News Articles

Northwest Baptists look ‘From Here to the Nations’

SPOKANE, Wash. (BP)–Northwest Baptist Convention messengers adopted a $5.5 million budget for 2006 and elected Washington pastor Tim Crownover as president during their annual meeting Nov. 8-9 in eastern Washington.

The NWBC’s yearly session of business, inspiration and fellowship, with the theme of “From Here to the Nations,” drew 341 messengers to the Red Lion Hotel at the Park in Spokane. Messengers welcomed seven new congregations from Oregon and Washington into the convention’s fellowship during the opening session.

Speaking to social concerns, messengers to the NWBC’s 58th annual business session unanimously adopted resolutions on marriage, parental involvement in education, the importance of ministry and outreach, and prayer for U.S. government leaders.

Messengers elected Crownover, pastor of Northside Baptist Church in Vancouver, Wash., by acclamation to a one-year term as convention president.

“He’s been an effective leader here in the Northwest for 16 years,” said Terry Little, pastor of Crossover Church in Mead, Wash., who nominated Crownover for the post. “He’s served in all three states [of the convention] and has done an effective job in reaching people.”

Messengers also elected Richard Pettijohn, pastor of Kennewick (Wash.) Baptist Church, to a one-year term as first vice president, and Ray Pound, pastor of Holgate Baptist Church in Portland, Ore., as second vice president.

The $5.5 million 2006 spending plan, up from the current year’s $5.4 million total, includes an anticipated $3.1 million in Cooperative Program gifts from the NWBC’s 460-plus churches. The Cooperative Program supports the shared ministry of Southern Baptist congregations in the Northwest, across the United States and around the world.

The convention’s 2006 budget also includes a contribution of more than $1.83 million from the North American Mission Board and nearly $67,000 from LifeWay Christian Resources. It also utilizes more than $66,400 in funds from the Sylvia Wilson Mission Offering and another $484,600 from other restricted sources.

Almost a third of the Cooperative Program portion of the budget goes toward Southern Baptist Convention causes ($775,000) and the Pacific Northwest Campus of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary ($217,000). The remaining portion of the CP portion supports NWBC ministries.

In another finance-related matter, messengers approved a $125,000 goal for next year’s Sylvia Wilson Mission Offering, with funds allocated for church starting ($70,000), volunteer ministries ($40,000) and senior adult ministries ($15,000).

In addition to conducting business, participants focused on the “From Here to the Nations” theme as they listened to presentations and testimonies celebrating God’s work among churches and ministries in the Northwest and around the world.

Keynote speaker Leroy Gainey, professor of Christian education at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, challenged Northwest Baptists to think less of themselves and more of Jesus.

“My feeling is that we can talk this thing, but if we’re going to put some teeth to it, if we’re going to put some bite to it and take people to the one to whom the nations come, then we’re going to have to think of ourselves a lot less and Jesus a lot more,” said Gainey, a seminary professor and pastor of a multicultural church in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Churches must be willing to change their methods to reach people, but Christians should never forget the importance of individual responsibility, Gainey said.

“I wonder why it is that there are some people who are so committed to reaching people that nothing deters them?” he asked. “Do you take the call of God seriously enough to do it on your own to reach people?”

During his annual message, Executive Director Gus Suárez also urged listeners to ensure God is their top priority.

“Be careful about serving God in various capacities without a passion for Him that is fresh,” Suárez warned. “So many times we give the leftovers to the Lord. If I want to have a holy relationship with God, I must put God first.”

Suárez noted that “the lostness of 10 million people” in the Northwest calls for new levels of partnership in convention life.

“The reason I am here, and the reason you are here is to reach out and touch the lostness in the Northwest,” he said. “I want us to work together as partners, hand in hand, to reach the lost and impact the world.

In a world that offers numerous “adrenaline-pumping” experiences, one speaker reminded convention participants about the church’s importance.

“The reality is that the greatest adventure is the mission of the church,” said Kevin Sullivan, pastor of High Pointe Community Church in Puyallup, Wash.

Sullivan cited Genesis 3:4, when Adam and Eve sinned, as the beginning point of the church’s mission. “I think we need to regularly remember the condition that led to this mission,” he said. “The world is hiding from God, the one who loves them so much.”

Church leaders must be wary of preaching a gospel of merely “sin management” amid such conditions, Sullivan said.

“Being godly is different than being good,” he said. “Life is bigger than sin management and just being a good person.”

Church leaders also must be careful of preaching a message of self-esteem and happiness, he said, noting many of the best-selling Christian books are those that promise more blessings.

The mission is bigger than that and it is greater than that,” Sullivan said. “The mission is about liberating and freeing people from themselves.”

He displayed a wrist bracelet engraved with his personal motto: “Die to self, live to give.”

“If we really want to be the church, we’ve got to start inside first,” he said.

    About the Author

  • Cameron Crabtree & Sheila Allen