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Alaska Baptists endorse Baptist Faith and Message

SOLDOTNA, Alaska (BP)–Messengers to the Alaska Baptist Convention’s annual meeting approved a resolution endorsing the Baptist Faith and Message and affirming the convention’s relationship with the Southern Baptist Convention.

The state convention also gave final approval to new articles of incorporation and bylaws, elected officers and heard numerous challenges to “Focus on Alaska,” the theme of the Aug. 7-8 meeting attended by 133 messengers at College Heights Baptist Church in Soldotna.

The resolution affirming the BFM and the SBC, which was approved without opposition, was distributed to messengers and guests by the resolutions committee. It stated, in part, that the Baptist Faith and Message has been “an integral part of the fiber and theological life of Alaska Baptists [and] is accepted and used by the SBC and our partner entities such as the North American Mission Board, LifeWay Christian Resources, and others.”

The resolution affirmed the state convention’s “relationship with the Southern Baptist Convention as historic, God-led and productive in the cause of reaching Alaska and the world for Jesus Christ.” Further, the resolution said Alaska Baptists “endorse the Baptist Faith and Message 2000,” and expressed appreciation to the BFM committee which “worked diligently, carefully and prayerfully.”

The resolution encouraged “every autonomous Alaska Baptist congregation to study the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 and incorporate it into its life and organization as the congregation sees fit.”

Messengers also concluded a long and complex process of rewriting and approving foundational documents for the state convention and its two agencies, the Alaska Baptist Foundation and the Alaska Baptist Family Services. Final approval was given to articles of incorporation for all three entities and bylaws for the foundation and family services agency. A new constitution applying to all three entities was approved during last year’s annual meeting. Messengers expressed special appreciation to the convention’s constitution and bylaws committee and its chairman Jack Green, a member of First Baptist Church, Anchorage, who also was elected convention president.

New state Executive Director David Baldwin, in his first annual report to the convention, challenged messengers to reach the state for Christ. “The state convention and associational staff are not going to reach Alaska. Every Alaska Baptist church and every church member must build the bridges to take the gospel to our state,” Baldwin said. The convention numbers 68 churches and 26 missions.

Baldwin told the convention that his goal is that “every church in Alaska have an active, vital prayer ministry … Bible study program … offer evangelistic training … and be involved in missions education and ministry.”

In the annual sermon, Johnny McCoy, pastor of First Baptist Church, North Pole, called pastors to live the life of a servant. “Don’t draw back from the servant’s towel,” McCoy said. “Why aren’t more pastors dwelling in the servant’s quarters? It’s where our Lord lived, and the Master bids us to dwell with him there.”

Eddie Lindsey, Alaska and North American Mission Board partnership missionary, brought the convention’s theme message. “If Alaska is to be reached, it will be because Alaskan Baptists accept the responsibility to reach Alaska,” he said. “We appreciate the help from other Southern Baptists, but it’s our responsibility.”

The convention also celebrated results of a two-year mission partnership with the Baptist Convention of North Carolina and a mission partnership in Russia.

In addition to Green, messengers also elected Leon May, pastor of Greater Friendship, Anchorage, first vice president; Scott Hoffman, pastor of the host church, as second vice chairman; and, Judy Zack, a member of University Baptist Church, Fairbanks, recording secretary.

Messengers approved a $1,872,732 budget, up $90,000 over the current budget. The 2001-2002 budget includes $652,593 in anticipated Cooperative Program giving from Alaska Baptists, an 11 percent increase over the past year’s CP receipts. The convention will continue to forward 33 percent of its CP receipts to SBC national and international missions and ministries.

Next year’s convention will be Aug. 6-7 at South Anchorage Baptist Church.

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