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Ill. Baptists emphasize church planting

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (BP)–Illinois Baptists welcomed 18 congregations into membership and focused on starting new churches during the 103rd annual meeting of the Illinois Baptist State Association Nov. 11-12 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Springfield.

Messengers approved a 2010 budget of $9,060,400, a fraction of a percent less than the previous year due to an expected drop in investment income, and kept the percentage of Cooperative Program dollars sent to national and international causes at 43.25 percent.

The approved budget maintains a Cooperative Program goal of $6,850,000 with any CP funds received beyond to be distributed at a 50/50 ratio.

Doug Munton, pastor of First Baptist Church in O’Fallon, was elected IBSA president by acclamation. Jonathan Peters, pastor of First Baptist Church in Columbia, was elected vice president over Joel Newton, pastor of Woodland Baptist Church in Peoria. Wilma Booth, a member of Calvary Baptist Church in Elgin, was unopposed for recording secretary.

The meeting’s church planting theme of “Churches for Everyone” was interpreted throughout the meeting through video testimonies, sermons and a Wednesday night program that introduced more than 30 Illinois church planters.

IBSA President Kevin Kerr, pastor of First Baptist Church in Machesney Park, began each business session with a brief directed prayer time and ended with prayer led by an Illinois associational director of missions. His president’s message focused on the church planting theme.

“We must start churches for every population group and every location in Illinois,” Kerr said. “It is a daunting task to think 8.2 million people in Illinois do not know Christ.”

In the meeting’s annual sermon, Michael Allen, pastor of Chicago’s Uptown Baptist Church, discussed the diversity of his church’s neighborhood which includes everyone from the homeless to the affluent in 27 language groups.

Noting this diversity exists throughout the state, Allen concluded, “If we’re going to have churches for everyone, we’ve got to be the church for everyone. Is your church a church for everyone? Can anyone regardless of sexual orientation, ethnicity, race or culture come to your church and feel welcome? If we’re going to have churches for everyone, we’ve got to be the church for everyone.”

Five resolutions were approved without opposition. They focused on adoption and orphan care; encouraging enhanced cooperation between churches; integrity within local and state association leadership, church leadership and GuideStone Financial Resources; appreciation for The Illinois Baptist newspaper; and appreciation for Christian educators.

Nate Adams, the convention’s executive director, paid special tribute to three former Illinois Baptists who died this year. Ernest Mosely, who served as IBSA executive director from 1980-86, died in July in North Carolina. Kaye Shipley was serving as president of Illinois Woman’s Missionary Union when she died in August. And Fred Winters, pastor of First Baptist Church in Maryville and the IBSA’s immediate past president, was shot and killed at his church in March.

The 493 Illinois Baptists registered as messengers and 59 registered guests were led in worship by praise teams from Carlinville Southern Baptist Church and Delta Church in Springfield as well as the Illinois Baptist Singing Churchmen and the IBSA Orchestra.

The IBSA Pastors’ Conference, held prior to the annual meeting, featured six Bible teachers: Ronnie Floyd, Arkansas pastor and chair of the SBC’s Great Commission Resurgence Task Force; John Franklin, Kentucky pastor and author; James Garlow, pastor of Skyline Church in San Diego; Phil Miglioratti, IBSA prayer ministries consultant; Alvin Reid, professor of evangelism at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary; and Brady Weldon, evangelist.

Floyd held a one-hour question-and-answer session about the GCR Task Force following the Pastors’ Conference. He answered a dozen questions from 50 Illinois Baptists concerning Cooperative Program giving of GCR task force members, how the task force is assessing what needs to be done, and how to prioritize church planting in North America.

Floyd said he believes a lack of biblical stewardship is one of the underlying problems in the convention.

“God tells individuals to tithe and honor Him with the first tenth and with offerings, but studies show the average evangelical gives 2.4 percent to all charities,” Floyd said. “How are we going to change the world with the Gospel when 98 cents of every dollar given stays in the churches and 98 cents of every dollar earned stays in the pocket of the member?”

Regarding church planting, Floyd said, “I believe charging out of the gate of our report will be a real commitment to Gospel churches planting Gospel churches planting Gospel churches. I don’t know what that will look like yet, but the report will ring the bell for church planting.”

He also strongly encouraged pastors and laymen to go to the SBC annual meeting in Orlando in June to vote on the GCR report.

“We’re trying to build a coalition to get us to Orlando. You need to go to Orlando. This next convention is mega-important. The next two or three decades of Southern Baptist life could hinge on what is embraced or rejected in Orlando,” Floyd said.

Next year’s annual meeting will be Nov. 10-11 in Springfield.
Martin King is editor of the Illinois Baptist (www.ibsa.org/illinoisbaptist/current), newsjournal of the Illinois Baptist State Association. Associate editor Lisa Sergent contributed to this report.

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  • Martin King