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BGAV ‘Living the Story’ at 195th annual meeting

GLEN ALLEN, Va. (BP) — The Baptist General Association of Virginia continues the purpose of its 1823 founding to strengthen local churches and help them work cooperatively in ministry, Executive Director John Upton said at the BGAV’s 195th annual meeting.

Cooperatively, churches can accomplish more than an individual congregation, Upton said at the Nov. 12-14 event hosted by Mount Vernon Baptist Church in Glen Allen, Va. “Living the Story” was the theme, based on 1 Corinthians 15:58.

New initiatives are underway to help churches meet the changing needs of congregants and communities, Upton said. Among them is a Fresh Expression outreach offering $500 micro-grants to 50 congregations willing to try a nontraditional approach to take church to people where they are.

Other initiatives include BGAV scholarships and Ministerial Education Funds grants available to churches to fund pastoral interns or age-level ministries. For 10 years, the funds have helped students affiliated with BGAV churches.

Upon BGAV’s 50th anniversary in disaster relief outreach, Upton summarized 2018 ministry valued at $1 million in North Carolina after Hurricanes Florence and Michael. BGAV has responded to 72 disasters since Hurricane Camille in 1969, Upton said, including 37 in the past four years.

Annual meeting attendance included 676 messengers and 283 guests. A missions dinner at Gayton Baptist Church in Henrico on the meeting’s opening night drew more than 300.


BGAV messengers adopted a budget, elected officers and passed resolutions during the Nov. 14 business session.

A $9.1 million 2019 Cooperative Missions budget forwards 28 percent, or $2.548 million, for world mission causes which include both Virginia Baptist mission initiatives and Southern Baptist Convention missions and ministries, 6 percent or $565,000 to ministry partners in Virginia, and 66 percent or $5.987 million to Virginia missions and ministries, BGAV reported.

The 2019 CP budget is $900,000 less than the $10 million 2018 budget that included $7.2 million for BGAV ministries and partners, and $2.8 million for world mission causes.

BGAV offers three preset giving tracks to its churches, and provides a fourth option for churches to customize their giving. The percentage divisions are as follows:

— The World Missions 1 track provides 66 percent for Virginia ministries and 34 percent for Southern Baptist Convention ministries.

— The World Missions 2 (WM2) track provides 72 percent for Virginia missions and ministries and BGAV partners in Virginia, including 2 percent for partnership missions. BGAV will distribute 28 percent of WM2 cooperative missions dollars to items approved by 2018 messengers, including Virginia, national and international ministries.

— The World Missions 3 (WM3) track provides 72 percent for Virginia ministries and 28 percent for Kingdom Advance New Mission Initiatives, including More Than Nets, International Indigenous Church Starts, BGAV Regional Seminars & Training, Church Planting in Virginia, and Latino/Hispanic Ministries. Previously, WM3 gave 28 percent to Cooperative Baptist Fellowship ministries.

In addition to CP contributions from its 1,400-plus churches, BGAV anticipates in 2019 $8.081 million in receipts from BGAV ministry resources and $4.304 million from special offerings.

BGAV ministry resources include revenue from designated gifts, camp and conference center registrations, program revenue, and other income. Special offerings include the Alma Hunt Offering for Virginia Missions, the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions, the Annie Armstrong Offering for North American Missions, and the Global Hunger Relief offering. Comprising CP giving and other sources, BGAV adopted a 2019 budget of $21,485,784.

Newly elected 2019 officers are president Richard Martin, a deacon at Huguenot Road Baptist Church in Richmond; first vice president Adam Tyler, pastor of Grace Hills Baptist Church in Appomattox; second vice president Jay Lawson, senior pastor of Warrenton Baptist Church in Warrenton; and secretary Herbert Ponder, pastor of Mount Tabor Baptist Church, Richmond.

Resolutions of appreciation recognized Jim Ailor, who retired in April, as a field strategist for BGAV’s northern region after 11 years of service; J. Scott Burhoe, a rear admiral retiring after seven years as president of Fork Union Military Academy, a BGAV ministry partner; Wayne Hannah, retiring as BGAV assistant clerk after 35 years of service, and Fred Anderson, retiring from 36 years of continuous service as BGAV secretary.

Guest speakers

Tod Bolsinger, Fuller Theological Seminary vice president for vocation and formation, led a slate of guest speakers. Bolsinger, who also serves as an assistant professor of practical theology, delivered a keynote address drawing from his leadership book, “Canoeing the Mountains.”

Other guest speakers were David Bailey, founding executive director of the cultural understanding ministry Arrabon; Elijah Brown, general secretary of the Baptist World Alliance; Valerie Carter, executive director of Woman’s Missionary Union of Virginia; Allen Jessee, lead pastor of Highlands Fellowship in southwest Virginia and eastern Tennessee; Chuck Warnock, pastor of Chatham Baptist Church in Chatham, Va.; and Kristin Adkins Whitesides, senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Winchester, Va.

Worship leaders included BGAV’s Uptick Artists.

The 2019 annual meeting is scheduled for Nov. 11-13 at Bonsack Baptist Church in Roanoke.

BGAV encompasses more than 1,400 churches in the Commonwealth of Virginia as well as churches from Seoul, Toronto, Washington, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington state, and West Virginia.

    About the Author

  • Baptist Press and BGAV Staff

    Compiled by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press general assignment writer and editor, based on reports from the Baptist General Association of Virginia.

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