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Iowa Baptists seek to multiply disciples

DES MOINES, Iowa (BP) — The Annual Meeting of the Baptist Convention of Iowa was held amidst a renewed spirit of cooperation, purpose and a desire to multiply disciples and churches.

The meeting drew 145 messengers representing 48 churches and 21 guests.

The worship team and worship minister Chris Johnson from Grand Avenue Baptist Church in Ames led the music throughout the Nov.1-2 meeting at the Merle Hay Holiday Inn and Suites in Des Moines.

Messengers approved a recommendation that next year’s annual meeting be changed from a two-day meeting to a one-day event. Reasons for this recommendation included a cost savings to the convention and a hope that more lay leadership and bi-vocational pastors will be able to attend the meeting.

New officers include: Lloyd Eaken, pastor of Fairview Baptist Church in Anamosa, president; Ken Livingston, pastor of First Grace Baptist Church in Sheffield, vice president; Ken Kraft, pastor of New Life Baptist Church in Kingsley, second vice president; and Jerome Risting, member of Temple Baptist Church in Mason City, secretary.

At the close of the Friday evening session, messengers greeted Mike and Ginny Roberts to celebrate Mike’s transition from the position of church planting catalyst in the Northeast and Great Rivers associations to the position of director of missions for Great Rivers.

Tom Law, interim executive director for the convention, encouraged congregations to raise their giving to the Cooperative Program by 1 percent a year for the next three years so that by 2016 the Baptist Convention of Iowa’s Cooperative Program income will be about $750,000. This will help allow the convention to stand stronger on its own as a Southern Baptist Convention partner, Law said.

Law expanded on the concept of Multiplying Disciples, Mutliplying Churches (xDxC) that had been introduced by church planting catalyst Roger Graves early in the meeting. Calissa (Livingston) Holan shared a related testimony about the ministry opportunities that xDxC has brought about in her life.

The xDxC discipleship process is a way to develop strong healthy churches, Law explained. It also is a tool to disciple people and train them to disciple others.

“xDxC is enabling churches to take ownership of their communities as pastors challenge individuals to reach out to the people in their lives,” Law shared. “Roger Graves is excited to train more churches and individuals in the xDxC process. We can look for more opportunities to learn about xDxC in the near future.”

Law thanked Joni Wilkinson, Woman’s Missionary Union director, for planning and promoting the Iowa Missions Offering. Law and Wilkinson presented a certificate to Roger Vester, pastor of New Life Church in Davenport, for the largest single contribution of $2,989.05 to the Iowa Missions Offering in 2012. A certificate was presented to Andrew Estes, pastor of First Baptist Church, Albia, for the largest per capita giving to the Iowa Missions Offering in 2012.

Dan Doolin, chairman of the Executive Director Search Team, gave a progress report on the search for Iowa’s next executive director. The search team is moving into the next phase of the process by identifying the top candidates and beginning to interview those candidates. Committee members include Doolin; Mike Carlson, vice-chairman; Jerome Risting; Bob Stout; Ted Keys; Eugene Guthrie; Chuck Spindler; and alternate John Faulkner. The team has received and reviewed numerous resumes and is seeking to hear God’s voice during this process, Doolin reported.

Micah Fries, vice president of LifeWay Research, delivered the annual sermon. He preached from 2 Timothy 3:10-15. He challenged messengers to create a culture of disciple-making in their churches.

The constitutional changes presented at the 2012 Annual meeting were given a second reading and were ratified by a show of ballots. The method of determining messenger representation was changed from numerical and financial to a strictly financial basis. Changes also allow mid-term vacancies to be filled upon recommendation of the Administrative Committee and by a two-thirds vote of the Executive Board members who are present and voting.

Bylaw changes that were approved included the merger of the Committee on Committees and the Executive Board Nominating Committee into one Nominating Committee, and the elimination of the Baptist State Paper Committee with the creation of a new Media/Digital Team to lead in areas of communication.

Other constitutional changes were submitted for a first reading, including making the position of second vice president a convention officer, the elimination of Executive Board standing committees, and a change in nomenclature from “association” to “region” for the election of Executive Board members. These changes were passed by a show of ballots, and will be given a second reading during the 2014 Annual Meeting.

Read the full text of these changes at bciowa.org/constitution. They also were printed in the October edition of the Iowa Baptist.

Next year’s meeting will be held Nov. 8 at the Merle Hay Holiday Inn and Suites in Des Moines. The 2015 annual meeting is scheduled for Nov. 7, 2015.


Compiled by Jon Ole Olsen, publication editor of the Iowa Baptist News.

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