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Indiana Baptists approve exec board inclusiveness

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (BP)–Southern Baptists in Indiana approved a bylaw change to insure that representatives from racial and English-as-a-second-language people groups serve on the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana executive board.
The bylaw change passed by more than the two-thirds majority necessary during the convention’s Oct 28-29 annual meeting at Vann Avenue Baptist Church, Evansville.
The committee on nominations presented three names to be the first racial and/or language people group messengers on the SCBI executive board: Chul Ho Lee, central region; Elisa McCreary, south region; and Jessie Stevenson, north region.
In keeping with the convention theme of “Casting the Vision,” based on Mark 4:3, “Listen to this! Behold, the sower went out to sow,” the convention adopted a vision statement and long-range plan. The plan becomes the framework for establishing objectives for the years 1998-2000. The convention received a report from the state staff and appropriate executive board committees that expanded the objectives with strategies and actions for 1998.
The “vision” theme was apparent in the Bible studies for each session led by Ken Hemphill, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas. Hemphill spoke on the biblical basis for a vision, birth of a vision, belief of a vision and the bountiful resources to accomplish the vision.
Messengers adopted a 1998 budget of $3,648,027, a 7.58 percent increase over the current year. SCBI administrative staff anticipates Cooperative Program receipts of $2,202,800; 32.25 percent of which will be forwarded to Southern Baptist Convention missions and ministry causes, the same percentage as 1997.
John Rogers, pastor of Eastlake Baptist Church, Crown Point, was re-elected as convention president. John Duncan, pastor of First Baptist Church, Jasper, and chairman of the executive board, was elected first vice president, while Michael Thompson, pastor of Washington Avenue Baptist Church, Evansville, and 1997 president of the state Pastors’ Conference, was elected second vice president.
The meeting included a 40th-year celebration of the Baptist Foundation of Indiana. A special reception was held in honor of E. Harmon Moore, SCBI’s first executive director/treasurer and BFI founder. Addressing the convention, Moore said, “It’s been a refreshing experience for us to be with Indiana Baptists again. It’s been a refreshing thing to see what you are doing and feel your spirit. It sounds like old times.”
Charles W. Sullivan, SCBI executive director, gave his annual sermon to the convention. Using the words of the prophet Haggai, “consider your ways,” Sullivan challenged the messengers to look forward and carefully consider their ways of doing God’s kingdom work in the convention, associations and local churches.
Gary Stump was recognized as small church pastor of the year. The recognition was presented by Gary Bearce, SCBI director of Sunday school and church development. Bearce said of the small church award, “Our hope is to honor those who are serving in smaller membership churches. We recognize their vision, passion, leadership, hard work and determination.” Stump is pastor of Arlington Avenue Baptist Church, Indianapolis.
Bearce said Metro Baptist Association director of missions Doug Simpson recommended Stump for the honor. In 1991 Arlington Avenue was ready to close its doors. Stump was in a crowded Sunday school class at Northside Baptist Church, Indianapolis, when God worked to call him as Arlington Avenue’s pastor. The church had three baptisms in 1991 and gave $376 to mission causes. Six years later, the church baptized 81 and gave $50,386 to mission causes.
The convention said farewell to John Yeats, SCBI director of communications for nearly two years who became the new editor of the Oklahoma Baptist Messenger Nov 1.
In Yeats’ report to the convention, he recounted the Indiana Baptist’s growth the last two years. He said he will link up with the new editor, yet to be named, to tell of the good things occurring with the Oklahoma/Indiana partnership at the convention level as well as with associations and local churches. Yeats also promised to report the completion of the Croatian Hymnal project, when it occurs, describing it as a lasting legacy for Indiana Baptists’ partnership in the war-ravaged nation of Croatia. The current hymnal was prepared before communist domination of their country. Many hymns have music and lyrics which do not match. The new hymnal is in “high” Croatian and will be a welcomed worship tool by the growing Baptist congregations in Croatia. The “Hymnal Fund” is only $20,000 away from completion.
Outgoing international partnership coordinator Lloyd Hendrickson reported that 24 persons went from Indiana to Croatia this year in the partnership.
Hendrickson and his wife, Carol Ann, are moving to Kansas City, Mo., where he will be a special assistant to the president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Pres and Betty Van Horn have been named by the SCBI executive board as the Hendricksons’ replacements. The Van Horns are the first Hoosiers to serve as North American Mission Board Mission Service Corps volunteers at the state office. They were originally assigned by the Southern Baptist International Mission Board to serve in Croatia, but health challenges caused them to remain stateside.
Anthony Jordan, executive director-treasurer of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, spoke Wednesday evening. He prefaced his message based on John 4 by saying, “I am thrilled as I try to keep up with the work going on here in Indiana. One of the exciting things about this (Indiana-Oklahoma) partnership is that we really don’t know what’s going on entirely. But I keep getting newsletters and letters from churches in Oklahoma talking about coming to Indiana and some of you going to Oklahoma.”
The convention’s 1998 meeting will be Oct. 26-28 at Graceland Baptist Church, New Albany.