HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (BP)–Messengers to the Alabama Baptist State Convention affirmed the effectiveness of cooperative missions and adopted a $46 million 2010 Cooperative Program budget during their annual meeting, Nov. 17–18 at Whitesburg Baptist Church in Huntsville, Ala.
The gathering’s nearly 900 participants also re-elected all three state convention officers without opposition. Serving second one-year terms will be Jimmy Jackson, pastor of Whitesburg Baptist Church, as president; Mike Shaw, pastor of First Baptist Church in Pelham, Ala., first vice president, and John Killian, pastor of Maytown Baptist Church, second vice president.
In a resolution “Affirming the Cooperative Program,” messengers recognized Alabama’s Baptist entities, the importance of working as cooperative ministries and CP’s role in propelling ministry. The resolution points to the fact that Alabama ranked first in CP giving among all state conventions for the Southern Baptist Convention fiscal year ending Sept. 30. Alabama remains at the top when CP receipts are combined with total giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions and the Annie Armstrong Offering for North American Missions. The resolution stated that Cooperative Program missions dollars “are managed prudently, and allocated consistently with our vision for comprehensively and simultaneously reaching our state, nation and the world.”
A resolution on “Affirming Great Commission Ministries,” meanwhile, cited the mission emphasis of the ABSC, “One Mission, The Great Commission; One Program, The Cooperative Program; Many Ministries, Great Commission Ministries” and resolved to continue partnership with the Southern Baptist Convention in reaching Alabama, North America and the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Other resolutions adopted by messengers:
— recognized the 400th anniversary of the modern Baptist movement and called on pastors to recognize a Baptist Heritage Sunday and other Baptist heritage events.
— reaffirmed Alabama Baptists’ opposition to electronic bingo gambling at any location in the state, called upon state lawmakers to oppose expansion of gambling and applauded Gov. Bob Riley and his Governor’s Task Force on Illegal Gambling for their work.
The $46 million budget for 2010 maintained the same bottom line as 2009 — providing no salary increases for staff but also avoiding cuts and staff reductions. Cooperative Program receipts will be divided the same as in 2009, with 57.5 percent for Alabama missions and ministry and 42.5 percent for Southern Baptist national and international causes.
Rick Lance, executive director of the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, said he was not discouraged by the fact that the state convention apparently would miss its income goal for 2009 by about 3 percent.
“I really feel as good as I can about where we are in our financial picture,” Lance told the state board during its Nov. 16 meeting prior to the annual meeting. “We are grateful for the stewardship and sacrificial giving of Alabama Baptists.”
The state convention is just now feeling the impact of the economic downturn, Lance said.
In other convention business:
— The University of Mobile unveiled a new strategic plan to establish the university as a “nationally recognized leader of revitalization of Christian faith and character in America.” The plan features 11 axioms that deal with students’ personal relationship with Jesus Christ, improved academic programs, new levels of vocational development and enhanced relationships with Alabama Baptists.
— Messengers approved a three-year partnership with the North American Mission Board’s Appalachian Regional Ministry. Alabama Baptists also have partnerships with Ukraine, Guatemala and Michigan.
— Messengers approved purchasing property on the Interstate 65 corridor near Autauga and Elmore counties to build a facility to centrally house the state’s $500,000 worth of disaster relief equipment, which currently is housed in various locations around the state.
The annual meeting served as the launching pad for Alabama’s God’s Plan for Sharing (GPS) strategy for the next 10 years. A plan developed by state convention evangelism directors across the nation in conjunction with the North American Mission Board, GPS has been promoted throughout the state for weeks and was blended into the annual meeting’s theme, “The Great Commission … God’s Plan for Sharing.”
Delivering theme interpretations during the convention were Jerry Rankin, president of the International Mission Board; Shannon Ford, IMB missionary to Ukraine; Ed Cruce, director of missions for Bessemer (Ala.) Baptist Association; and Danny Wood, pastor of Shades Mountain Baptist Church in Vestavia Hills, near Birmingham.
The convention sermon was delivered by Steve Scoggins, pastor of First Baptist Church in Opelika. Scoggins challenged pastors to deal honestly with emotional bouts of depression and to be sympathetic to other pastors who are dealing with depression.
The 2010 annual meeting will be Nov. 16–17 at Hunter Street Baptist Church in Hoover.
Adapted from reporting by Jennifer Davis Rash, managing editor of The Alabama Baptist (www.thealabamabaptist.org), newsjournal of the Alabama Baptist State Convention.