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Canadian Southern Baptists consider changing their name

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OTTAWA, Ontario, Canada (BP)–Gerry Taillon, the Canadian Convention of Southern Baptists’ national ministry leader, underscored his optimism for the future of the convention at its annual meeting in Ottawa, Ontario.

“I am absolutely convinced that God has another level for the CCSB,” Taillon said. “And what He’s calling on us to do is give ourselves away for the Kingdom of God.”

Addressing what he believes are God’s new directions for the CCSB, Taillon laid out his dream of a convention that embraces interdependence, “where churches help churches, where pastors help pastors, where no one is left behind.

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“And I believe God can do that,” he added.

As the CCSB seeks new directions, the convention also is considering a name change. Messengers were nearly unanimous in mandating that the CCSB national leadership board to recommend a new name to be voted on at next year’s annual meeting.

Rob Blackaby, president of the convention and pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Calgary, Alberta, assured messengers that there will be ample opportunity for dialogue over whatever name is proposed.

“If it passes, then it would still need a second reading in 2008 before it actually comes into being,” Blackaby said.

In fact, as the leadership board’s recommendation noted, the only problematic word in the current name is Southern, as it “is not reflective of our geographical, cultural, ministry, or national context.” Baptist, they said, was nonnegotiable, while Canadian and Convention were “important components of our name.”

The theme for the annual meeting at Sequoia Community Church July 4-5 in Ottawa was “Compelled,” based on 2 Corinthians 5:14-15.

Guest speaker Henry Blackaby told the 491 messengers and visitors from across Canada that many churches engage in “planned disobedience” by ignoring God’s command that the Gospel be presented to everyone so that none should perish.

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“We say, ‘Well, how can we? We’ll do our little part. We’ll do what we can,’” Blackaby said. “But God didn’t say, ‘Do the best you can.’ He said, ‘Obey Me. If you love Me, obey what I’m telling you.’ … He can’t get our attention. We’re not intending to obey Him out of a compulsion of love to Him.”

Blackaby also echoed Taillon’s vision for interdependence, noting that a church’s covenant relationship with God is never with Him alone but extends to every sister church as well.

“Whatever is happening in the life of the other churches, we’ll feel the pain or we’ll feel the joy,” Blackaby said. “… It’s unthinkable to God and His people to have one hurting and you not feel the pain and not feel the immediate need to go and be a part of their life.”

Paul Johnson, the convention’s Share Team leader, told the 33 percent of CCSB churches that reported no baptisms last year that they could count on fellow congregations for assistance.

“The churches in our associations will go to [them] and say, ‘How can we help you? We’ll do anything to help you,’” Johnson said.

In other business:

— Messengers welcomed three new CCSB churches in Atlantic Canada: Providence Christian Church in Moncton and Hope Community Church in Fredericton, New Brunswick, and Kingsway Christian Fellowship in Montague, Prince Edward Island. The growing number of CCSB churches in Atlantic Canada now belong to a new East Coast Association.

— Jeff Christopherson, pastor of The Sanctuary in Oakville, Ontario, was elected president of the CCSB. Rick Lamothe, pastor of Sequoia Community Church in Ottawa, Ontario, was elected first vice president; and Ralph Griggs, pastor of Dovercourt Baptist Church in Edmonton, Alberta, was elected second vice president.

— Messengers approved budgets for 2007 in the amounts of $2,333,556 for the CCSB (up 6.6 percent over 2006), $278,814 for the Cooperative Program and other international missions outreach (up about 1 percent), $2,075,976 for the Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary and $57,889 for the Canadian Convention of Southern Baptists Foundation.

— Mike McElroy, chairman of the trustees at the Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary, announced that Richard Blackaby, who recently resigned as president, has been named the seminary’s first chancellor.

Several of the CCSB’s partners within the Southern Baptist Convention were welcomed as special guests. They included Mike Gravette of the Georgia Baptist Convention, Harry Lewis and Bob Ryan of the North American Mission Board, Terry Sharpe of the International Mission Board, Rich Murrell of LifeWay Christian Resources and Bob Mills and Georges Boujakly of the Kansas-Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists.

This year’s convention was the first to be broadcast live on the Internet, and Brad Daily, the convention’s director of communications, estimated that at any given time, between 75 and 100 people were online watching the proceedings.

Next year’s annual meeting will be July 2-4 at Bethany Baptist Church in Richmond, British Columbia.
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