WATERTOWN, N.Y. (BP) — Messengers to the annual meeting of the Baptist Convention of New York adopted a pared-down 2012 budget, though it increases contributions to national and international mission causes, and approved a motion to establish a “Vision Task Force” charged with strengthening the BCNY and maximizing its support for church and associations.
The convention’s 42nd annual meeting was held Sept. 25-26 at New Hope Baptist Church in Watertown.
The 2012 budget represents a decrease of nearly $1.4 million — roughly 44 percent — over the 2011 budget of $3.19 million, but increases the percentage of outgoing Cooperative Program mission funds from 28 percent to 28.25 percent. The budget decrease was due to a projected decrease in receipts from churches and a decrease in funding of convention staff positions by the North American Mission Board, according to a statement from the BCNY executive director’s office.
The motion for a seven-member Vision Task Force, to be appointed by the convention president, was presented by Don Thoms of Grace Baptist Church in Ogdensburg.
Thoms’ motion said the task force would be created “to develop a vision and strategy reflecting our churches’ grassroots vision in order to strengthen the BCNY and maximize its support of churches and associations to evangelize lost people, strengthen churches, plant churches, and accomplish the Great Commission.”
After a 40-day season of prayer, task force members would be appointed and begin working with the convention’s Executive Board to conduct listening sessions with each association and ethnic fellowship group. The task force is charged with bringing a rough draft of “a vision, strategy and implementation changes” to an April 23, 2012, meeting of the Executive Board and final recommendations to the 2012 annual meeting.
Kevin Ezell, president of the North American Mission Board, spoke to the assembly about the need for revival.
Speaking from Acts 20, Ezell challenged the group, saying, “God often calls us to do something greater than we are capable of doing.” One way to start the needed revival, Ezell said, is to draw a circle in chalk on the floor, step inside the circle and pray God will begin revival in that circle.
“We must penetrate the darkness in North America,” Ezell said, “but it starts in that chalk circle.”
Speaking to the annual meeting theme, “Called to Active Duty,” BCNY Executive Director Terry Robertson addressed the convention with a sermon from 1 Corinthians 2:14 – 3:11. Robertson urged New York Baptists “to continue to be co-laborers” in the cause of equipping, mobilizing, planting and harvesting for God’s Kingdom.
Robbie Lankford, pastor of New Hope Community Church in Queensbury, N.Y., delivered the annual sermon. Lankford’s sermon — titled “It Can Happen Here!” — was based on Psalm 2:8. During the time of the Second Great Awakening, regions of New York had been so heavily evangelized that some people called it the “Burned-Over District,” a place where no evangelistic opportunities seemed to be left, Lankford said. Today, however, the nations of the world have come to New York state, with Lankford asking, “Can God use the BCNY to reach the nations?
Convention President Jim Hundley, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Cortland, brought the president’s address with a sermon based on 1 Corinthians 1:17.
Messengers at the BCNY annual meeting also:
— renewed a three-year partnership with Southern Baptist churches in Puerto Rico.
— established a three-year pattern for rotating the location of the annual meetings between metropolitan New York, greater Syracuse and another area in the state.
— elected officers: president, Jim Hundley, for a second one-year term; first vice president, Tom Fanning; second vice president, Edwin Attaway; recording secretary, Van McClain; 2012 annual sermon, Paul Flores; alternate Dale Suel.
Executive Board officers also were elected during a pre-convention meeting of that body: chairman, Mark Davis, and vice chairman, Jerry Lepasana.
The New York convention’s 2012 annual meeting is scheduled to be held at Word of Life Church in Schroon Lake.
Compiled by Baptist Press senior writer and assistant editor Mark Kelly. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).
The full text of the Vision Task Force motion, submitted by Don Thoms of Grace Baptist Church in Ogdensburg, N.Y., follows:
That the President establish a seven member Vision Task Force to develop a vision and strategy reflecting our churches’ grassroots vision in order to strengthen the BCNY and maximize its support of churches and associations to evangelize lost people, strengthen churches, plant churches, and accomplish the Great Commission. Their recommendations will be brought to the 2012 annual meeting at Word of Life.
I further move this committee be established by the President appointing a Chair and then naming six additional members in consultation with the newly named Task Force Chair, the Executive Board Chairman and our Executive Director.
Six additional aspects of this recommendation include:
1. The messengers of the Convention call a 40-day season of prayer from Wednesday, September 28 through Sunday, November 6 while encouraging each Executive Board member to lead the churches in his or her association and fellowship to join in prayer.
2. The first initiative of this group would be to work with the Executive Board in facilitating listening sessions in each association and ethnic fellowship groups.
3. The Executive Director and Convention President would serve as ex officio members in addition to the 7 member Task Force.
4. The Task Force would report a rough draft of a vision, strategy and implementation changes to the Executive Board meeting on April 23, and make appropriate changes based on the feedback received from the Executive Board.
5. Upon making changes based on the Executive Board’s feedback, the Task Force will share its current rough draft with each association and make final changes to the report.
6. Upon the approval of the final report at the 2012 annual meeting, the Task Force would become an advisory group to our Executive Director and BCNY’s elected leadership for as long as it takes to implement the changes.
Step 1. 40 Days of Fasting and Prayer
40 days of prayer and fasting for God to reveal his preferred future to the churches immediately following the close of the 2011 annual meeting.
Step 2. Recommendations of Vision Team Members
Leaders and Members of BCNY churches would be invited to recommend potential candidates to the President by the end of this season of prayer.
Step 3. Listening Sessions throughout BCNY The first responsibility of the Vision Team would be to participate in listening sessions in every association, every fellowship group, and every region recognized within each association in order to hear what God has revealed to His churches. These listening sessions should be lead by the BCNY Executive Board members elected from each region.
Step 4. Vision and Plan Shared with Executive Board
The Team will formulate a rough draft of a vision and plan based on the church’s input and will share the plan with BCNY’s Executive Board for further input. Step 5. Plan Shared with Churches The Team will make the revised plan available to the Churches while receiving feedback
Step 6. Recommendation to the 2012 Annual Meeting
The Team will make the changes they deem appropriate and will recommend the final plan for approval at the 2012 annual meeting in Schroon Lake.
Step 7. Vision Team Becomes an Advisory Group
The Team will then become an ad hoc advisory group to the Executive Director and the Executive Board in order to support the implementation of the vision and plan as needed up to the 2014 annual meeting in Amherst.
It is also recommended that the BCNY’s Executive Director, President and Executive Board Chairmen be ex officio members in addition to the 9 named by the President.
It is further recommended that the President name the Chair of this Team while allowing the Team to organize itself beyond this initial position.