JACKSON, Miss. (BP)–Messengers to the Mississippi Baptist Convention’s 175th annual session approved a 2011 Cooperative Program budget of $33,001,945, including a one-quarter percent-of-budget increase in support of Southern Baptist national and international missions and ministries.
The $33 million budget, however, is a decrease of 3.2 percent ($1,092,377) from the 2010 budget of $34,094,322.
Although the budget percentage for SBC causes was increased by one-quarter percent, to 35.25 percent, the dollar amount ($11,633,185) is a 2.55 percent decrease ($299,828) from the 2010 budget amount that reflects the lower overall budget for the coming year.
Weldon Aultman, chairman of the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board budget committee and member of First Baptist Church in Indianola, told messengers the committee believed the budget was prudent given the struggling national and state economies. Messengers approved the budget without discussion and by acclamation.
“Covering Mississippi in Prayer” was theme for the Oct. 26-27 meeting, attended by 1,025 registered messengers at First Baptist Church in Jackson.
All officers were elected without opposition and by acclamation. Gary Richardson, pastor of North Oxford Baptist Church in Oxford, was re-elected to a second one-year term as president.
Paul Crowley, pastor of Woolmarket Baptist Church in Biloxi, was elevated to first vice president after serving the previous year as second vice president. Chris Aldridge, pastor of Freedonia Baptist Church in New Albany, was elected to replace Crowley as second vice president. Michael Weeks, pastor of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Olive Branch, was re-elected as recording secretary.
For the second consecutive year, there were no resolutions or motions from the floor. Messengers approved two resolutions submitted by the resolutions committee, one of which called on Mississippi Baptists to pray for the Covering Mississippi in Prayer campaign that begins in January. The campaign, which will be announced in The Baptist Record in coming weeks, involves prayer rallies in every country in Mississippi. The resolution seeks prayer “for a great spiritual awakening in our state, in our nation, and in our world.”
The other resolution expressed appreciation to First Baptist Church for hosting the annual session; to the speakers, singers and instrumentalists who led in worship; to Mississippi Baptist Convention President Gary Richardson; and to officers, board members, trustees, committee members, and volunteers who have “served the convention faithfully.”
Jeff Clark, pastor of First Church, Hattiesburg, delivered the convention sermon from Ezekiel 37. Richardson delivered the president’s address from Acts 4. Johnny Hunt, pastor of First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Ga., and immediate past president of the Southern Baptist Convention, delivered the convention’s closing message.
Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee, presented the convention’s Bible Treasures series of devotionals.
Leading praise and worship were:
— Tom Wilson, minister of music at North Oxford Church, Oxford, along with the church’s Praise Team and Sanctuary Choir and Orchestra.
— Mississippi Singing Churchmen conducted by Milfred Valentine, minister of music at Prentiss Church, Prentiss.
— Daniel Williamson, minister of music at First Baptist Church in Hattiesburg, along with the church’s Praise Ensemble.
— Mississippi Baptist Convention Orchestra conducted by David Young, consultant for the Church Music Department of the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board.
— Metro Jackson Combined Choirs coordinated by Larry Black, interim minister of music at First Baptist Church in Richland and minister of music emeritus at First Baptist Church, Jackson.
— Paid in Full trio from New Albany.
P.J. Scott, chairman of the time, place and preacher committee and interim pastor of First Baptist Church in Batesville, announced that James Lewis, pastor of DeSoto Hills Baptist Church in Southaven, will bring the convention sermon at the 2011 annual session, Nov. 1-2 at First Baptist Church in Jackson. Matt Buckles, pastor of First Baptist Church in Vicksburg, was named as the alternate.
William H. Perkins Jr. is editor of The Baptist Record, newsjournal of the Mississippi Baptist Convention.