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Empowering Kingdom Growth abounds in Utah-Idaho convention messages

LAYTON, Utah (BP)–Empowering Kingdom Growth was the trumpet call to 148 messengers to the 38th annual session of the Utah-Idaho Southern Baptist Convention Oct. 22-23 at Mountain View Baptist Church in Layton, Utah.

James T. Draper Jr., president of LifeWay Christian Resources, in a theme interpretation, noted the New Testament mentions six concepts involved in the Kingdom: communication, commitment, cost, conflict, conclusion and comprehensiveness. Draper said the Kingdom of God is where the will of God is done, and he reminded messengers, “We don’t go out to win a victory. We go out to announce a victory.”

Charles E. Lawless Jr., senior associate dean of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth, continued with the EKG theme, which also has been tapped as a national Southern Baptist emphasis. All Christians work together toward kingdom growth through prayer and proclaiming the mystery of Christ, Lawless said, challenging the messengers to pray with mental alertness, pray specifically, pray with thanksgiving and pray for the opportunity to share the gospel of Jesus with the lost world. He reminded them to be wise in the way they act with unbelievers and to make the most of each opportunity, speaking with grace seasoned with salt, zest, passion and zeal.

Tim Clark, executive director of the Utah-Idaho Southern Baptist Convention, explained the significance of the convention banners representing the EKG theme. He said the white banner represented the purity of God, green represented the growth of the church, purple represented the royalty of heritage as children of God and red represented the blood of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. He used the text of Joshua 6 to challenge the convention with two questions: What is your ministry? Do you have a “God said …” in your life? He explained that Joshua 6 gives three EKG tasks: First, God said conquer the city; second, God said cleanse the land; and third, God said claim the redeemed.

Gary Frost, vice president for the strategic partnerships group of the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board, presented a two-part message titled “Empowered for Impact,” emphasizing 11 directives to kingdom growth found in Luke 10:1-20. First, he said to pray for committed workers because praying must precede planning. Then he said God’s people are to get up and go because praying is never to replace doing. Next he warned Christians to beware because the world is a dangerous place. Frost went on to encourage people to walk by faith, avoid distractions, start small, be positive, accept assistance from others, expect to enlarge their ministries, be sensitive to needs, be bold and tell not just the good news but the bad news as well.

In the business sessions, messengers elected Kirk Casey, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Idaho Falls, Idaho, as convention president. Marty Taylor, music and youth director at Mountain View Baptist Church in Layton, Utah, was elected first vice president, and Mike Palmer, pastor of Salmon Valley Baptist Church in Salmon Valley, Idaho, was elected second vice president.

Three new churches were accepted into the convention: Freedom Christian Fellowship of Price, Utah, pastored by Jim Wright; Mt. Idaho Baptist Church of Grangeville, Idaho, pastored by Jim Myers; and Trinity Baptist Church of Clearfield, Utah, pastored by Ernesto Silva.

Four new pastors were welcomed to the convention: Dennis Perkins of First Southern Baptist Church in Hurricane, Utah; Richard Ballard of First Southern Baptist Church in Cedar City, Utah; Chris Madsen of First Southern Baptist Church in Gooding, Idaho; and Stephen Wyles of Southern Utah University in Cedar City, Utah.

Don Giddens, chair of the property and loans committee, reported the convention has allocated approximately $144,000 to provide loans to churches for various needs, and the committee is researching interest rates to set competitive rates for loans provided through the convention.

Manuel Vela, chair of the program committee, presented the recommendation for the breakdown of funds given to the 2004 York-Dillman Offering for State Missions. $25,000 would be allocated for matching funds with the North American Mission Board, $15,500 would be designated for congregational assistance, $8,500 would be given to leadership development, and the remainder would be designated to a special project to be determined at the May 2003 executive board meeting.

Rodger Russell, chair of the budget committee, presented the proposed 2003 budget of $2,089,461, a decrease of $80,392 from 2002. He explained that $50,000 of the decrease is because of special funds given by NAMB for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. He said that after the Olympics, Global Outreach gave $40,000 to the two-state convention, and the UISBC executive board decided in September to use the gift over the next two years in an effort to wean the convention budget off the state missions offering so that the York-Dillman offering may be used for special missions projects as needed.

The motion to adopt the 2003 budget carried.

Russell said the Utah-Idaho convention forwards 21 cents of each dollar received in Cooperative Program giving to SBC international and national missions and ministries. Total Cooperative Program giving in 2001 was $564,559, he reported, and Cooperative Program giving through Oct. 31, 2002 is $514,926. At this rate, year-end totals are expected to be approximately $617,871, which would be a 9 percent increase over the previous year.

Don Woody, chair of the administrative committee, read the committee recommendation regarding the constitutional change effecting composition of the executive board. The administrative committee recommended that Article VI, Section 2 of the constitution be amended to read: “The Executive Board shall consist of 22 members, including the convention officers. The convention shall elect 18 members representing the constituency of the convention. One-third of these members shall be elected at the annual convention for a three-year term. After a member shall have served a three-year term, the member is eligible to be elected to a second three-year term. After the second three-year term, one three-year term shall elapse before he or she is eligible for re-election.” The motion carried.

Clint Henry, pastor of Central Valley Baptist Church in Meridian, Idaho, asked for an update on a motion made in 2001 for a partnership agreement with Argentina. Executive Director Clark addressed the question and stated that upon thorough investigation he would not recommend the convention undertake such a partnership at this time. Clark said that at the time of the recommendation the convention had not hired an employee who now has partnership ministries as part of her job assignment. Also, at the time there were three other staff vacancies in the state office, which have since been filled. Clark said he wanted to be sure that if the convention were to undertake a partnership it would be well done, effective, properly promoted, and the convention understood its commitment.

Among its resolutions, the convention resolved to teach covenant marriage principles as a support against divorce and to annually emphasize covenant marriages in churches.

Priscilla Sapp, a Southern Baptist missionary serving in eastern Africa, brought a report from the International Mission Board and thanked the convention for their support in sharing the gospel. Sapp reported that in 2001 the IMB appointed 1,155 new missionaries, and more are being called than ever before, she said. Sapp also reported that missionary needs include prayer, giving to the Cooperative Program and sending of volunteers on mission.

The 2003 annual meeting will be Oct. 21-22 at Pierce Park Baptist Church, Boise, Idaho.

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