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HOOVER, Ala. (BP)–Alabama Baptists focused on missions during much of their Nov. 14-15 annual meeting at Hunter Street Baptist Church in Hoover.
In a sermon from Colossians 1:15-22, Henry Cox, pastor of First Baptist Church in Bay Minette and president of the Alabama State Board of Missions, said Jesus’ sovereignty is apparent in revelation, creation and re-creation and it is only through knowing Jesus that God is revealed to man.
“A church member — whether he be a teacher, a tither, a deacon or a preacher — who says he believes in God but has never had a personal experience with Jesus Christ is just as lost as a poor pagan in the darkest corner of Africa,” Cox said, adding that revealing God to the lost is the driving force behind evangelism.
“Lost people get their ideas about Jesus Christ from Christians,” Cox said. “What does your life tell people about Jesus? Is He first? When He is, serving Him, witnessing, sharing His love with others will come out of the overflow.”
Messengers approved a new partnership with Michigan Baptists to help reach that state’s population with the Gospel. Rick Lance, Alabama’s executive director, said 8 million of Michigan’s 9 million people do not know Jesus.
Ted Traylor, pastor of Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, Fla., told messengers that being missions-minded is not enough.
“Praying for missionaries is great, but if you’re just missions-minded and praying for someone else but you’re supposed to go yourself, you’re not being missional,” Traylor said. “It’s not a great thing to send people if God has told you to go.”
Traylor told the crowd that it’s time for churches to move past being simply missions-minded and become missional.
“The problem at Olive Baptist Church is that many people don’t really believe that half of our town is dying and going to hell,” he said, adding that the same goes for Alabama Baptist churches. “One out of every two people is lost in Alabama. We as Baptists are not missional because we don’t really believe that.”
Alabama Baptists took a turn at reaching their state for Christ during Crossover Birmingham Nov. 11 as volunteers blitzed the downtown area during one of the nation’s largest Veteran’s Day parades. Five metro-area Baptist associations set up tents at five sites along the parade route to reach out to parade-goers.
Baptists were prepared to hand out about 18,000 bottles of water, register people for $2,500 in gas card giveaways and talk to passers-by about their spiritual condition. Several people prayed to receive Jesus that day.
During the business portions of the annual meeting, messengers adopted a record Cooperative Program base budget of $43.9 million, up 3 percent from the current year. They approved a $44.9 million record challenge budget, which is a 2.92 percent increase over the current year. The convention plans to forward $18,582,505 from the base budget — or $18,836,305 from the challenge budget — to national and international Southern Baptist Convention causes, remaining at 42.3 percent of Cooperative Program gifts received from the churches.
Roger Willmore, pastor of Deerfoot Baptist Church in Trussville, was elected convention president. He previously served two years as first vice president and two years as second vice president, making him only the second person in Alabama history to move through the ranks of officer positions.
Jimmy Jackson, pastor of Whitesburg Baptist Church in Huntsville, was elected first vice president, and Mike Shaw, pastor of First Baptist Church in Pelham, was elected second vice president.
Messengers passed resolutions pertaining to Wal-Mart’s support of homosexuality, the humanitarian crisis in western Sudan and ethics in state government. According to the resolution on Wal-Mart, Baptists should inform the company at the local and national level of its breech of Baptists’ beliefs on homosexuality when it joined the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and ask that Wal-Mart reconsider the affiliation. It also calls for Baptists to pray for the store’s key leaders.
The resolution on the conflict in western Sudan called for Baptists to pray for the suffering people of the Darfur region as well as offer advocacy and humanitarian aid on their behalf. The resolution on ethics in government urged messengers to call on the branches of state government to ensure that officials cannot use their power for personal or private gain.
Other resolutions included expressing appreciation for the passing of the Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment, which defines marriage as one man and one woman; commending the Alabama legislature for passing the Brody Act to protect unborn victims of crime; discouraging alcohol and tobacco use; and reaffirming the Cooperative Program.
Next year’s annual meeting will be Nov. 13-14 at Cottage Hill Baptist Church in Mobile.
Based on reports from The Alabama Baptist, online at www.thealabamabaptist.org.