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Mich. Baptists matched with Siberia in first-ever international partnership

MONROE, Mich. (BP)–The theme “Building For The New Millennium” matched the spirit of the meeting: Michigan Southern Baptists will enter the year 2000 with a renewed sense of commitment to reaching the lost for Christ — including a first-ever full international partnership.
The partnership, with Siberia, was highlighted and approved during the Baptist State Convention of Michigan’s Nov. 2-4 annual meeting in Monroe, with many of the 400-plus attendees specifically on hand for the historic launch.
The most commonly asked question among messengers at the Monroe Missionary Baptist Church was, “Are you going?” And the most common answer was “Yes!” (The full question: “Are you going to Siberia on a partnership missions journey?” The full answer: “I’m praying about my involvement. But, yes, I am available to go!”)
The peak of the Wednesday evening service was an international phone call with Edvard Genlic, superintendent of missions in Novosibirsk, Siberia. A packed worship center listened as International Mission Board missionary Charles Hardie interpreted for Genlic and BSCM Executive Director Michael Collins.
The question-and-answer format gave Genlic the opportunity to present needs and speak of Siberian Baptists’ anticipation about the future relationship with Michigan Southern Baptists.
When Collins first presented the partnership with Siberia, he told messengers and guests, “Why should we go somewhere others have already been? That’s not our style.” He went on to say that “God opened these doors.”
The partnership was unanimously approved. It will extend from Jan. 1, 2000, through Dec. 31, 2002.
In various messages during the convention, each speaker brought words of encouragement from Scripture and shared what was on their heart. Ralph West, pastor of Brookhollow Baptist Church, Houston, for example, led a Bible study each session, using Ephesians as the text and relating the position, privileges, purpose, prayer and potential of the church as outlined by the apostle Paul.
Others bringing messages were O.S. Hawkins, president of the Annuity Board, “Walking In the Fear Of God;” Darrell Robinson, North American Mission Board, “Celebrate Jesus 2000;” Paige Patterson, president of the SBC and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, “Spiritual Midwives;” Charles Hardie, IMB missionary to Siberia, “God at Work in Siberia;” and Carlos Quinones, associate pastor of First Spanish American Baptist Church, Pontiac, “Wisdom for the War.”
Collins encouraged Michigan Southern Baptists to “go with your whole heart” to reach our state. “Exciting days are ahead. We need to be moving forward,” he said, cautioning, however, “You can have momentum and be going the wrong way.
“We need to be moving ahead with our whole heart,” he said.
Convention President George Fountain focused his message on the fact that “little is much in the hands of the Master,” using Philippians 3:12-16 as his text. “In our own hearts we need a sense of holy dissatisfaction,” he said. “We are in a battle for the eternal souls of men and women, boys and girls.”
Officers for 2000 were re-elected by acclamation: Fountain, pastor of Raisinville Baptist Church, Monroe; First Vice President Bob Beddingfield, pastor of First Baptist Church, South Lyon; Second Vice President Tom Fishell, pastor of Roscommon (Mich.) Baptist Church, and recording secretary August Peters, pastor of Frontier Baptist Church, Hillsdale.
The only resolution brought to the floor was one of appreciation for the host church, which was passed unanimously.
The budget was overwhelmingly approved after considerable discussion. Totaling $3,248,943 for the year 2000, it is a 3.88 percent increase over the current budget. It anticipates $1,549,076 in Cooperative Program giving by Michigan’s 259 churches and 47 missions, with 28 percent designated for Southern Baptist national and international missions and ministries. Messengers also agreed that if the budget is met, an additional 1 percent will be sent to SBC causes. (There are no excepted or preferred items in the budget.)
Next year’s annual meeting will be Nov. 7-9 at Eastgate Baptist Church, Burton.

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  • Julie Scheving