BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (BP) –- Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptists are continuing their years-long mission to designate more Cooperative Program dollars for national and international Southern Baptist ministries.
Messengers to the 2018 annual meeting agreed to give 35 percent of 2019 CP receipts to national and international ministries, a steady rise from the 17 percent that was forwarded in 2015.
The contribution from the Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention (MWBC) is anticipated to be $192,500, based on total CP receipts of $550,000, the MWBC said.
The Oct. 26-27 gathering at Southtown Baptist Church in Bloomington, Minn., was MWBC’s 35th annual meeting.
MWBC has steadily increased its CP contribution to the SBC for several years, forwarding 32 percent in 2018, 22 percent in 2017, 20 percent in 2016, and 17 percent in 2015.
Messengers approved a total 2019 budget of $1,459,075, a 0.7 percent increase over the 2018 budget of $1,448,770. In addition to CP contributions from membership churches, MWBC receives income from the North American Mission Board, LifeWay Christian Resources, missions offerings and interest.
“Give a Helping Hand” was the theme for this year’s meeting that drew 106 attendees, including 70 messengers from 40 of the convention’s 204 churches.
Host pastor Chris Reinertson welcomed messengers by reading Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, a passage that emphasizes the importance of cooperation.
“May the MWBC annual meeting remind you that you are not alone,” Reinertson said, citing the many churches in the MWBC and the more than 48,000 churches in the Southern Baptist Convention.
Newly elected officers are president Chris Heng, pastor of Twin Cities Hmong Baptist Church, St. Paul, Minn.; first vice president Bob Stine, pastor of Midvale Baptist Church in Madison, Wis.; and second vice president Jonathon Woodyard, pastor of Northfield Community Church in Northfield, Minn.
Re-elected were recording secretary Wes Shemwell, a member of Midvale Baptist Church in Madison, Wis., and assistant recording secretary Jim Gress, a member of Southtown Baptist.
Also nominated for second vice president was Paul Springer, Jr., pastor, Northwest Baptist Church in Wautosa, Wis., who received five votes fewer than Woodyard.
MWBC announced two staff changes, including the addition of an intercultural catalyst and the retirement of church planting catalyst Steve Melvin.
Na Herr currently serves as intercultural catalyst, also assuming the duties of an administrative assistant, a position that was eliminated. Melvin, will retire at year’s end after more than 33 years, he announced, with plans to continue in church planting and other ministry.
“I’ll be able to focus on my three interests,” Melvin said, voicing them as “church planting, sky diving, and grandchildren.”
In other action, messengers:
— Received a 40-day prayer guide written by MWBC leaders and were urged to use it beginning Jan. 1, 2019. The booklet, “Becoming One in Christ,” focuses on the “supernatural unity that only Christ can bring” to the church, a unity which “demonstrates the truth of the Gospel.”
— Recognized Jerry Mugg upon his retirement at year’s end from more than 20 years of service on the Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Foundation board of directors.
— Received an update on a five-year partnership established in 2017 with the Missouri Baptist Convention to “promote the expansion of the Kingdom of God and the mutual encouragement of our people on mission.” At least 25 MOBC teams have worked in partnership with MWBC under the partnership, MOBC multiplying churches catalyst Rick Hedger said, and others are ready to respond.
— Heard reports from Southern Baptist entities including LifeWay Christian Resources, the North American Mission Board, the SBC Executive Committee, GuideStone Financial Resources and Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
— Received an invitation from Builders for Christ (BFC) to form a Midwest regional BFC team based in Minnesota-Wisconsin. Charles Dunning, a member of Valley Baptist Church in Appleton, Wis., extended the invitation, having worked 25 years with Builders for Christ.
Next year’s annual meeting is scheduled Oct. 25-26, 2019, at Highland Crest Baptist Church in Green Bay, Wis.