PHOENIX (BP)–Reports of how God is working in Arizona and challenges to be on mission highlighted the 74th annual session of the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention, held Nov. 12-13 at First Southern Baptist Church, Phoenix.
The 402 messengers quickly dispensed with business and focused on times of worship and reports that addressed the meeting’s theme, “Empowering Kingdom Growth,” and the state convention’s ongoing theme: “Healthy leaders influence healthy churches to evangelize and plant churches.”
The meeting marked the first time that simultaneous Spanish translation was offered for members of the more than 40 Hispanic congregations in the state convention — which has a total of about 450 churches and missions. Translation was provided via headsets.
John Elder, pastor of Green Valley Baptist Church, Green Valley, defeated Dan Coker, pastor of Love Baptist Church, Phoenix, by a vote of 128-113 to become president. Elder replaces C.J. “Jim” Stewart, a layman from First Southern Baptist Church, Avondale, who completed two terms as president.
Coker was elected by acclamation as first vice president, and Charles Tyson, pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church, Yuma, was elected by acclamation as second vice president.
Following the presidential election, Mark Simpson, a member of Dragoon Baptist Mission, moved that “we revamp our voting system” so that messengers can learn about the candidates and pray before voting. The motion was automatically referred to the Convention Council.
Messengers adopted a $3,261,130 Cooperative Program budget for 2003, the same amount as the 2002 budget. It continues the 2002 state-national distribution formula, with 75 percent being used in Arizona and 25 percent being sent to the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee for allocation to national and international ministries.
Messengers also adopted a $3,674,400 state convention operating budget for 2003. Income sources include $1,933,257 from the Cooperative Program, $1,499,802 from the North American Mission Board, $48,000 from LifeWay Christian Resources, $140,825 in conference fees and $52,515 in other revenue.
Eight resolutions were adopted as a slate without discussion. The resolutions expressed appreciation: to the host church; to Coronado Baptist Church, Scottsdale, for placing its property and facilities in a trust for the benefit of the state convention, the Arizona Regional Campus of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary and the church; to Arizona Southern Baptist Builders for remodeling the Coronado facilities for use by the state convention office and Golden Gate; to M. C. and Maxine Chancey for their service to Arizona Southern Baptists through Arizona Southern Baptist Builders; and to C. J. “Jim” Stewart, out-going state convention president.
Other resolutions acknowledged the service of Arizona Southern Baptist leaders who died in the past year; committed to pray for “our country, its leaders, our service men and women, and the families and individuals impacted within our nation”; and pledged a continued commitment to unity as Arizona Southern Baptists.
Messengers adopted revisions to the ASBC constitution without discussion. Stewart told the messengers the intent of the changes was not to rewrite the constitution but to fill holes in the document, which was largely rewritten when the state convention was reorganized in 2001.
Next year’s meeting will be Nov. 11-12 at Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.