GREENFIELD, Wis. (BP) — Minnesota Wisconsin Baptists took a leap forward in their goal of forwarding 50 percent of Cooperative Program receipts to the Southern Baptist Convention, jumping from 22 percent this year to 32 percent next year.
With a theme of “Come to Life,” 98 messengers from 40 of the 188 churches in the Minnesota Wisconsin Baptist Convention gathered for the MWBC’s 34th annual meeting Oct. 27 28 at the new facilities of Layton Avenue Baptist Church in Greenfield, Wis.
It was in May 2010 that the MWBC Executive Board made the decision to increase the percentage of CP sent to SBC national and international missions and ministry by a half-percent a year until the 50 percent goal is reached.
The convention’s messengers have approved budgets each year that have kept that pledge, in good times and in bad, even increasing the pace four years ago:
— 2011, from 13 to 13.5 percent of anticipated CP gifts of $496,303
— 2012, from 13.5 to 14 percent of anticipated CP gifts of $534,162
— 2013, from 14 to 14.5 percent of anticipated CP gifts of $475,000
— 2014, from 14.5 to 15 percent of anticipated CP gifts of $461,500
— 2015, from 15 to 17 percent of anticipated CP gifts of $440,000
— 2016, from 17 to 20 percent of anticipated CP gifts of $468,000
— 2017, from 20 to 22 percent of anticipated CP gifts of $470,000
— 2018, from 22 to 32 percent of anticipated CP gifts of $544,000
Messengers approved the 2018 budget of $1,448,770, a 7 percent increase over 2017’s $1,352,291. The convention anticipates receiving about 37.5 percent of its budget — $544,000 — from the churches through the Cooperative Program. Other sources of income include the North American Mission Board, LifeWay Christian Resources, special missions offerings and interest.
Leo Endel was honored during the meeting for 15 years as MWBC executive director, while Bob Smith was honored for 30 years of work in the convention as “collegiate mentor, leader, friend, church planter and pastor.”
Endel, in addition to leading the MWBC, is senior pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Rochester, Minn., and teaches doctoral classes in leadership for Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he earned his doctor of ministry degree in 2012 and was named alumnus of the year in 2014.
Before leading the Minnesota-Wisconsin convention, Endel was senior pastor of Southern Hills Baptist Church in Sioux City, Iowa, from 1991-2002. He holds a master of divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and an undergraduate finance and business management degree from Central Missouri State University. He and his wife Sarah have two daughters.
Smith, in his longstanding service within the convention, currently is the MWBC’s student ministry catalyst, associate director of missions for the Twin Cities Baptist Association and pastor of Jacob’s Well Church in Minneapolis.
Prayer & unity
Endel challenged the convention’s churches to begin 2018 together with 40 Days of Prayer and distributed 3,000 copies of a devotional prayer guide to be used during the emphasis.
He shared 10 “signs your church is in trouble” and encouraged churches that observe any of the signs to “get off the bench and get back into the game.”
Endel said MWBC would help churches follow the 40 Days of Prayer with a two-and-a-half-hour strategy planning process to help each church develop a plan for revitalization.
Roy Hopgood, pastor of Mt. Horeb Baptist Church in Milwaukee, preached the Friday evening keynote address, urging people of all backgrounds to work together.
“God created one humanity and watched as we divided ourselves by geography, socio economically, culturally, by belief, race, nationality, age, career, even music,” Hopgood said. “Division is in our sin nature. We can’t get along so we divide. It seems easier to divide than to find common ground.”
Hopgood cautioned against judging others who do not speak evil of Christ and for Christians to be kind to other followers of Jesus Christ.
“I learned from the United States Marine Corps that working together, teamwork, is a matter of life and death,” Hopgood said. “As a state trooper, if I got in a tight situation, all I had to do was grab my radio and call out 1078 — officer needs assistance. Immediately troopers would come to my aid.”
Hopgood asked convention attendees, “Pastors, ministers, church planters, are you feeling all alone? If that’s you tonight, all you need to do is send out a text — 1078.”
Referring to the current controversy about athletes kneeling instead of standing during the national anthem, Hopgood said, “All of this talk over flags, standing and kneeling — I say to you as believers we must stand together and kneel together. Not in protest, but in prayer.”
Messengers approved a new five year partnership with the Missouri Baptist Convention to “promote the expansion of the Kingdom of God and the mutual encouragement of our people on mission.” As described to messengers, the partnership will provide opportunities for both state conventions and their churches to become intentionally and consistently involved in Kingdom work in another geographical area. And it is intended to be mutual and reciprocal, with both parties seeking ways to help each other more effectively reach people for Jesus.
All current officers were reelected: president, Jackie Hill, pastor of Roseville (Minn.) Baptist Church; vice president, Tony Gulbrandsen, pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Racine, Wis.; second vice president, Chris Heng, pastor of TwinCity Hmong Baptist Church in St. Paul; recording secretary, Wes Shemwell, member of Brown Deer Baptist Church in Madison, Wis.; and assistant recording secretary, Jim Gress, member of Southtown Baptist Church in Bloomington, Minn.
Next year’s annual meeting will be Oct. 26-27, 2018, at Southtown Baptist Church in Bloomington, Minn.