Come be part of the future and envision our legacy together.

CBA’s annual international convention, UNITE 2017, takes place June 27-30 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Designed to unite the worldwide Christian products industry, the convention began in 1950 and remains in the top 250 U.S. trade shows of more than 6,000 reporting events as ranked by Trade Show News Network in 2016.

The first convention, held in Chicago, had 279 retailers and 48 suppliers. Today, it is held in a different U.S. location each year and attracts more than 2,000 participants representing 50 different countries.


At the start, there was talk and concern of whether the Christian products industry would survive. Sixty-seven years later, members of the industry have proven themselves resilient and steadfast. CBA hosts this year’s UNITE with a nod to the future, believing in and calling others toward a vision of a unified, global network of Christian product providers who work together and thrive.

Building on its core foundation of connection and unity, the convention is focusing on offering more opportunities to bring people together, recognizing that a large part of UNITE’s value is the chance to encourage one another and learn from those who share the same challenges and successes.

“As CBA strives to support the entire global Christian products industry, we see it as an imperative that the members of the industry get to know each other and work together,” explains CBA President Curtis Riskey. “The ability to gather for idea sharing and encouragement is crucial in this day and age when the world’s changing marketplace can make it tempting to hunker down and keep doing what we’ve been doing for survival.

“In reality, gathering together to share collective wisdom, to understand each other, and of course to benefit from exclusive offers and competitive pricing is one of the most valuable opportunities of our time,” he adds.


While in the past the event has been considered mainly a trade show, a focus is being placed on it functioning also as a convention, emphasizing the opportunity for representatives of the industry to meet for the purpose of discussing common matters. A significant shift in this direction was CBA’s decision to change the name from the “International Christian Retail Show” to “UNITE” in order to emphasize the opportunities for connection, encouragement, and networking, aspects that cannot be replicated through business done solely online.

To set the stage for a big-picture perspective, the first evening of UNITE will continue to feature the worship service, “Worship Him!” Brothers and sisters in Christ from around the world will gather to worship Jesus side-by-side and remember why they do what they do. Furthermore, the industry will be given the opportunity to unite in giving back through the Ministry in Action project, which supports a local ministry in the host city each year. More than $208,000 in cash and products has been donated since 1998.

To further support the essence of a family gathering, UNITE 2017 welcomes the return of an industry banquet. The Envision the Legacy Banquet will be a time of networking and camaraderie during which participants can enjoy a meal together and hear from peers about common experiences and plans for the future.

“Coming together helps each one build plans around the mission that unites us instead of focusing on our own interests and competitiveness,” reminds Riskey. “Will we do good to one another, try new things, pick each other up when we make mistakes, and rally together to overcome challenges?”

As the largest gathering of the Christian products industry anywhere in the world, UNITE 2017 is primed to be that rallying point. Don’t miss the opportunity to be a part of the big picture. Register for UNITE 2017 today at www.

— Sharon Roberts