News Articles

Mich. Baptists miss BF&M endorsement by 2 votes

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (BP)–“Doing God’s Will God’s Way” was the theme of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan’s 44th annual meeting in Grand Rapids.

“We need to live as vibrant, dynamic Christians,” Roscoe Belton, pastor of Middlebelt Baptist Church in Inkster, said in the convention sermon. “We must identify what IS God’s will.”

A proposed constitutional change to refer to the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message statement of beliefs rather than the 1963 Baptist Faith and Message was voted on after being presented at last year’s annual meeting. After a period of lively discussion, the amendment failed by two votes — 106-54 — to receive the necessary two-thirds majority.

Another important matter addressed by messengers is the future location of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan office in Southfield. After receiving a state office facility assessment, messengers voted overwhelmingly to begin the process, as funds allow, to relocate to a yet-to-be-determined site. Messengers also voted that any decisions need to be referred to the convention body for approval.

Michael Collins’ executive director’s report carried a challenge on reaching Michigan for Christ, while the convention’s 2002 emphasis on healthy churches was highlighted by Mark Donnell, state church growth ministry leader, and Alan Raughton of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Reports also were presented by various Michigan ministry leaders and representatives of SBC entities.

Other highlights included a message from Southern Baptist Convention President James Merritt on being an encourager and a Bible study by Thom Ranier of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary on Haggai 1; and missions messages by missionaries Russell Kyzar, who supervises the work of International Mission Board personnel across central and eastern Russia, and Charles and Phyllis Hardie, who reported on how God is moving in Siberia, where Michigan and Siberian Baptists are in the second year of a three-year partnership. Sixty-three Michigan Baptists have participated in missions trips to Siberia while thousands have prayed and/or given to support the partnership.

The 2002 Cooperative Missions budget was overwhelmingly approved. The overall budget of $3,128,592 is a 2.85 percent increase over 2001. In Cooperative Program giving from the convention’s 262 churches and 45 missions in, $1.7 million is anticipated, with 30 percent continuing to be allocated for Southern Baptist national and international missions and ministries. There are no excluded or preferred items in the budget.

The full slate of officers was re-elected with Bob Beddingfield, pastor, First Baptist Church, South Lyon, president; Robert Coverson, pastor, Second Chapel Hill Baptist Church (East and West), Detroit, first vice president; Ron Emmerling, pastor, Central Baptist Church, Flint, second vice president; and August Peters, pastor, Frontier Baptist Church, Hillsdale, recording secretary.

The only two-nominee ballot was in the election for first vice president, with Coverson topping Roy Southerland, pastor of Monroe Missionary Baptist Church, for the office. All others were elected by acclamation.

Adopted resolutions cited the need for additional laborers for the reaching Michigan’s 7 million lost; for prayer support and commitment to ministry in response to the terrorist attacks on the United States; and for the sanctity of human life, supporting the ending of stem cell research utilizing frozen embryos, defending the rights of the pre-born and supporting future initiatives to defend the rights of the pre-born and any other population sector threatened by those wishing to participate in, or assist in, the unnatural and unbiblical termination of human life.

The convention’s Nov. 6-8 was held at the Grand Rapids Hilton Hotel, marking the first time the state’s Baptists have held their meeting at a location other than a church. Next year’s annual meeting will be Nov. 5-7 at Middlebelt Baptist Church, Inkster.

    About the Author

  • Julie Scheving