APPLETON, Wis. (BP) — Messengers to the annual meeting of the Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention showed commitment to the priorities established by the Southern Baptist Convention’s Great Commission Resurgence Task Force.
“The emphasis of the annual meeting was a sharpened focus on convention strategies, a recommitment to church planting and the redoubling of our effort in missions giving,” Leo Endel, the two-state convention’s executive director, said.
Messengers, who gathered at Valley Baptist Church in Appleton, Wis., Nov. 4-5, adopted the report of their MWBC Great Commission Task Force, which was appointed last year to respond to “new mission realities” being implemented by SBC entities. The adopted 2020 Strategy focuses on making disciples, starting churches, developing leaders and sharing resources.
While keeping the total 2012 budget virtually the same at just under $2 million, Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptists increased the percentage passed on through the Cooperative Program from 13.5 to 14 percent, increased the church planting budget from $295,324 to $332,825 and added a $25,008 line item for the North American Mission Board “Send” initiative in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.
This will be the second consecutive year for an increase in the percentage of Cooperative Program receipts passed on to national and international causes. MWBC is committed to a half-percent-of-CP increase each year until the figure reaches 50 percent.
The greatest budget decrease was the result of the elimination of NAMB’s funding of student ministry. Bob Smith will retire as student work director at the end of this year after serving MWBC for 28 years. He will continue doing contract student work with the convention, but the total allotment for personnel and program expenses was decreased by $60,000 in next year’s budget.
In addition to the student ministry position being eliminated, the Mayo Clinic chaplain position will be phased out of the budget by the end of 2012. All state staff salaries will be frozen for the fourth straight year.
In order to match funds promised by NAMB for church planting, MWBC churches are being challenged to increase their giving through the convention. The budget calls for CP giving from churches to increase from $496,383 to $534,162 and the Care and Share state missions offering to increase from $38,124 to $44,337.
“All 4 One and One 4 All” was the theme of the meeting, attended by 96 messengers and 47 guests representing 36 of the convention’s 150 churches and missions and all seven associations.
That also was the theme of a series of one-day meetings conducted by Endel in each association this year. During those meetings, he explained the importance of the Cooperative Program and challenged churches to commit to increase their missions giving percentage by 1 percent each year for the next three years — .75 percent a year through the Cooperative Program and .25 percent a year to their association.
Endel said the response to the meetings was positive and many churches are considering increasing their CP and associational giving.
Elected as convention officers were Mike Fahey, pastor of Roseville Baptist Church in Roseville, Minn., president; Rick Schulze, pastor of Graceway Baptist Church in Green Bay, Wis., first vice president; Mary Krome, a member of Brown Deer Baptist Church in Brown Deer, Wis., second vice president; and Wes Shemwell, a member of Midvale Baptist Church in Madison, Wis., recording secretary.
The sole resolution expressed gratitude to the host church.
Next year’s annual meeting of the Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention will be Nov. 9-10 at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Rochester, Minn.
David Williams is editor of the Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist, newsjournal of the Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention.