RIDGECREST, N.C. (BP)–The North American Mission Board’s church planting and evangelization groups recognized achievements by 18 state Baptist convention partners during NAMB’s Aug. 1-3 “Mission Celebration” at LifeWay Ridgecrest Conference Center in North Carolina.
Fifteen of the conventions were recognized with national church planting awards for their new church starts from 1999 through 2005. The following were honored for posting the highest number of new church starts during the six-year period:
— Baptist General Convention of Texas, 1,924 starts
— Florida Baptist Convention, 1,014
— California Southern Baptist Convention, 849
— Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, 750
— Illinois Baptist State Association, 426
— Louisiana Baptist Convention, 425
— Colorado Baptist General Convention, 285
— Kentucky Baptist Convention, 270.
The following conventions were honored for recording the highest percentage increase in new church starts during the six-year period:
— Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, 157 percent increase
— Colorado Baptist General Convention, 120 percent
— Canadian Convention of Southern Baptists, 117 percent
— Nevada Baptist Convention, 113 percent
— The Baptist Convention of New England, 93 percent
— Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia, 81 percent
— Minnesota/Wisconsin Baptist Convention, 56 percent
— State Convention of Baptists in Ohio, 51 percent.
NAMB Church Planting Vice President Richard Harris also presented a distinguished service award to Cecil W. Seagle, director of the Florida Baptist Convention’s missions division and South Florida Urban Impact Ministries.
Seagle was cited for his “faithful leadership, visionary planning, strategic partnership in churches, associations and the Florida Baptist Convention, and for his influence on North American Missions among Southern Baptists in evangelical church planting for more than 45 years.”
Harris also presented a new award -– the Dennis Hampton Rural Church Planting Award -– established in honor of Hampton, a former NAMB missionary, church planter, director of missions and rural church planting pioneer who died in a car accident last year.
On behalf of the Hampton family, the inaugural Hampton Award was accepted by Hampton’s son, Jeremy Hampton, a Nebraska State Patrol officer. Dennis Hampton’s wife, Elaine, also served as a missionary alongside her husband.
In the evangelization group’s awards ceremony, Gary Hollingsworth, senior director of NAMB’s cultural evangelism team, recognized seven state Baptist conventions which achieved double-digit increases in baptisms during 2004-05:
— California Southern Baptist Convention, 44 percent
— Baptist Convention of New York, 27 percent
— Montana Southern Baptist Convention, 15 percent
— Baptist Convention of Pennsylvania-South Jersey, 12 percent
— Canadian Convention of Southern Baptists, 12 percent
— Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia, 10 percent
— West Virginia Convention of Southern Baptists, 10 percent