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Ind. Baptists commit to pray for 2004 SBC annual meeting

NEW ALBANY, Ind. (BP)–This year’s annual meeting of the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana included an emphasis on praying hourly for the 2004 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Indianapolis.

Messengers were challenged to sign up for a specific hour to pray each week for the SBC annual meeting, with 145 hours now being covered among the 168 hours in a week.

With “Lighting Our Horizon” as the convention theme, 197 messengers representing 102 churches gathered with more than 200 guests for the Oct. 28-29 sessions at Graceland Baptist Church in New Albany.

Messengers unanimously approved a 2004 budget of $4,498,689, a 0.6 percent increase over the current year, with $2,702,419 in Cooperative Program gifts anticipated from Indiana Baptist churches. The convention will continue to forward 32.5 percent of CP receipts to Southern Baptist Convention national and international missions and ministries.

Damon Jones, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Greenfield, was elected convention president. He was the lone nominee for the post, as were Scott Wilkins, pastor of Fall Creek Baptist Church in Indianapolis, for first vice president and Jim Bullock, pastor of Colgate Baptist Church in Clarksville, for second vice president. During the past year, Jones served as the convention’s first vice president and Wilkins as second vice president. Sara Burk of Grace Baptist Church in Evansville was re-elected recording secretary.

Messengers passed a resolution in support of Marriage Protection Week and the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment. Stating that “marriage is the union of one man and one woman as God intends,” the convention said it continues to “oppose steadfastly all efforts by any court or state legislature to validate or legalize same-sex marriage or other equivalent unions,” commits to “pray for and support legislative and legal efforts to oppose the legalization of same-sex unions” and calls upon “all families to encourage their U.S. Senators and Congressmen to support the Federal Marriage Amendment.”

Another resolution underscored religious liberty. Messengers affirmed “the believer’s liberty and responsibility to declare Jesus Christ as the solution to this world’s needs” and “the right to proclaim that this nation is subject to the sovereign hand of the Almighty.” Citing “the Judeo-Christian roots of our nation,” the resolution noted “their contribution in the authoring of the Constitution and the establishment of our system of laws and order.” The resolution also affirmed “our position as Southern Baptists that God has created every individual with the freedom to embrace and express their faith.”

Messengers heard reports from the International Mission Board, North American Mission Board, LifeWay Christian Resources, Annuity Board and other SBC leaders.

SBC President Jack Graham spoke about the anticipated meeting of Southern Baptists in Indianapolis next June and challenged the state to be faithful in their work for the Kingdom of God.

“Faithfulness is the fidelity to keep our commitments even when the circumstances have changed,” Graham, pastor of the Dallas-area Prestonwood Baptist Church, said, while preaching from 1 Corinthians 4 about finishing well.

Phil Roberts, president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo., spoke from Matthew 16 about how Jesus builds His church, noting, “We need to recapture Jesus’ vision of the church as a conquering, victorious church.”

Jim Hamilton, outgoing president of the Indiana convention and pastor of First Baptist Church in Sellersburg, said in his president’s address that a unified calling connects all Indiana Baptists to God’s redemptive plan for people.

“The church is not built around a pastor or people but around the purpose of the Lord Jesus Christ,” he said, preaching from Acts 2 about church growth.

Messengers were also briefed about two specific partnerships they have been part of: one with the Florida Baptist Convention and one with the Ukraine.

Two representatives from the Florida convention greeted messengers and reported on the progress of the partnership. More than 240 Floridians have participated in mission projects in Indiana, they said, and many people from Indiana have helped with Vacation Bible School and other projects in Florida. Indiana has sent a letter to the Florida convention requesting an extension of the partnership for three more years.

Regarding the Ukraine partnership, messengers were challenged to pray for the Ukraine and to send mission teams while the doors of opportunity are open.

The Indiana convention’s 2004 meeting will be Oct. 26-27 at Grace Baptist Church in Evansville.

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