have a 50-year history because God-called men and women have cared about the present and future of the people they serve. May it ever be so.
Recently, GBACE has moved to become Georgia Baptist Disciple-Makers Network. The rebrand and renaming of our organization is intended to express the true essence of our organization. Often our organization has been confused with Christian School, Home School and Christian Teacher organizations. In an effort to clarify the purpose and nature of our organization, we have emphasized that which unifies us, the desire and command to make disciples of Jesus Christ.