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Mich. ‘His Plan, Our Purpose’ celebration includes CP increase, Siberia partnership

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BURTON, Mich. (BP)–Michigan Baptists celebrated the theme “His Plan, Our Purpose” during their Nov. 7-9 annual meeting at Eastgate Baptist Church, Burton.

Attended by 330 messengers and nearly 200 guests, the sessions were a celebration of unity as well as highlighting the pursuit of God’s plan as the key purpose of Michigan Southern Baptists.

Executive Director Michael Collins led the first session with a challenge to the crowd that included reflection on the past (as far back as the Great Commission), the present (examining growth in the ministries of Michigan Southern Baptists) and the future (plans to carry out his purpose).

In a program change at this year’s meeting, the 2001 budget was both presented and approved during the opening session. The change was made possible after widespread pre-convention distribution of the budget and associational opportunities for questions. After minimal discussion, the budget was overwhelmingly approved. The 2001 budget of $3,551,557, an increase of more than $50,000 over the current budget.

The Cooperative Program portion of the budget, $511,188, includes a 2 percent increase in the percentage of the budget, or now 30 percent, devoted to Southern Baptist national and international missions and ministries. As in past years, there are no excepted or preferred items in the budget.

Collins and International Mission Board missionaries Charles and Phyllis Hardie reported on the partnership between Michigan and Siberian Baptists — the first full international partnership for the state. Highlights from the four teams who have already ministered in Siberia were shared and future opportunities for service were noted.

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Reports from Michigan ministry leaders included Peter Kendrick in cooperative missions, including testimonies of church planters highlighting the Partners in The Harvest theme for this year’s 75th anniversary celebration of the Cooperative Program; Mark Donnell, church growth, and Gary MacManamy, evangelism, who highlighted resources and upcoming events.

Representatives of SBC entities included Michael Wilcox of the Annuity Board; Jack Wilkerson, Executive Committee; Andrea Mullins, Woman’s Missionary Union; Mike Rhine, North American Mission Board; Hershael York of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; Roger and Margaret Lewis, International Mission Board; and Barry Campbell, LifeWay Christian Resources.

Paul Powell, retired president of the Annuity Board, began each session with a Bible study from the Revelation letters to the churches.

Baptist State Convention of Michigan President George Fountain, pastor of Raisinville Baptist Church, Monroe, brought his message, from John 4, as part of the Wednesday evening session, examining God’s plans for believers both personally and corporately. He reminded the crowd that the things of this earth never completely satisfy, that Jesus is all and provides all. Jesus went where others would not go, did what others would not do and said what others could not say, Foundation said.

Gary Hardin, pastor of Crossroads Community Baptist Church, Ann Arbor, brought the annual sermon, examining the components of a Christ-centered life reflected in Colossians 1. A healthy Christian life, he said, happens when believers cultivate faith, hope and love.

Coming to a close is the longest state-to-state partnership in the Southern Baptist Convention. James Porch, executive director of the Tennessee Baptist Convention, was presented a plaque by Collins on behalf of Michigan Southern Baptists in appreciation for the Tennessee-Michigan partnership that is concluding after 21 years.

All officers were elected by acclamation: president, Bob Beddingfield, pastor of First Baptist Church, South Lyon; first vice president, Robert Coverson, pastor of Second Chapel Hill Missionary Baptist Church, Detroit; and second vice president, Ron Emmerling, pastor of Central Baptist Church, Flint. August Peters, pastor of Frontier Baptist Church, Hillsdale, was re-elected recording secretary.

A proposed amendment to the constitution was presented in writing as outlined by the existing constitution. Ron Libey, pastor of First Baptist Church, Gwinn, proposed changing the existing document to include in Article II, Articles of Faith, “We adopt as our statement of faith, the Baptist Faith and Message, as adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention, June 2000.” The amendment will be voted on at the 2001 annual meeting, Nov. 6-8 at the Hilton Hotel in Grand Rapids.

Resolutions approved included a resolution in support of the Cooperative Program and its 75th anniversary celebration and a resolution on evangelism in a pluralistic society committing afresh to evangelism.
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