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Minn.-Wis. Baptists focus on evangelism, missions with Russia

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (BP)–Messengers to the 19th annual session of the Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention added a section on evangelism and missions to the convention’s Twenty-First Century Strategies and approved a three-year partnership with Russian Baptists.

Meeting at the Holiday Inn Select in Bloomington, Minn., Oct. 31-Nov. 2, the 90 messengers and 81 visitors in attendance focused on joint efforts of evangelism, missions and ministry as they worshiped and conducted business under the theme of “Living and Sharing the Blessings of Christ.”

A key item of business was the approval of a MWBC executive board recommendation that the Twenty-First Century Strategies be amended to include a fifth section emphasizing evangelism and missions.

The MWBC’s guiding document, which is used in the planning and evaluation of all convention work, was originally adopted March 2000 and included four “vision focus points”: prepare for spiritual awakening; develop leaders/empower believers; plant churches in every community and place; and grow healthy churches.

The revised strategies include a fifth focus area: mobilize believers for evangelism and missions. Evangelism and missions had been included in other sections, but the executive board had recognized the need to emphasize them as a separate focus area.

The highlight of the five-session meeting was the adoption and official signing of a partnership agreement with the Evangelical Christian Baptists of the Primorski Krai in Russia. Other parties in the agreement are the Southern Baptist International Mission Board and IMB’s Team Vladivostok (Team Vlad), missionaries assigned to the key city of the area.

The Friday evening action on the partnership appropriately followed a mini-concert by the choir of Bloomington’s Slavic Baptist church and the presentation of flags representing countries with missionaries related to MWBC.

Glen Land, MWBC state missions director, presented the background and details of the partnership. After messengers adopted the proposal, Tim Wicker, coordinator for Team Vlad, addressed the convention and presented the partnership agreement, already signed by Russian and IMB representatives. Leo Endel, MWBC executive director, signed the agreement on behalf of the convention.

The purpose of the partnership, according to the document, is to help Russian Baptists proclaim the gospel to the people of Primorski Krai, Russia, “so as to accelerate a church planting movement in the Russian Far East and the development of New Testament churches.” The time frame of the partnership is Nov. 4, 2002, through Nov. 4, 2005. Primary actions include direct evangelism and church planting, evangelism and discipleship through camp ministry, and evangelism and discipleship through student ministry.

The first mission trip to Vladivostok is scheduled for July 5-20, 2003.

Elected to second terms as convention president and first vice president, respectively, were layman Charles Dunning of Valley Baptist Church in Appleton, Wis., and Dan Yoder, pastor of Calvary Pines church in Cohasset, Minn. Dennis Murphy, pastor of Northern Oaks Community Church in Minnetonka, Minn., was elected second vice president. Murphy had been nominated as first vice president but was defeated by the incumbent Yoder.

Messengers also approved a $2,209,998 budget for 2003, less than a 1 percent increase over the 2002 budget of $2,191,156.

The budget includes anticipated gifts of $100,000 to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions and $55,000 to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions, which will be forwarded directly to the mission boards of the Southern Baptist Convention.

The budget sets the share of Cooperative Program gifts to be sent on to Southern Baptist Convention causes at 13 percent of receipts from the churches, the same as the current budget. Based on anticipated receipts from churches of $499,722, the amount forwarded to the SBC in 2003 will be $64,964.

The largest source of income in the budget is $1,082,352 from the North American Mission Board. The convention also will receive $250,000 from the Baptist General Convention of Texas and another $44,252 through that convention’s Mary Hill Davis State Missions Offering. The budget includes anticipated receipts of $44,500 through MWBC’s Care and Share state missions offering. LifeWay Christian Resources will contribute $47,300 to the budget. The remaining $86,116 will come from designated gifts and interest.

Messengers defeated a motion from Rick Hartley, pastor of Northern City Church in Duluth, Minn., that the bylaws be amended to require the nominating committee to consult with associational directors of missions.

Messengers also approved, without discussion, resolutions:

— Expressing “firm opposition to the practice of abortion.”

— Encouraging member churches to support local and national leaders in prayer.

— Asking M-W Baptists to pray for Leo Endel, MWBC executive director.

— Affirming the covenant marriage movement.

— Expressing appreciation to Southtown Baptist Church of Bloomington, Minn., and Stan McFall, pastor, for hosting the annual meeting.

The 2003 annual meeting will be Oct. 30-Nov. 1 at the Sheraton Hotel in Madison, Wis.

    About the Author

  • David Williams