Christian Retailing

Global guests interface at world-focused sessions Print Email
Written by Ginny McCabe   
Thursday, 07 August 2014 03:33 PM America/New_York

CBA honors apologist and author Ravi Zacharias with first-ever International Lifetime Achievement Award

CBA honored author and apologist Ravi Zacharias at the International Welcome dinner Sunday, June 22 with the International Lifetime Achievement Award. This is the first time CBA has presented the award for international ministry.

Guests from around the world gathered at the Hilton Atlanta for the International Christian Retail Show’s International Welcome program. Attendees took part in meetings that focused on networking, ongoing education and encouragement from top industry leaders.

Australian recording artist Peter Furler, former Newsboys frontman and son of missionaries Bill and Rosalie Furler, and The Peter Furler Band opened the morning worship with songs including “I Am Free” and “Blessed Be Your Name.”

Zacharias presented the keynote message as part of the worship session. He challenged those in attendance to “Keep doing what you’re doing,” as he spoke about the importance of staying true to one’s calling and the value of impacting the world for Christ.

“It’s always thought-provoking and good to hear him speak so clearly about the problems of the world at this time, and also since we come from the part of the world where we address these kinds of things on a daily basis,” said B. Paul William, director, Devtech Publishers and Printers from India. “His message is so relevant to many countries and to the U.S. It’s always good to know a person who addresses those issues at a higher level.”RaviZacharias-GaryWilkerson

CBA President Curtis Riskey welcomed international attendees to the luncheon and encouraged them.

“I would like to welcome you here and let you know that we’re listening, we want to hear from you, and we want to help you in any way possible,” Riskey said. “We also will be talking with you at International Marketsquare when it opens on Monday. I want to thank you for doing your part and for fulfilling your calling to all the people around the world.”

Gary Wilkerson, president of World Challenge—an international mission organization founded by his father, David Wilkerson—then spoke to a ballroom full of guests. As a worldwide leader, and lead pastor of The Springs Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Wilkerson presented a message titled, “World to Challenge” and urged guests to go out into the community and into the world.

“Jesus can do anything. There’s nothing that’s impossible to God,” Wilkerson stressed. “The Jesus that helps you serve around the world is the same Jesus that will help you in your own personal life and the situations you face—with your marriage, in your relationships, finances and in your businesses, and with your children.”

Ramon Rocha III, director of publisher development at Media Associates International in Carol Stream, Illinois, presented an afternoon training session. In his role, Rocha oversees training programs and helps publishers become financially viable.

“Challenge [the] status quo and strive for excellence in all you do,” Rocha said during the training session. “Make excellence your habit, it’s not just a single act. Everything we do should be done in a Christ-honoring way.”

“The internationals bring such a global perspective to CBA that we wouldn’t have otherwise,” said CBA Board Chair Sue Smith.

On the show floor, international rights meetings were active.

“From an international perspective, we’ve been really busy,” said Jason McMullen, director of ministry services and publishing director of the Modern English Version Bible.

Jeff Crosby, associate publisher and director of sales and marketing with InterVarsity Press, said he and his colleague in international sales, Diana Verhagen, “had a very full dance card of strategic meetings with customers both in the U.S. and beyond.” —McCabe