|Unite show opener encourages Christian retailers|
|Written by Taylor Berglund|
|Tuesday, 27 June 2017 09:22 PM America/New_York|
CBA kicked off the Unite 2017 convention in Cincinnati with encouragement and inspiration. The Tuesday evening show opener, “Worship Him!”, drew a sparse crowd for the service that featured author Mary DeMuth (Harvest House Publishers) as the main speaker along with artists The Collingsworth Family (StowTown Records/Provident Distribution) and Ricardo Sanchez (Difference Media).
In her opening remarks, Sue Smith, chair of CBA’s board of directors, acknowledged this reality but expressed optimism for both the show and the year ahead.
“It’s been an exceptionally tough year,” said Smith, manager of Baker Book House. “But the fact that you are all here makes it exceptional.”
DeMuth shared her testimony and urged retailers to take the show's theme to heart.
“We are a community,” DeMuth said. “We are a group of ragtag people who need each other desperately. … That’s why we’re all here at this conference and why it’s called Unite.”
DeMuth gave examples of times when retailers unknowingly opened doors for evangelism and salvation in their community.
“Some of you out there are planting the kinds of seeds that will be rewarded in heaven,” DeMuth said. “Do not lose heart. … He chronicles all your tears, all your labor on behalf of others.”
CBA President Curtis Riskey also highlighted Unite’s Ministry in Action, an annual practice in which CBA and Unite support a local ministry in the host community. This year's Ministry in Action project is Believing and Living One Christ (BLOC), which provides relief, education, job training and more in crime-afflicted areas of Cincinnati.
Jordan Bunch, BLOC’s director of sports performance, thanked Riskey and retailers for their donations. He then led the crowd in communion and prayer. Communion cups and wafers were provided by B&H Publishing Group.
“I pray you would bless [attendees] in their efforts, and we would resolve to think of You in all we say, act or do this week,” Bunch prayed.
Grammy-nominated artist Sanchez led participants in worship. Despite the modest size, the crowd worshipped loudly and passionately.
Attendees received free copies of DeMuth’s devotional, Jesus Every Day. They also saw a trailer for the upcoming film Because of Gracia. Gardenfire also did a T-shirt donation. HarperCollins Christian Publishing and Ingram/Spring Arbor were title sponsors for Worship Him!
Riskey closed by reminding retailers whom Unite truly honors.
“It is my hope for you that you will be refreshed, encouraged, find good opportunities and be inspired,” Riskey said. “Unite is truly for you.”