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Mo. Baptists urge Christian citizenship

ST. CHARLES, Mo. (BP) — Missouri Baptists urged believers to active Christian citizenship and defending biblical views of the sanctity of life and transgenderism during their 182nd annual meeting.

A total of 861 messengers and 195 guests from 366 churches gathered Oct. 24-26 at the St. Charles Convention Center, where Missouri Baptist Convention Executive Director John Yeats reminded them that they need never be alone. Inspired by the theme of the meeting, “Never Alone,” he encouraged them with Christ’s words, “I am with you always” (Matt. 28:20), but he also urged them to “belong to a team” that is on a mission.

For Missouri Baptists, he said, that is the “Gospel mission of transforming lives and communities with the Gospel. We want to see the people of God compassionately share their convictions in the workplace, the school house, and the state house.”

Indeed, during their meeting, messengers shared their biblical convictions about cultural issues in three resolutions — one on Christian citizenship, another on the sanctity of life, and a third on transgender identity.

During his address, Yeats also invited Missouri Baptists to welcome the convention’s new catalyst for developing leaders, Jim Misloski. Before joining the MBC’s missionary staff, Misloski served as state director of missions for the Colorado Baptist General Convention.

“God has ordained our churches to be leader-developing institutions,” training believers to take the truth of the Gospel into every domain, Misloski said.

During the annual meeting, MBC president Neil Franks, pastor of First Baptist Church, Branson, urged Missouri Baptists to see and believe God’s reality rather than to focus on what the media and world try to convince them is real. He preached on 2 Kings 6, where Elisha prays that his servant would see the fiery host of angels sent by God.

“Things are not falling apart,” he said. “They are falling into place. We are ambassadors of another Kingdom. We are having our eyes opened, so that we may see another reality.”

Convention preacher Ron Ratliff, pastor of Tenth Street Baptist Church, Trenton, exhorted messengers to live Spirit-filled, godly lives. Other keynote speakers throughout the meeting included Steve Gaines, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, and K. Marshall Williams, senior pastor of Nazarene Baptist Church, Philadelphia, Pa.

Missouri Baptists decided to set the 2017 Cooperative Program goal at $14.8 million. The approved budget sets aside five percent of total CP giving for the “shared expenses” category, which will be allocated for annuity protections and The Pathway. The remaining balance is then split, with 44.5 percent of the CP budget going toward SBC ministries, and 55.5 percent going toward Missouri Baptist ministries.

Missouri Baptists also approved the Executive Board’s recommendation that the Rheubin L. South Mission Offering goal be set at $710,000 and that the MBC take a special offering Oct. 25, 2016, to benefit St. Louis Metro Baptist Association’s Good Neighbor Initiative — a ministry to refugees in the area — and in honor of the association’s 200th anniversary.

The MBC Executive Board also presented Missouri Baptists with the MBC’s updated governing documents, which were referred to the Committee for Continuing Review and which will be brought before messengers at the 2017 annual meeting for approval.

Messengers also elected new MBC officers. These include: President Ken Parker, pastor of First Baptist, Kearney; First Vice President Jeremy Muniz, pastor of First Baptist, De Soto; Second Vice President Tim Smith, pastor of Aurora Springs Baptist, Eldon; and Recording Secretary Rick Biesiadecki, pastor of LifePointe of Wildwood.

Missouri Baptists also approved a recommendation by the Committee on Convention Preacher that Kirk Baker, pastor of First Baptist, Camdenton, preach the annual sermon during the 2017 meeting at First Baptist Church, Raytown. They also recommended Brian Grout, pastor of Beverly Hills Baptist, Independence, as alternate preacher for the 2017 annual meeting.

The 2017 annual meeting of the Missouri Baptist Convention is scheduled for Oct. 23-25 in Raytown, Mo.