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Nev. Baptists mark largest gathering in 28-year history

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RENO, Nev. (BP)–More than 700 Nevada Baptists gathered for their convention’s annual meeting Oct. 17-18 at South Reno Baptist Church in Reno, marking the largest gathering in their 28-year history.

Under the theme “Made to Count” based on Jeremiah 29:11, the Nevada Baptist Convention hosted an International Mission Board commissioning service for 20 short-term missionaries.

Guest speakers included Jerry Rankin, president of the IMB; Roy Fish, interim president of the North American Mission Board; and Ted Traylor, pastor of Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, Fla.

Messengers approved a 2007 budget of $2.57 million, a 3 and a half percent increase over the current year. The convention will forward 29 percent of receipts through the Cooperative Program for national and international missions and ministries, up from 28.5 percent last year, continuing a trend of increasing CP giving each year since 1978.

Ted Kern, pastor of Crescent Valley Baptist Church in Battle Mountain, was elected president. Kern also pastors three mission churches: Reese-Antelope Valley Chapel, Valmy Baptist Chapel and Hilltop Mission. Frank Bushey, pastor of Fellowship Community Church in Reno, was elected first vice president and Bill Potts, pastor of Sunrise Baptist Church in Las Vegas, was elected second vice president.

Each session of the annual meeting began with a video message from Nevada Baptists who went on mission trips to various parts of the nation and world during 2006.

Nevada Baptists received recognition from the North American Mission Board for their commitment to expanding the Kingdom of God demonstrated by a cumulative index of 113 percent for the years 1999-2005. That’s second place in NAMB’s Region IV for the ratio of new church starts to existing churches, and fourth place in North America. Nevada also ranked fifth nationally for percentage increase in giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering during the past year, with an increase of 17.4 percent.

Hoyt Savage, president of the convention and pastor of Foothill Baptist Church in Las Vegas, delivered an address from John 17.

“The disciples heard what God told them … the Holy Spirit came upon them … they went out with a heart for the world,” Savage said. “Are you investing in what God wants you to invest in? Did it matter that I lived or died? Are you leaving a mark for Christ? My challenges … [are to] know, love and never stop growing in God. Invest your life in someone. Help those in whom you invest to have a world vision.”

Thane E. Barnes, the convention’s executive director, spoke from 2 Samuel 24.

“I cannot offer the Lord that which costs me nothing,” Barnes said. “It’s not out of line to want to make a difference for the Kingdom of God while we are on earth. If we are going to reduce lostness and impact our culture, it’s going to cost us something as people, churches and a convention. What I do for the cause of Christ is more vibrant and alive when it costs me something.”

Barnes started his sermon by reminding messengers of the convention’s mission statement, which says, “Reduce Lostness by Starting and Growing Healthy Congregations and Developing Leaders.” He emphasized evangelism, starting new work, helping existing churches to be healthy and building an army of trained Kingdom workers.

Next year’s annual meeting will be Oct. 16-17 at Foothill Baptist Church in Las Vegas.
Based on information provided by Thane E. Barnes.

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