DES MOINES, Iowa (BP) — Iowa Baptists affirmed their continuing commitment to forward 50 percent of their anticipated Cooperative Program receipts to Southern Baptist Convention causes and pledged $100,000 to help those among the most vulnerable in the state.
A total of 142 messengers from 57 churches from across Iowa met on Nov. 5 for the 21st annual meeting of the Baptist Convention of Iowa (BCI) at the Holiday Inn & Suites in Des Moines, Iowa. Pastor Darin Ulmer and his wife Sarah of Community Baptist Church of Marion provided worship music throughout the meeting.
Executive Director Tim Lubinus shared an update on church planting stating that the BCI partnered with six new church starts in 2016 and that they have a goal of planting 10 additional churches in 2017.
The BCI and North American Mission Board have entered a partnership with four Iowa church planting churches to develop, place and support one new church start a year.
These churches are Redeemer Church in Cedar Rapids, First Family Church in Ankeny, New Heights Church in Indianola, and Cornerstone Church in Ames. Soon after starting the program, Cornerstone Church began partnering directly with NAMB to focus beyond Iowa to start churches and collegiate ministries in university cities in the Midwest.
The list of six new church starts in 2016 includes Christ Point Baptist Church, Shenandoah; Frontier Church, Des Moines; Anthem Church, Columbia, Mo.; Paragon Church, Grinnell; Cottage Grove Church, Des Moines; and Capitol City Church.
Church planters Andy Norris of Cottage Grove, Noel Gandy of Christ Point, Coel Deike of Frontier, and Cody Hinton of Paragon participated in a church planting panel. During the discussion, they addressed the joys and challenges of planting churches in the cities, college campuses and rural towns of Iowa.
Iowa Ministry Fund
In order to better reach the state for Christ, to help the hurting, and to provide more opportunities for service, the BCI established the Iowa Ministry Fund. This fund seeks to support organizations and ministries that offer God’s mercy, love and truth to those who are among the most vulnerable across the state. Some of these ministries help population groups that require more attention and skills than most church members or churches can normally provide.
Messengers approved a budget that allocates $100,000 to the Iowa Missions Fund consisting of 10 percent of BCI Cooperative Program receipts and 50 percent of the Iowa Missions Offering with the balance to be made up from reserves and foundation investments. The Iowa Missions Fund will distribute $10,000 to various ministries in 2017.
Messengers voted to continue to send 50 percent of Cooperative Program receipts to SBC missions and ministry causes through the International Mission Board and North American Mission Board, support of Southern Baptist seminaries, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, and other SBC ministries.
Messengers approved a 2017 budget during the meeting of $1.64 million dollars, a 4.4 percent reduction from 2016 reflecting significant saving from the change to a mobile office structure. Lubinus stated that the new structure has allowed the state convention to redirect some administrative costs toward ministry uses and allows BCI staff to be more available to support churches and church planters around the state.
Cooperative Program giving by Iowa churches is anticipated to increase by 1 percent to $625,000. Other sources of income include the Iowa Mission Offering and receipts from the North American Mission Board, Lifeway, GuideStone, WMU, investments and foundations.
Iowa Baptists honored John Shaull, BCI pastor/church support, for his 16 years of service. Shaull has been one of the longest serving BCI staff and is well known and appreciated by pastors in central Iowa and beyond. John has announced that he will retire from the BCI at the end of the year. Tim Lubinus thanked him for his many years of service saying, “We are grateful to God that John has such a legacy of service with BCI churches.”
Roger S. Oldham, vice president for convention communications and relations with the SBC Executive Committee, thanked Iowa Baptists for their generosity in forwarding 50 percent of CP receipts to the Southern Baptist Convention, noting that Iowa was among the first states to do so.
Steve Bass, vice president for convention relations for the North American Mission Board, spoke to the messengers and guests about church planting partnerships and the planting of churches focused on collegiate ministry.
BCI President Ken Livingston gave the annual sermon speaking on Ephesians 5:18-19, exhorting the messengers and guests to live “Under the Influence” of the Holy Spirit, rather than under worldly influences.
Officers elected at the annual meeting were President Robert Knight, pastor of New Birth Baptist Church, Ames; Vice President Brandon Barker, pastor of Westwind Church, Waukee; Second Vice President Jack Owens, Stonebridge Church, Boone; and Secretary Jerome Risting, Temple Baptist Church, Mason City.
The BCI has partnered with Hispanic church planters Gilmer Mauricio and Arnaldo Achucarro, adding them as BCI staff this year to support Hispanic pastors and churches in the state and to develop additional leaders.
The first Hispanic Conference for Pastors and Leaders was held prior to the BCI annual meeting with pastor Luis Manuel Mendoza and nearly 30 individuals in attendance. Achucarro stated that he is honored to serve as part of the BCI staff to help develop more Hispanic leaders and church planters for our state. He also added his thanks to pastor Mendoza for the challenging sermons.
More than 130 Iowa pastors, pastoral staff and their spouses gathered for a banquet Friday night prior to the annual meeting for a time of fellowship and worship. Trevin Wax, Bible and reference publisher for LifeWay Christian Resources, spoke during the banquet addressing the challenges and opportunities facing the evangelical church today. Wax was also the guest speaker for Iowa’s annual meeting, speaking from 1 Peter 2:11-17 about what it means to live as God’s Kingdom people in our secular world.
The Baptist Convention of Iowa is 108 like-minded churches with nearly 13,000 members who have organized together for greater ministry impact, focusing in the areas of church planting, church development and community transformation. The BCI pools resources for extending ministry into new areas and population segments within Iowa and around the world, provides mutual support and develops the next generation of Baptist leaders.
The 2017 annual meeting of the Baptist Convention of Iowa will be held on Nov. 4.