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Mo. keeps budget level, elects Marshall

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (BP)–Messengers to the Missouri Baptist Convention annual meeting approved a $15.1 million budget and elected a new president by acclamation during their 176th annual meeting Oct. 25-27 in Springfield.

The new president, John Marshall, pastor of Second Baptist Church in Springfield, has served the previous three years as an MBC officer — twice as first vice president and once as second vice president. He also preached the 2009 Southern Baptist Convention sermon at Louisville, Ky.

In a brief prayer to conclude the annual meeting, Marshall prayed, “Bless us in this coming year to do a better job than we’ve ever done before.”

On the two most controversial issues before the convention, messengers voted 753-199 to continue their commitment to legal efforts to pursue a just recovery of five breakaway entities and voted 593-360 to change the name of Hannibal-LaGrange College to Hannibal-LaGrange University, versus the request of the college’s trustees to change the name to the University of Hannibal.

Attendance was about the same as the previous three annual meetings — 1,251 messengers from 489 churches and 336 visitors for a total of 1,587 people.

The theme for the annual meeting was tied to the idea of doing the work of an evangelist. The core values for the MBC also were presented: becoming disciples, developing leaders and missional living.

“There seemed to be a central theme for us to be in love with our Lord Jesus Christ and therefore with one another,” MBC Executive Director David Tolliver said. “We debated, we disagreed in Christ-like fashion, and now we’re moving forward together.”

Cooperative Program giving from the convention’s churches is holding relatively steady when compared to other states, convention officials said, with Missouri positioned to go into another year with fiscal discipline.

Included for the third consecutive year is a .75 percent budget item to promote the Cooperative Program, with the remaining amount (just short of $15 million) being allocated 37 percent for Southern Baptist Convention causes, up from 36.75 percent in 2010, and 63 percent for MBC causes.

The projected goals for the 2011 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering of $4 million, the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering of $2 million, the World Hunger Offering of $250,000 and the Missouri Missions Offering of $750,000 were largely kept the same as 2010, with World Hunger dropping $50,000.

In a three-way race for first vice president, Wesley Hammond, pastor of First Baptist Church in Paris, was elected over Danny Decker, pastor of First Baptist Church in Warsaw, 324-220. Dennis Jackson, youth minister of Anchor Point Baptist Church in Independence, received 24 votes.

Micah Fries, pastor of Frederick Boulevard Baptist Church in St. Joseph, was elected second vice president over Aaron Weibel, pastor of New Site Baptist Church in Monett, 320-171.

Jamie Hitt, a member of First Baptist Church in Winfield, was elected by acclamation for a third year as recording secretary.

Messengers looked at tweaking the convention constitution and bylaws in various ways, particularly regarding membership. The governing documents are not undergoing major changes, but updates are in order due in part to the passage of the SBC’s Great Commission Resurgence Task Force report. When David Krueger, a messenger from First Baptist Church in Linn, offered language to address the new reality of maintaining “Great Commission Giving” and “Cooperative Program Giving,” debate grew muddled and the matter was tabled until 2011. Tolliver noted that “Great Commission Giving” needs to be defined.

A special offering of $4,230 was taken Oct. 26 for the Vivian McCaughan Missional Living Endowment Fund, growing the fund to approximately $800,000, with $100,000 more available in pledges, Tolliver said. A goal of raising $1 million by the end of 2010 to help fund missions projects was announced. McCaughan was a longtime MBC staffer who died earlier this year.

In his president’s address, Bruce McCoy, pastor of Canaan Baptist Church in St. Louis, spoke from John 17, noting that true unity can be achieved by true fellowship with Christ.

The two main national speakers at the convention were Mac Brunson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., and David Uth, pastor of First Baptist Church in Orlando, Fla.

Randy Johnson, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Republic, delivered the convention sermon. Joshua Hedger, pastor of Freshwater Church in Bolivar, was selected for that honor in the 2011 annual meeting, with Jim Wilson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Seneca, chosen as the alternate.

The 2011 annual meeting will be Oct. 30-Nov. 2 at Missouri’s Tan-Tar-A Resort.
Allen Palmeri is associate editor of The Pathway (www.mbcpathway.com), newsjournal of congregations in the Missouri Baptist Convention.

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  • Allen Palmeri