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N.M. Baptists celebrate children’s home; Bunce to retire

CLOVIS, N.M. (BP) — During the Baptist Convention of New Mexico’s (BCNM) 2019 Annual Meeting, New Mexico Baptists celebrated the 100th anniversary of the New Mexico Baptist Children’s Home and Family Ministries (NMBCH), approved a 2020 budget, adopted four resolutions, reelected current convention officers, and heard Executive Director Joseph Bunce’s plans to retire in 2021.

Messengers and guests also heard from Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee president and CEO Ronnie Floyd and International Mission Board president Paul Chitwood.

In attendance were 242 messengers and 79 guests from 93 of the BCNM’s 338 cooperating churches attended the Oct. 22-23 meeting hosted by Central Baptist Church, Clovis, and the NMBCH in Portales. The 2019 theme was “Trust in the Lord,” derived from Proverbs 3:5-6.

Tuesday sessions

During Tuesday afternoon’s opening session of the BCNM annual meeting, BCNM president Jared Bridge, pastor of Anchor Church in Albuquerque, delivered the president’s address. Following Bridge’s address, messengers adopted the convention program and heard a report from the New Mexico Baptist Foundation. The session concluded with a message from Chitwood.

The Tuesday evening session featured another message from Chitwood and a musical program featuring a regional choir from the Clovis-Portales area. Lamar Morin, the BCNM’s Missions Mobilization Team leader, directed the ensemble. Morin also serves as director of the New Mexico Singing Churchmen.

The session concluded with an executive director’s report. Before his report, Bunce recognized BCNM ministry assistant Cheryl Vaughn for 25 years of service to the convention. Bunce’s address shared the story of the first BCNM annual meeting he attended in 1977, also in Clovis. He noted the importance of that meeting on his life and ministry, telling messengers and guests, “What I learned at that first state convention shaped who I am today.”

Turning to Acts 28:16 and Acts 28:29-30, Bunce spoke of how the apostle Paul concluded his ministry and the impact he left on those he encountered along the way. “It is impossible to do a critical mission without godly conviction and benediction,” Bunce said.

Bunce concluded his report by announcing his intention to retire from his position on Feb. 1, 2021. According to Bunce, the State Mission Board will begin to implement a succession plan at its next quarterly meeting in January 2020. “It will be a process with the intent for me to retire in 2021. That is my goal. It is not because I don’t love you — it is because I love you,” he said. Bunce stated that he would “not appoint or pick” his successor. “That’s not my role,” he said.

Wednesday session

The Wednesday morning session took place 23 miles south of Clovis, at the New Mexico Baptist Children’s Home and Family Ministries’ main campus in Portales. First Country Band of Bloomfield led messengers and guests in musical worship before Central Baptist Association’s director of missions, John Torrison, delivered the annual sermon.

Following Torrison’s message, NMBCH president Randy Rankin delivered the children’s home’s report. In his report, Rankin shared stories of God at work throughout the children’s home’s 100-year history and spoke of his investment in the ministry.

During the Wednesday morning business session, messengers and guests heard reports from the convention’s Committee on Committees, State Mission Board, Nominating Committee, and Resolutions Committee.

During the Resolutions Committee report, messengers voted to accept all four resolutions as presented. The first resolution called for “churches and their respective members to engage often in deliberate, planned and urgent Gospel ministry to the children within the state of New Mexico.” The second resolution expressed “sincere appreciation to everyone involved in helping this be an annual meeting that glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ.” The third resolution expressed “sincere gratitude to the ministry of the New Mexico Baptist Children’s Home and Family Ministries and therefore [to] pray for their work in the coming … century.” The fourth resolution contained four subsequent recommendations encouraging Christians to take responsibility in the public square.

Following business, Floyd delivered the convention’s final message. Before his message, Floyd commended Torrison and Rankin and thanked Bridge for his leadership as BCNM president. Floyd told Bridge that he “was very grateful and thankful for [their] new friendship.”

Preaching from Colossians 4, Floyd encouraged New Mexico Baptists to embrace a “spirit of willingness,” called for a resurgence of faith and urged messengers and guests to speak the truth with grace. “Tone precedes truth in culture today. Truth is always most important, but if we want to reach men and women in the next generation, then we have to watch our tone,” he said.

2020 budget and officers

Also during the Wednesday session, messengers approved a 2020 budget and reelected convention officers. The approximately $4.7 million budget was $123,692 less than the previous year, but maintained the convention’s Cooperative Program giving percentage at 29 percent. Messengers reelected Bridge as convention president; Beau Lamb, pastor of First Baptist Church in Santa Rosa, as first vice president and Matt Henslee, pastor of Mayhill Baptist Church in Mayhill, as second vice president.

Children’s home celebration

At the conclusion of the annual meeting, messengers and guests were invited to attend a barbecue luncheon on the grounds of the children’s home. NMBCH staff, board members and residents served those in attendance and offered tours of the expansive property, which includes a newly built chapel, modeled as a replica of First Baptist Church Portales’ first building circa 1909. The church was instrumental in the formation of the NMBCH.

Next year’s meeting

The 2020 BCNM Annual Meeting will take place Oct. 20-21 at Hoffmantown Church in Albuquerque. Hayden Smith, pastor of First Baptist Church of Carrizozo, is scheduled to deliver the 2020 annual sermon.

    About the Author

  • Daniel Porter

    Daniel Porter is a staff writer with the Baptist New Mexican newsjournal and GoBNM.com, news and information outlets for the Baptist Convention of New Mexico.

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