CHELMSFORD, Mass. (BP)–Henry Blackaby was among the featured speakers at the Baptist Convention of New England’s 24th annual meeting, Nov. 9-10 at the Radisson Hotel in Chelmsford, Mass.
“Mandate to Missional Living” was the theme for the meeting, which registered 173 messengers from 73 churches, along with 108 guests.
Blackaby, founder and president emeritus of Blackaby Ministries, led the convention through a scriptural interpretation of Act 1:8, including the need for revival in the church. “Acts 1:8 is an announcement by God telling us what He was going to do, not a mandate for us to do something,” Blackaby declared. “Our challenge is to be obedient in joining Him when He calls.” He went on to note, “The greatest challenge among believers is unbelief.”
Blackaby drew correlations to believers today as he referred to Matthew 4:17, pointing out that as Jesus began to preach, He called God’s people to repent. “Whatever you have been doing religiously you need to turn around. These people Jesus spoke to were good people, religious and faithful, but serving without the mighty rule and presence of God in their lives.”
Blackaby encouraged those who serve across New England to become students of the history of revival in New England. He reminded that God brought revival to America through their region, and they should be attentive to His Spirit and have awareness of history should God choose to do so again.
During each session of the annual meeting, pastors and laypeople of BCNE churches shared testimonies of ministry based on Acts 1:8, including local church community outreach, prison ministry, mission trips to South Africa and disaster relief.
Paul Kim delivered the president’s address, sharing a challenge to make prayer the priority for each church and for the convention. Drawing from Acts 12:1-17, he encouraged believers to experience dynamic prayer through intercession and persistence. During his year as BCNE president, Kim visited each association’s annual meeting and prayed with directors of missions, pastors and laypeople.
Jim Wells, pastor of Island Pond Baptist Church in Hampstead, N.H., delivered the annual sermon, focusing on Jude’s doxology in Jude 24-25. “All of our life and lifestyle should be a praise of doxology to God,” Wells said.
BCNE Executive Director Jim Wideman spoke from Acts 1:4, voicing a personal confession for his need to learn to wait on God. “If you wait for what the Father has promised, then amazing things can happen. I realized if I wait for His leading, I still get to the ministry I like to do. Let’s do Acts 1:8, but let’s wait for the Father,” Wideman told the audience.
Messengers elected by acclamation Kim, pastor of Berkland Baptist Church in Cambridge, Mass., for a second term as president. Michael John, pastor of Market Street Baptist Church in Amesbury, Mass., was elected as vice president. Sandy Coelho, a member of Victory Baptist Church in Rockland, Mass., was re-elected secretary and Sandy Wideman of Rice Memorial Baptist Church in Northborough, Mass., was re-elected historian.
A budget of $2,836,974 was approved unanimously for 2007, roughly the same as the current year. The budget anticipates $144,625 in Cooperative Program giving by New England churches, 21.25 percent of which will be forwarded for national and international missions and ministries. In passing the 2007 budget, the BCNE increases its percent-of-budget Cooperative Program giving by .25 percent, with plans to repeat the increase in the years ahead.
Messengers approved the only resolution brought before the convention, thanking New Colony Baptist Church in Billerica, Mass., and Nashua (N.H.) Baptist Church for their hospitality.
A variety of BCNE congregations assisted with leading worship during the three day gathering: Celebration Church in Boston; New Hope Community Church in Ayer, Mass; Hope Fellowship in Cambridge, Mass.; and South Coast Community in Scarborough, Maine. Each session was closed in prayer by pastors of the BCNE’s language congregations. Prayers were offered in Bengali, French-Creole, Spanish, Portuguese and Romanian.
The Baptist Convention of New England has 250 churches and missions with 23,319 members. This past year, 17 new works were started: five churches and 12 mission churches. In addition, 12 new preaching points were established with an eye toward becoming churches in the future.
Next year’s annual meeting will be Nov. 8-10, hosted by First Baptist Church in Manchester, Ct.
Based on reporting by Allyson Clark.