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Kan.-Neb. Baptists pare budget, add evangelistic outreach

LEXINGTON, Neb. (BP)–Kansas-Nebraska Southern Baptists added prayerwalks and evangelistic visitation to their 65th annual meeting, Oct. 11-12 at Parkview Baptist Church in Lexington, Neb.

The full-house crowd of 238 registered messengers approved a 2011 budget of $5.19 million, nearly 10 percent below the 2010 budget. Before the vote on the budget, several messengers offered comments, including pleas for continued support of international missions efforts and renewed education about the Cooperative Program approach to missions funding. The budget passed overwhelmingly.

Bob Mills, executive director of the Kansas-Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists, affirmed the Southern Baptist Convention’s renewed focus on the Great Commission.

Mills said the convention’s “Jerusalem” includes many communities in Nebraska and Kansas like Lexington, the west-central Nebraska site of the meeting, which is home to a Tyson meat-packing plant and has a population comprised of 4,000 Anglos, 6,500 Hispanics and 2,000 Somalis. The convention’s “Judea” — the states of Kansas and Nebraska — is a place where more than 75 percent of the population does not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, Mill said, noting that 55 Nebraska counties and 33 in Kansas do not have a Southern Baptist presence.

Messengers elected one new officer: Susan Pedersen of Prairie Hills Southern Baptist Church in Augusta, Kan., who was chosen as assistant recording secretary. Other officers were re-elected: president, Ron Pracht, pastor of Olivet Southern Baptist Church in Wichita, Kan.; vice president, John Shields, pastor of Parkview Baptist Church in Lexington, Neb.; recording secretary, Bryan Jones, pastor of Tyler Road Southern Baptist Church in Wichita, Kan.; and historian, Tony Mattia, pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Wamego, Kan.

Pre-meeting activities included a new outreach event, Crossover Central Nebraska, on Monday morning, Oct. 11. A group of KNCSB staff members, directors of missions, pastors and others prayerwalked Lexington and nearby Kearney.

“We’re praying for renewal and a revival,” said Shields, Parkview’s pastor. Shields and his wife Julie have served at the church nearly 15 years.

The focus in Kearney was on the University of Nebraska-Kearney, which does not have a Southern Baptist ministry, and on a mobile home community where KNCSB leaders hope to start a church. In Lexington, part of the focus was on the ethnic communities that are home to workers at the local Tyson packing plant.

Parkview members prepared more than 80 gift bags for prayer teams to distribute in apartment complexes where Somalis live. Since the Tyson plant works three shifts, many apartment residents were asleep when the prayer teams visited. The volunteers prayed in soft voices and left gift bags by each door.

Other teams prayed over Lexington’s schools and the downtown business area. Prayer teams also covered the northside community around Parkview Baptist Church.

When the morning was over, one Lexington resident had accepted Christ, said Jon Sapp, evangelism director for the state convention. One team encountered a man who claimed to be Lexington’s only homeless person. He told them about his fear of death and the guilt he felt that he had not even attended his mother’s funeral. Sapp told him how he could overcome his fears by accepting Christ as his Savior.

The prayerwalking teams returned to Parkview for a debriefing session. Plans are being made for another Crossover event preceding the 2011 KNCBS annual meeting, slated for Oct. 17-18 at Lenexa Baptist Church in Lenexa, Kan.
Eva Wilson is associate editor of the Baptist Digest (www.baptistdigest.com), newsjournal of churches in the Kansas-Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists.

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  • Eva Wilson

    Eva Wilson is editor of the Baptist Digest, newsjournal of the Kansas-Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists. Retired editor Tim Boyd contributed to this report.

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