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N.M. Baptists adopt 1st $3 million budget

TUCUMCARI, N.M. (BP)–New Mexico Baptists adopted their convention’s first-ever $3 million budget during their annual meeting in Tucumcari.
The new budget will require $3,016,471 in Cooperative Program giving from the convention’s churches, an increase of 4.1 percent over the 1997 budget.
The convention will forward 30.5 percent of the Cooperative Program receipts, an estimated $896,539, to the Southern Baptist Convention for North American and international missions and other ministries, after an exception of $77,000 in preferred items is applied. The percentage is the same as last year.
The remaining 69.5 percent, $2,042,932, along with additional income of $981,653 from other sources, will be used to support a total operating budget of $3,024,585 to carry out mission work in New Mexico.
Challenged to take the gospel of Christ to “every home, every heart” in the state by the beginning of the next millennium, messengers focused on the kind of worship that would empower them for the enormous task.
Final registration for this year’s convention, held Oct. 28-29 in Tucumcari’s convention center, was 359 messengers and 212 guests, for a total of 571, only 15 short of attendance at last year’s state meeting in Carlsbad.
Under the banner “Effective Worship Empowers,” New Mexico’s Baptists were reminded how true worship will empower their churches, ministries and lives, as well as their cooperative mission efforts.
During the convention’s opening session Tuesday evening, guest preacher Mike Rochelle, pastor of Shadow Hills Baptist Church, Las Vegas, Nev., began the call to effective worship. “When we praise the Lord,” Rochelle declared, “God is exalted and the enemy is scattered.”
Tim Marrow, BCNM president and pastor of Taylor Ranch Baptist Church, Albuquerque, further developed the theme the following morning during his presidential address. Worship is not a time for people to gather for a performance, Marrow said. “It’s a time to respond to the living God.”
Rodger Russell, the pastor selected last year to bring this year’s convention sermon continued the emphasis Wednesday afternoon. Russell, of First Baptist Church, Moriarty, told messengers, “True worship takes place when the human spirit speaks to and meets with God.”
During the convention’s three Bible studies, Thomas Lea, dean of the school of theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas, encouraged the state’s Baptists to recognize the sovereignty of God over the church, in ministry and in the home.
After taking care of all the convention’s business matters in the first three sessions, the closing session Wednesday evening gave messengers another opportunity to practice the kind of worship they had been challenged to bring to God and, in the empowerment they received, to take the good news of Jesus into each New Mexico home by the end of the year 2000.
Messengers were treated to an impressive multimedia presentation describing the cooperative ministries of the Baptist Convention of New Mexico, encompassing 284 churches, 57 missions and 31 preaching points. In addition to a concert by the New Mexico Singing Churchmen, BCNM Executive Director Claude Cone challenged messengers to remember the value of the souls of people in New Mexico and the importance of telling them about the Savior.
Prior to issuing his challenge, Cone gave John Castro of Wayland Baptist University’s campus at Glorieta an opportunity to report on the 1-year-old venture which, he told messengers, “is your university.”
The Wednesday evening crowd heard, via a video presentation, from Southern Baptist international missionaries in Zimbabwe, with whom the convention officially inaugurated, at that moment, a prayer partnership.
All of the convention’s officers were re-elected to a second one-year term by acclamation: president, Marrow; first vice president, David King, a member of First Baptist Church, Angel Fire, the city manager there and a former state treasurer; second vice president, Jim Laster, pastor of Castle Avenue Baptist Church, Hobbs; recording secretary Nancy Faucett of Edgewood, the BCNM executive director’s executive assistant; and assistant recording secretary Cricket Pairett of Los Chavez, the BCNM mission division’s administrative assistant.
An attempt to change the recommended time of the annual meeting two years hence from a Tuesday and Wednesday to a Thursday and Friday was turned back again by messengers, as it has been in conventions the last few years.
Don Johnson, bivocational pastor of Bykota Baptist Church, Roswell, attempted to amend the nominating committee’s report to change the dates of the 1999 meeting.
Joseph Bunce, pastor of First Baptist Church, Bloomfield, and a member of the nominating committee, explained such a move was considered by the committee but rejected because it would be difficult for some people with Saturday worship services to get home in time.
Johnson promptly replied there were only 10 churches in New Mexico with Saturday services, and the dates he recommended would enable more bivocational pastors to attend “and have their voices heard in the Baptist Convention of New Mexico.”
One-third of the Baptist pastors in New Mexico are bivocational, Johnson added.
After Luis Gomez, a mission pastor from Ruidoso, encouraged messengers to trust that the committee had made its decision considering the advantages and disadvantages, Johnson’s amendment failed overwhelmingly, though 26 votes were counted favoring it.
Resolutions this year, approved as a block and without any discussion, included statements of opposition to all forms of gambling, advertising for beverage alcohol, abortion, assisted suicide and the negative influences of the entertainment industry. Resolutions of support were expressed concerning the state board of education’s recent decision to allow the teaching of various “options regarding origins” and New Mexico Baptists involved in partnership mission efforts.
The 1998 annual meeting will be at Glorieta Baptist Conference Center Oct. 27-28, in keeping with a longstanding tradition of meeting at the Baptist Sunday School Board’s western conference center every third year.

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  • John Loudat