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Northwest Baptists celebrate CP

PASCO, Wash. (BP)–Northwest Baptist Convention messengers re-elected Washington pastor Scott Brewer as president, approved a $5.36 million budget for 2011 and welcomed six churches into affiliation during their 63rd annual meeting Nov. 9-10 in Pasco, Wash.

With “Call & Response” as the convention’s theme, the gathering drew 329 messengers and 50 visitors.

Serving alongside Brewer, founding pastor of Meadowbrook Church in Redmond, during the next year are Walt Kellcy, pastor of First Baptist Church in Lakewood, Wash., as first vice president and Dustin Hall, pastor of Kennewick (Wash.) Baptist Church, as second vice president.

Messengers elected Kellcy in a ballot vote over Eric Johnson, pastor of Robert Gray Baptist Church in Longview, Wash. Hall took the most ballot votes over three other nominees.

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Without discussion, messengers approved the 2011 budget, an 8.4 percent decrease from the current year’s budget.

The 2011 budget anticipates $2.84 million in Cooperative Program gifts from Northwest churches. Those CP gifts comprise 53 percent of the spending plan.

Although the budget was lowered, it maintains the current ratio of Cooperative Program funds forwarded to the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee for disbursement to SBC ministries worldwide. The SBC will receive 25.5 percent ($724,200) of NWBC CP funds. An additional 6 percent ($178,800) of the Cooperative Program portion of the budget will support operation of the Pacific Northwest Campus of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Vancouver, Wash.

The convention’s sessions were supplemented at several points to mark the 85th anniversary of the Cooperative Program, the primary funding channel for Southern Baptist mission enterprises.

“It has become the most effective, powerful and sufficient method for missions that Christendom has ever known,” said Cecil Sims, NWBC stewardship strategist.

Sims suggested the Cooperative Program’s formation in 1925 “transformed Southern Baptists.” Prior its establishment, Southern Baptist entities approached local churches directly to solicit funds for their various causes.

A resolution adopted by the convention affirmed the Cooperative Program’s importance: “Recognizing that for 85 years God has used the Cooperative Program of the Southern Baptist Convention to impact the world by equipping thousands of churches to fulfill God-sized dreams and accomplish God-sized tasks together, we challenge Northwest Baptists to continue their prayer and support of this blessing from God.”

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Additional revenue for the overall 2011 NWBC budget includes nearly $2 million (37.3 percent) from the North American Mission Board, nearly $64,000 (1.1 percent) from LifeWay Christian Resources and another $456,900 (8.6 percent) from the convention’s regional offering and other budgeted sources.

Messengers also approved the final year of a three-fold emphasis on church planting, evangelism and leadership training for the convention’s regional mission offering. The 2011 goal for the Sylvia Wilson Mission Offering, named in memory of one of the Northwest’s early Woman’s Missionary Union leaders, is $120,000. Half goes toward evangelism and the other half supports leadership development ministries.

Brewer, during his presidential message, urged pastors to lead their churches in an emphasis on personal holiness and spiritual renewal.

“Our world is not impressed with the reflection of God they find in us,” Brewer said. “We are losing the battle God has called us to fight. Every day, thousands of people leave churches for good.”

He described a process in which he led Meadowbrook Church through a “solemn assembly” focusing on confession of sin, commitment to personal holiness and spiritual awakening in the life of the church.

During a commitment time at the conclusion of the session, more than 40 church leaders signed and turned in “Covenant for Awakening” cards, pledging to lead their congregations through spiritual renewal efforts over the next year.

Four churches welcomed into the convention’s fellowship from Washington were The Commons in Arlington; Kitsap Christian Fellowship in Silverdale; Oso Community Chapel in Arlington/Oso; and Tabernaculo Biblico Bautista “La Vid Verdadera” in Lynden. The two Oregon churches are Amity Baptist Church and Pioneer Baptist Fellowship in Vernonia.

In addition to the CP resolution, other resolutions approved by the convention included:

— Affirming the NWBC’s stated mission and the goals and objectives reflected in its Strategic Mission Plan.

— Asking God to “give wisdom and understanding” to new SBC entity leaders.

— Pledging support for U.S. military personnel and their families.

— Urging faithfulness to biblical stewardship amid the nation’s continued economic downturn.

— Affirming the responsibility of praying for government leaders.

— Pledging prayer and ministry to orphans worldwide.

— Condemning human trafficking and urging Northwest Baptists to pray and seek ways to address this issue at state and local levels.
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Cameron Crabtree is editor of the Northwest Baptist Witness, newsjournal of the Northwest Baptist Convention.