News Articles

Miss. Baptists adopt budget of $25 million without dissent

JACKSON, Miss. (BP)–The Mississippi Baptist Convention adopted without a dissenting vote among 1,476 messengers a 1998 Cooperative Program budget of $25,546,608 during their Oct. 28-29 annual meeting in Jackson.
The group also passed resolutions which called for personal opposition to abortion, commitment to prayer for persecuted Christians around the world, and encouraged worship of God over entertainment on Sundays.
Elected president was Dean Register, 46, pastor of Temple Baptist Church, Hattiesburg. He succeeds Jimmy Porter, pastor of First Baptist Church, McComb, who completed two one-year terms as president, the traditional limit.
One of three nominees for president, Register won 630 to 486 in a runoff with Clarence Cooper, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church, Grenada. The other nominee was Clark Stewart, pastor of Harmony Baptist Church, Crystal Springs.
Two directors of missions were elected as first and second vice president.
Kenneth Rhodes, DOM for Pearl River County Baptists, was elected first vice president, 371 to 283, in a runoff ballot with Richard Powell, pastor of Colonial Heights Baptist Church, Jackson. The other nominee was P.J. Scott, pastor of First Baptist Church, Olive Branch.
Elected second vice president was Paul Blanchard, DOM for Winston County Baptists. He defeated Ken Dawson, pastor of Temple Heights Baptist Church, Oxford, 331 to 278.
Gus Merritt, interim pastor of Hazel Baptist Church, Lake, was elected recording secretary. And Michael Weeks, pastor of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, Olive Branch, and a former DOM, was elected associate recording secretary.
A total of 37 percent, the same percentage as 1997, of the Cooperative Program budget, or $9,452,245, will be sent to Southern Baptist causes outside the state. With a 5.8 percent, or $1.4 million, overall budget increase, the SBC portion will receive $518,563 more than in 1997.
Within that SBC portion, $257,926 is allocated for “home mission work in Mississippi.” This is the approximate amount that formerly was sent to the North American Mission Board and returned to Mississippi.
Currently, the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board keeps that amount for home missions projects.
Another $2,095,385 still goes to NAMB for mission work in other states.
The abortion resolution comes in anticipation of the 25th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton Supreme Court rulings which legalized abortion. The resolution called for 25 days of prayer, Jan. 1-25, to end abortion. It also called for support of Gov. Kirk Fordice’s declaration of January 1998 as a Month of Prayer to End Abortion.
The resolution concerning prayer for persecuted Christians called on political leaders not to “provide special status for those who would persecute believers and advocate terrorism.”
The resolution on Sunday as a day of worship encouraged “those who promote and plan community events to protect the Lord’s Day for the witness and work of the church.”
Messenger registration was the lowest total of recent years. The 1995 convention drew 1,635. Earlier conventions in the 1990s attracted between 1,700 and 1,800.
This was the second year that the convention was held to four sessions which began on Tuesday morning. Planners said a lack of attendance at the last session and the concern of pastors to return to church for Wednesday evening services caused the dropping of a Wednesday afternoon session.
The 1998 Mississippi Baptist Convention is scheduled for Oct. 27-28 at First Baptist Church, Jackson, where this year’s meeting also was held.

    About the Author

  • Tim Nicholas