CABOT, Ark. (BP) — Messengers to the 159th Arkansas Baptist State Convention annual meeting approved a 2013 Cooperative Program budget of $22 million and honored Emil Turner in retiring as ASBC executive director in February.
“NOW” was theme of the meeting at First Baptist Church in Cabot, where the convention’s president, Greg Addison, serves as pastor. Addison was elected to a second term during the Oct. 30-31 sessions.
The meeting was attended by 634 messengers, slightly down from the 687 messengers at the 2011 meeting in Little Rock and from the 761 messengers at the 2010 meeting in Jonesboro.
In addition to Addison’s re-election as convention president, Ken Jerome, interim pastor of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, was re-elected as first vice president, as was second vice president Matt Pryor, pastor of First Baptist Church in Wooster. All three were unopposed.
Messengers approved six resolutions, including recognition of Emil Turner. The ABSC executive director will retire in February after 16 years of service to Arkansas Baptists.
The resolution, in part, noted:
— The Cooperative Program budget has increased during Turner’s tenure from $16 million to $20 million. While “some state conventions have chosen to decrease their giving to the Cooperative Program, Dr. Turner has led Arkansas Baptists to a continuing increase toward Cooperative Program causes beyond Arkansas.”
— The Arkansas convention has seen a per year average of 28 church starts with nine of them involving other ethnicities, “so that on any given Sunday Arkansas Southern Baptists are worshipping in nine different languages.”
Other resolutions included opposition to the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act (which lost on the Nov. 6 ballot); support of the biblical definition of marriage and of Christian citizenship and civic participation; and gratitude and prayer for members of the armed forces. The full text of resolutions approved by the messengers is available at www.arkansasbaptist.org/2012 resolutions.
Miscellaneous business included a motion by Brad Coble, a messenger from Calvary Baptist Church in Benton, asking the convention to recognize the late Roy Fish, retired professor of evangelism at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Fish died Sept. 10.
“I thank God for his influence on my life,” Coble told messengers. Addison asked messengers to approve the motion, which they did with a resounding “amen.” Coble was then asked to pray.
Other miscellaneous business included a motion to dedicate the 2012 Annual of the ABSC to Frank Shell and L.B. Jordan, both former pastors, associational missionaries and longtime leaders in Arkansas Baptist life who died this year.
The ABSC budget of $22 million approved by messengers is slightly higher than the $21.4 million 2012 operating budget.
It includes $9,395,389 (42.71 percent) for Southern Baptist Convention causes; $12,469,611 (56.68 percent) for missions and ministries in Arkansas; and $135,000 for shared SBC/ABSC ministries.
The SBC portion includes an increase of $201,332 (0.2 percent) above this year’s allocation, the first such increase in a five-year plan to increase the SBC portion by 1 percent. The convention is currently completing a similar five-year plan for 2008-12.
Additionally, the 2013 CP budget will reflect the first year of the convention’s revised budget formula approved by messengers at the 2011 annual meeting. The approved recommendations set forth in the formula — which will be in effect for the 2013-17 budget years — increase the percentage of funds (total receipts) forwarded to the SBC and divide state budget surpluses with the SBC.
The convention’s nominating committee report was approved with no challenges. The committee nominates people to serve on boards of ABSC entities and institutions.
Gary Hollingsworth, pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Little Rock, was elected as president of the ABSC Executive Board, with Mike McCauley, pastor of Bella Vista Baptist Church in Bella Vista, elected as first vice president.
The 2013 annual meeting of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention will be Oct. 29-30 at Cross Church in Rogers.
Reported by the staff of the Arkansas Baptist News. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).