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Iowa Baptists celebrate 10 years as a convention

WINTERSET, Iowa (BP)–The 10th annual meeting of the Baptist Convention of Iowa returned to the church where the convention was founded in 1995, First Baptist in Winterset. In addition to the 10th anniversary, messengers also celebrated 50 years of Southern Baptist work in the state.

The Nov. 4-5 meeting was attended by 127 messengers and 38 guests from 47 churches.

BCI President Dan Doolin said the convention owes a great debt to the early Baptist pioneers who founded the first Iowa Southern Baptist church in 1954 — Fairview Baptist in Anamosa -– and the first Iowa association in 1965. In 1972, the Iowa Southern Baptist Fellowship was organized, serving as Iowa Baptists’ statewide body until the convention was established in 1995.

Doolin recognized messengers who contributed to the convention by having them stand in conjunction with the decade they joined Iowa Baptist work.

David Brown and Joe Needham gave a history presentation during the Friday night session, highlighting early pioneers and churches, complete with a slide show of the progression of Iowa churches through the decades. Brown is a retired minister who currently serves as interim pastor of University Baptist Church in Ames. Needham is pastor of Living Hope Baptist Church in Ossian and a history professor at Luther College in Decorah. He also has led the BCI history committee to reorganize the historical archives of the convention.

Several Baptist pioneers spoke of their early involvement in Iowa Baptist work, including Jean Hulsey, former Woman’s Missionary Union director and wife of the late Lonney Hulsey, who served churches in Davenport, Albia and Glenwod. Jean Hulsey now lives in Lebanon, Mo.

Convention business actions included:

— approval of the 2006-2010 BCI Strategy Plan “Empowering Kingdom Growth.” The plan calls for strategic objectives to “hold to one another, abide in Christ and reach out to others” based on scriptural mandates from Galatians 6:1-10, John 15:4 and Acts 1:8. The convention promises to help churches to: make and mature disciples, stay healthy, start new churches and strengthen associations. These priorities will be implemented through: servant leaders, information and training and strategic resources. BCI Executive Director Jimmy Barrentine gave a summary of the three scriptural mandates in his annual report. A more detailed explanation of the new strategy plan may be found on the executive team tab of the convention’s website at www.bcisbc.com.

— the BCI budget, which anticipates 2006 income and disbursements of $1,822,276, a .22 percent increase over the previous year. As in previous years, 20 percent of Cooperative Program gifts from Iowa churches will be sent to the Southern Baptist missions causes and 80 percent will be used for Iowa missions and ministries.

The resolutions committee acted on three submitted resolutions. Two were recommended for approval:

— a resolution calling for the establishment in each church of a prayer coordinator whose ministry will be to use e-mail and other means to share daily, brief prayer and praise reminders with the congregation. It is hoped that such a ministry will strengthen the prayer life of individuals and churches.

— appreciation to First Baptist Church of Winterset for hosting both the 1995 meeting when the Baptist Convention of Iowa was founded and the 2005 meeting celebrating the 10th anniversary.

The committee declined to recommend a resolution calling for a designation of a convention volunteer missions coordinator. It was explained that staff and volunteers currently in place are doing this ministry.

The credentials committee recommended the seating of messengers from six new congregations that have requested affiliation with the convention, including First Grace Baptist Church, Sheffield; Friends Baptist Church, Waterloo; Heartland Community Baptist Church, Sioux City and Hope Baptist Church of Laurens. Provisional affiliation was granted for Our Church in Wayland and New Birth Baptist Church in Ames.

Convention officers were re-elected to their positions: president, Dan Doolin, pastor of Solid Rock Baptist Church in Wapello; first vice president, Larry Carter, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Clinton; second vice president, Bob Stout, pastor of Quimby (Iowa) Baptist Church; and recording secretary Terry Wilkinson, co-pastor of CrossPointe Church in West Des Moines.

Doolin based his presidential address on Phillipians 1:6: “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (NIV).

“What God has begun in the convention will become complete, because what He begins, He completes,” Doolin told messengers.

Mike Carlson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Winterset, delivered the convention sermon, titled “The Glory of God” on the prayer of Jesus recorded in John 17.

Preaching a verse-by-verse exposition of the chapter, Carlson said, “We need to celebrate all God has done in the past 10 years — but God is not done! Don’t leave Iowa or this earth until you have completed all God wants you to do. We are all busy, with a big agenda, but it is not what we have on our agenda that counts; it is what the Father has for us that matters most.”
Richard Nations is publications editor for the Baptist Convention of Iowa.

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