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Nevada celebrates Cooperative Program parity

LAS VEGAS (BP) — The Nevada Baptist Convention is receiving income 13 percent above budget, reported Executive Director Kevin White at the NBC annual meeting.

The income increase comes after last year’s annual meeting vote to increase the portion of Cooperative Program gifts from Nevada churches from a 35 percent to a 50/50 split between the NBC and Southern Baptist Convention national and international causes.

“We should easily surpass budget for the year,” White told Baptist Press after the Oct. 20-21 meeting at Hope Church in Las Vegas. “God has been so faithful, and I love to watch Him work.”

Despite the increased income so far this year, the NBC 2016 budget of $1,980,170 is down from the 2015 allotment of $2,217,976, reflecting a change in employment status from NBC to the North American Mission Board for four state convention staff.

The budget calls for an anticipated $910,294 in Cooperative Program giving from churches, up from $870,420 in 2015. Income from NAMB was projected to be $1,006,000; $59,996 is expected from LifeWay Christian Resources, and $3,880 from other sources.

The NBC will forward $455,147 of CP receipts to SBC national and international causes.

With a theme of “Awaken,” taken from Romans 13:11-12, a total of 131 messengers from 54 of the convention’s 200 churches celebrated what was described as a renewed sense of unity in support of global missions. Messenger attendance was up from 116 last year.

Messengers passed a resolution encouraging united and concerted prayer for the International Mission Board’s president, staff, missionaries and trustees. The resolution also encouraged continued “sacrificial giving” through the Cooperative Program and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions. A second resolution affirmed traditional marriage.

Greg Fields, pastor of Nellis Baptist Church in Las Vegas, was re-elected NBC president. Ted Angle, a layman at Fellowship Community Church in Reno, was elected vice president. Two state staff members were added this year, and a third is slated to be added. Among new employees are Darwin Meighan, state director of revitalization and evangelism, and Leo Castro, regional mission strategist for Northwest Nevada.

The NBC added 17 churches to its roll, including 11 planted this year and five in 2014. The state is now working to revitalize existing churches, White said.

“Revitalization, I believe, is not a ‘one size fits all’ ministry,” White said. “Revitalization is harder than planting a church. Therefore, we will move slowly with leaders and churches seeking a renewed vision.”

The executive director also reported to messengers about an ad hoc committee’s work to determine the best ways to reach and engage the many ethnic groups in Nevada. Multiple meetings took place with Hispanic, Asian and African-American pastors.

“These meetings were such a blessing,” White told messengers. “I pray they are just the beginning of a great movement of God. God is good!”

Among other reports, Ryan Jones, state director of missions, reported on eight church plants in Las Vegas and southern Nevada, and three in Reno and northern Nevada.

While First Southern Baptist Church of Las Vegas closed in 2015, its resources allowed Shadow Hills Baptist Church of Las Vegas to assist church plants in a partnership with the NBC, Jones said.

The Nevada Baptist Foundation reported assets of $168,721, which help support the Fern Reuther Fund for crippled children, the Maggie McCullough Fund for chaplaincy and medical/health insurance, and the Nevada Missions Fund.

The NBC is in the middle of a three-year partnership with the Florida Baptist Convention aimed at church planting, leadership development, evangelism and missional activity.

Annual meeting and related event speakers included SBC President Ronnie Floyd, senior pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas; immediate-past SBC President Fred Luter Jr., pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, and J.D. Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C.

White expressed particular excitement regarding the pastor appreciation dinner and conference preceding the annual meeting, attended by 520 people, including 174 pastors and church staff members.

“We had an incredible time of worship,” White said. “Many of the pastors brought members of their church, and the room was full of Christians worshipping God.”

The 2016 NBC annual meeting is set for Oct. 18-19 at South Reno Baptist Church in Reno.