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Colorado Baptists elect first African American president, increase CP

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (BP) — The Colorado Baptist General Convention held its annual meeting with the theme “Forward Together” Oct. 14-15.

The meeting focused on churches uniting as a network in an increasingly divided world.

Messengers and guests totaled 236, all gathered to review and approve business details for the upcoming year.

The program included keynote speakers Ronnie Floyd, president and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee; Noe Garcia, senior pastor of North Phoenix (Ariz.) Baptist Church and SBC second vice president; Vance Pitman, senior pastor of Hope Church in Las Vegas, and others, and featured Matt Boswell as the conference worship leader.

Messengers adopted an in-state ministry budget of $2,197,000 and a total ministry budget of $3,692,000 and voted to increase the Cooperative Program allocation to 35 percent from 33.15 percent.

A major highlight from the meeting was the election of new president John Moreland the convention’s first African American president. Moreland is pastor of Denver Christian Bible Church.

Nathan Lorick, executive director of the Colorado Baptist General Convention, said “[Moreland] is a godly man, wonderful pastor, and visionary leader that God has raised up for these exciting days. It is an honor to serve alongside of him as we seek to see the gospel accelerated across Colorado.”

Moreland, in his message at the convention, spoke on the issue of the modern church falling into step with the world rather than with Jesus.

“As I examine the landscape of society,” Moreland said, “and even as I examine the landscape of church, I must confess to you tonight that one of the things that scares me as a follower of Jesus is this — there is a quickly fading distinction in character and in thought and in practice between those who belong to Jesus and those who do not.”

He went on to encourage attendees to allow their sanctification from the world and their unity with each other to be a testament to the fact that as Christians, they are God’s children and He is their true Father.

“The Jesus in us should be bigger than anything that otherwise has the ability to divide us,” he said. “Our unity is a sure sign of the love of the Father and the Son.”

Moreland ended his message with an exhortation to attendees to remember Jesus’ desire for His love and presence to be the biggest testimony that flows out of His followers.

Other officers elected were first vice president Mark Spence, pastor of Mississippi Avenue Baptist Church in Aurora, and second vice president Greg Teel, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Delta.

In addition to the business components of the convention, attendees also participated in 1 1/2-hour session of corporate prayer.

Commenting on the meeting and the time of prayer, Lorick said “God moved among Colorado Baptist in a powerful way and the spirit of our meeting was phenomenal. Through our time together, we heard incredible stories of how God is leading churches in their ‘Next Step’ toward Gospel acceleration, spent over an hour on our knees crying out to God for a fresh movement of His Spirit, increased our missions giving, and renewed our commitment to being a united network in a divided world. We are so humbled and honored to be a part of what God is doing through the churches of Colorado Baptists.”