FORT COLLINS, Colo. (BP) — The 60th annual meeting of the Colorado Baptist General Convention focused on the theme “The Revitalized Church” from Revelation 2:4-5.
Ralph Helm, Longs Peak Baptist Association’s church catalyst, welcomed 155 registered messengers from 71 churches and 100-150 guests, who united in prayer and worship in Fort Collins at the Hilton Hotel & Conference Center.
The convention was formed in 1955 by 40 churches during a meeting at First Southern Baptist Church in Colorado Springs.
At this year’s meeting, Mike Atherton, the convention’s outgoing president and senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Lone Tree, highlighted three aspects of “The Revitalized Church” during the three sessions of the Oct. 12-13 convention:
— Revitalized administratively: Atherton encouraged pastors and leaders to “pursue Christ in all things” as the priority of their churches.
— Revitalized numerically: “When was the last time someone said they were leaving the church because there weren’t enough baptisms?” Atherton asked. He spoke about healthy, sustained growth numerically and encouraged leaders and members to consider their role and responsibility in helping grow the Kingdom of Christ in their churches. “Never hold the Word of Christ hostage from people who need it,” he stated.
— Revitalized spiritually: Atherton spoke about the spiritual health of the church, noting, “Churches are not unhealthy today because Christ has failed at His job.” Citing Matthew 10:25, he said it is each Christian’s responsibility “to become more like Jesus day by day by day by day. I want to be more like Jesus tomorrow than I was yesterday….” Atherton challenged pastors to pray this over their children and their churches.
Alan Reed, church planter and lead pastor of The Pursuit Church in Fort Collins, spoke about being involved and relevant to people in the community. Make connections with schools, businesses and people, he counseled. Reed and his wife Ashley moved to Fort Collins in 2009 believing God had called them to start a church that has a heart for its community and impacts the lives of people around the world. The church is on the Web at www.mypursuitchurch.com.
Also speaking during the annual meeting were Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources, and James Merritt, lead pastor of the Atlanta-area Cross Pointe Church.
Rainer spoke about “revitalization hope” in a message listing four points from Zechariah 4: 1) God is still active, 2) God removes obstacles, 3) God expects His people to work with Him in building His house and 4) God gets all the glory.
Merritt, in a message from Acts 15, spoke about the church being spiritually revitalized.
“Make sure your Christian faith is fuel for the fire and not water on the fire,” Merritt exhorted, asking, “Are you fuel for the fire or a fire extinguisher?” He said examples of a fire extinguisher are pushing tradition over truth, rules over relationships, the external over the internal. The Pharisees, Merritt noted, were focused on the external not the internal, pushing preferences over people.
“Our job is not to subtract from grace. Our job is to divide grace up and multiply it,” Merritt said. “There will always be the gravitational pull to make your church comfortable for church people. … It’s time to get rid of our preferences.”
Budget, officer elections
Messengers approved a 2016 convention budget of $3,434,183, a decrease of $25,139 or 0.7 percent from 2015. The convention’s Cooperative Program allocation after shared expenses will be 49.5 percent for Colorado ministries and 50.5 percent for SBC ministries, with a goal of a straight 50/50 allocation in the next few years with no shared expenses. Colorado Baptists anticipate $1,983,083 in Cooperative Program receipts in 2016.
Mike Routt, pastor of Circle Drive Baptist Church in Colorado Springs, was elected as the convention’s president, with Ray Shirley, pastor of Monument Baptist Church in Grand Junction, reelected as first vice president and Jeff Rogers, associate pastor of Applewood Baptist Church in Wheat Ridge, elected as second vice president. Ginger LeBlanc, ministry assistant at Colorado Baptist General Convention and member of Arapahoe Road Baptist Church in Centennial, was reelected as recording secretary. All officers were the lone nominees.
In a resolution centered on prayer, messengers stated: “Whereas we, as Colorado Baptists, have been challenged to see the need for prayer and spiritual awakening in our churches and, whereas we recognize the urgency in making a difference in the communities outside the walls of our churches, be it therefore resolved that we will unite in prayer for revival and spiritual awakening in our churches so that Christ will pour out of us and into the lost and dying world that surrounds us.”
Other resolutions expressed appreciation to the churches of Longs Peak Baptist Association for hosting the convention’s 60th annual meeting and to Atherton for his service and leadership as Colorado Baptists’ president and chairman of the board for two years.
The 2016 annual meeting of the Colorado Baptist General Convention will be Oct. 10-11 at the Marriott Resort in Vail.