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Mont. Southern Baptists ‘Refresh’ at annual meeting

MISSOULA, Mont. (BP) — Montana Southern Baptist Convention (MTSBC) President Darren Hales described the group’s 2016 annual meeting as having the “feel of a missions conference and the impact of a revival service.”

Southern Baptist Convention President Steve Gaines spoke during the meeting and “stoked the fire for spiritual renewal through prayer,” Hales said. And Don Pierson, pastor of Stewart’s Chapel Baptist Church in Flintville, Tenn., led the group in focused prayer at the meeting’s prayer summit.

“We corporately cried out to the Lord for repentance and refreshing in our own walk with the Lord and for the collective mission we share,” Hales wrote in his recap of the meeting at mtsbc.org. “It was such a blessing to see so many pastors praying over one another and it set the stage for us to set a new course in Montana with the election of Dr. Barrett Duke as our new executive director.”

Duke, former vice president of the Washington, D.C., office for Public Policy and Research of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and director of the ERLC Research Institute, begins Jan. 1 as the MTSBC executive director. (See BP’s earlier story here.

The 104 messengers in attendance at the meeting Oct. 6-7 at Crosspoint Church in Missoula, Mont., also approved the 2017 budget, allocated Cooperative Program giving and elected new officers.

The 2017 budget of $1,380.567 is 2 percent greater than the 2016 amount of $1,353,000, anticipating an increase of $39,000, the MTSBC reported. The 25 percent of Cooperative Program receipts messengers approved to send to the SBC for national and international causes is unchanged from the percentage forwarded in 2016.

Hales, pastor of Big Sky Fellowship in Helena, was reelected president. Lee Merck, pastor of Church of the Rockies in Red Lodge, was reelected vice president. Total attendance at the event was 158, representing 61 of the convention’s churches. Bruce Speer was host pastor.

Montana Baptists voted at its 2015 annual meeting to sell its current headquarters in Billings to move to a smaller site, but the building has not yet sold, MTSBC staff noted.

The 2017 meeting is set for Oct. 5-6 at Yellowstone Christian College in Billings.