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N.M. Baptists increase CP, hear Spanish sermon

BLOOMFIELD, N.M. (BP) — Messengers to the Baptist Convention of New Mexico increased the percentage of Cooperative Program receipts they will forward to the Southern Baptist Convention for the third year in a row and heard what may have been the first convention sermon delivered in Spanish at any Baptist state convention.

Messengers also pledged to pray for revival and changed the name of the convention’s Executive Board.

Gathering Oct. 24-25 at First Baptist Church in Bloomfield, N.M., 201 messengers and 117 visitors came from 78 of the convention’s 352 cooperating churches.

Preaching the convention sermon in Spanish, Hector Belmonte, pastor of Iglesia Bautista Sinai in Albuquerque, N.M., said believers must reject racial prejudice and share the Gospel across ethnic lines. His son Alfonso translated the sermon for English-speaking attendees.

“When I came to this country, I came without Christ,” Belmonte said through his translator. “I had a religion. But it was full of traditions. But an Anglo shared the Gospel with me. Do you know why I listened? [I listened] because that man had love and no prejudice in his heart.

“… And now, I’m serving the Lord with all of my heart. And now, I want to share that beautiful gift of salvation to win many Anglos to Christ. The Gospel doesn’t have skin color,” Belmonte said.

Prior to Belmonte’s sermon, the convention’s second vice president Beau Lamb said BCNM leaders believed it would be the first convention sermon delivered in Spanish at any SBC-related state convention.

The 2018 budget of $4,655,551 — down 3.1 percent from 2017 — anticipates $3,549,770 in CP receipts from churches and $1,115,781 from other sources.

The convention will forward 29 percent of CP receipts to SBC national and international missions and ministries, a 1 percentage point increase from 2017. The BCNM will use 71 percent for in-state missions and ministries.

Approximately 4.3 percent of CP receipts will be designated “CP exempt items,” a category analogous to what have been called shared ministry expenses by some state conventions. The three line items labeled CP exempt in the published BCNM budget are “church retirement plan,” “post-retirement benefits” and “CP promotion.”

A resolution on “prayer for revival” called New Mexico churches “to engage often in deliberate, planned, fervent and urgent prayer for revival in our state, nation and the world.”

A bylaw amendment changed the name of the convention’s State Executive Board to State Mission Board. Board chairman David McFadden, pastor of First Baptist Church in Portales, N.M., said the change reflects a “missional mindset” that characterizes all board activities.

The convention’s slate of officers was reelected, including: president, John Hinze, pastor of First Baptist Church in Tucumcari, N.M.; first vice president, Jared Bridge, pastor of Anchor Church in Albuquerque; and second vice president, Lamb, pastor of First Baptist Church in Santa Rosa, N.M.

The annual meeting theme, “Family Unique in Confusing Times,” was reflected in messages by Frank S. Page, president of the SBC Executive Committee; Michael Catt, pastor of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga.; and Hinze.

Page and BCNM executive director Joseph Bunce participated in a question-and-answer session about the Cooperative Program following the convention’s Oct. 24 gathering. Page told attendees, “If churches’ giving now went up 1 percent, it would put 100 million more dollars next year in the national budget and the mission field.”

Some 47 New Mexico Baptists — ranging in age from 8-70 — participated in a 5K run/walk to raise money for the Mission New Mexico State Missions Offering, which supports disaster relief, hunger ministries and adoption services among other causes.

Next year’s annual meeting is scheduled for Oct. 23-24 at Mesilla Park Community Church in Las Cruces, N.M.