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Nev. Baptists hear search report for new exec; increase CP giving

LAS VEGAS (BP)–A report on the search for Nevada Baptists’ new executive director was relayed to messengers at the Oct. 23-24 annual meeting of the Nevada Baptist Convention in Las Vegas.

Messengers adopted a $2,442,772 budget, a 2.5 percent increase over the current year. The budget includes anticipated Cooperative Program giving of $920,000 from Nevada Baptist churches, increasing the percent-of-CP Missions gifts to Southern Baptist national and international missions by .25 percent, to 27.75 percent.

The convention’s interim executive director-treasurer, Michael Rochelle, noted that although receipts to date are below budget requirements, he voiced optimism that the shortfall can be overcome before the end of the year. Rochelle is pastor of Shadow Hills Baptist Church in Las Vegas, which hosted the 141 messengers to this year’s convention in its new facilities.

Breaking from tradition, the convention met in Las Vegas two consecutive years so that this year’s meeting would coincide with the “Loving Las Vegas” evangelistic emphasis in Las Vegas as one of Southern Baptists’ Strategic Focus Cities for 2001.

Re-elected to their convention offices as president were John Mark Simmons, pastor of Highland Hills Baptist Church in Henderson, and vice president, Sam Stanton, pastor of First Southern Baptist Church in Fallon. Mike Farris, pastor of First Baptist of Tonopah was elected second vice president in a ballot with one other nominee.

Simmons took time during one of the miscellaneous business sessions to explain the steps taken by the convention’s executive board and the executive committee in dealing with the resignation of David Meacham as executive director-treasurer to join the faculty of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in September.

Simmons noted that the five-member executive committee, which conducts convention business during the course of the year between meetings of the 21-member executive board, recommended the course of action which was approved by the board, beginning with a 12-member search committee’s review of a slate of candidates in November. Simmons noted that the search committee represents a broad spectrum of the convention.

Rochelle, who had volunteered to serve without compensation, will continue as interim executive director-treasurer at least until the end of the year at which time he and the executive board will assess the search situation.

The convention passed a resolution honoring Meacham and his wife, Sue, noting that they have “given nine-plus years in service to the Nevada Baptist Convention as Executive Director and twenty years of total service to the Nevada Baptist Convention…. [We] express our sincere and genuine appreciation for their sacrificial service.”

In other resolutions, Nevada messengers stated that “our nation has been and is under attack … [and] in the midst of a national crisis,” resolving “to do anything possible to support the recovery of our nation” and “to pray for healing in our land” as well as the nation’s leaders “and our men and women and their families who are involved in this conflict around the world.”

Among reports from agencies and institutions, both Grand Canyon University and California Baptist University reported record enrollments this year, while David Hankins, vice president for Cooperative Program with the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, reported continued growth in CP Missions giving across the SBC.

Jack Graham, senior pastor of the 18,000-member Dallas-area Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, preached messages at the convention’s Tuesday afternoon and evening sessions. The afternoon message, based on Acts 12, focused on prayer as the “Hinge of History.” Graham said that prayer must be first choice rather than last chance for the churches. During the afternoon session, Graham spoke of the task of kingdom growth in a message titled, “Mission Impossible,” based on the rebuilding of the temple under Zechariah.

Simmons delivered the presidential message at the conclusion of the final session on Wednesday, speaking on the call of Jeremiah. Observing that Jeremiah’s ministry was a failure by the world’s standards, Simmons said, as his sermon title noted, that Jeremiah’s faithfulness is an example of “What Can Keep Us Steadfast in the Ministry.”

Next year’s annual meeting will be Nov. 22-23 at Calvary Baptist Church, Elko.

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