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Northwest Baptist convention entails wide scope of highlights

SPOKANE, Wash. (BP)–One of the four resolutions passed at the 51st annual meeting of the Northwest Baptist Convention spanned the gamut of Christian concerns, from millennial issues to religious persecution around the world.
The Nov. 17-18 meeting celebrating the end of a convention Year of Jubilee encompassed, in similar fashion, a similar range of entities and individuals:
— There was the first-ever commissioning service for 105 North American Mission Board career missionaries, along with a colorful missions fair showcasing the ministry fields of the appointees.
— There were the messages of NAMB President Bob Reccord and a broad spectrum of Northwest pastors, plus video presentations from the International Mission Board and Annuity Board.
— There was the first-ever umbrella-like emphasis on teenage and college-age ministries, and the Northwest premiere showing of the YouthLink 2000 video promoting the “seven-cities, three-nights, one-purpose” celebration that will span the centuries.
— There was the God-focused music and worship that encompassed not only hymns and choruses, but also a Korean choir from Airway Heights Korean Fellowship, Spokane, that led worshipers to God regardless of the verbal language being sung.
“It seemed like a celebration of the sweet fellowship we have in this convention and the unity we have in fulfilling the Great Commission,” said Carol Reeves, wife of the president of the Northwest Baptist Convention, Don Reeves. “Everyone is just there for each other. You can see it in the conversations, the hugs, the laughter together.”
Final registration counts: 577 messengers and 79 visitors at the Spokane meeting, the total up more than 100 than last year’s 539 total registered.
“This is my first Northwest convention,” said Jim Louviere, church planter apprentice serving in Hillsboro, Ore. He was one of those commissioned during the Nov. 17 commissioning service. “This is my standard.”
The business of the convention included elections, constitution revision, reports, resolutions and honors.
Reeves, pastor of Grant Avenue Baptist, Corvallis, Ore., was unanimously re-elected as president for a second one-year term. Tim Crownover, pastor of First Baptist, Bonners Ferry, Idaho, was elected first vice president over Gene Anglin, pastor of Columbia Heights Baptist, Longview, Wash., who was then elected second vice president by acclamation.
A revised constitution, which gained messengers’ approval, eliminates archaic and unclear language, explained NWBC Executive Director Jeff Iorg. No substantive changes were made, though the word “cultural” was added to Article VII, Section 2 to indicate the NWBC’s intent “to include all people in our constituency,” Iorg said.
“In electing members of the executive board, due regard shall be given to geographical, cultural and numerical representation,” is the wording as passed by messengers. In a later session, during the time people new to the Northwest parade across the platform and introduce themselves, new pastor Robert Kelly of St. Mark’s Baptist Church, Portland, Ore., expressed his appreciation to a convention where everyone was welcome.
A $4,739,451 budget was approved, a $381,555 (8 percent) increase over last year’s budget. This includes $2,475,000 for the Cooperative Program, of which 31 percent is targeted for global missions, the same percentage as last year.
The resolutions as presented by committee chairman Bill Lotz included one that expressed appreciation to Inland Empire Baptist Association for its extra effort to host the annual meeting as well as the NAMB commissioning service.
A second expressed appreciation to God for those who have served faithfully in the Northwest over the last 50 years, and for the partnering done during that same time with what now is known as the North American Mission Board.
A third supported prayer for and linked hands with the young people who will participate next summer in NAMB-sponsored World Changers projects in Bremerton, Wash., (specifically for junior high and high school students) and Lewiston, Idaho, (specifically for college-age people).
And in its entirety, the fourth resolution: “As we approach the end of this millennium and look around us, we take note of world events including natural disaster, political unrest, persecution of fellow believers and challenges to our technological age. In the midst of these, we resolve to approach this year with victorious faith in God’s sovereignty, seeking opportunities to minister and share the gospel while looking forward to the blessed hope of all believers.
“We further urge the people of the Northwest Baptist Convention to encourage their governmental representatives to use national influence to end religious persecution around the world.”
Harry G. Bonner was named executive director emeritus of the Northwest Baptist Foundation, and received a standing ovation in addition to the gracious accolades of several speakers.
Church starters Charles and Daisy Joyner, catalytic missionaries Noe and Carmen Ortiz, and director of missions Norman and Peggy Ford were honored for their multiple years of service. The couples all plan to retire before the 1999 annual meeting, Nov. 8-10 in Eugene, Ore.
NWBC President Reeves referred to the meeting’s theme — “Claim the Promise” — during his annual sermon.
“We’ve claimed the land but I don’t think we’ve claimed the promise,” he challenged messengers. “We live in a land of giants and great walled cities, and we haven’t done that much.” There are giants of ethnicity, apathy, cynicism, distrust, fear, pleasure, wealth, time pressures, missed priorities and many more in the Pacific Northwest, Reeves pointed out.
“For 50 years we’ve worked, and there is still so much to do,” he said. “We stand at a crossroads. As a convention, we’re at a comfortable size, and it takes work to go beyond comfort.
“The Israelites never claimed the promise,” Reeves preached. “If we don’t claim the promise, we will never see what God would have done with us. And just to be clear, the promise is the harvest, the millions in our state who need to know Jesus.”