SALEM, Ore. (BP) — The Northwest Baptist Convention celebrated paying off the debt to its headquarters and marked a new East Asian partnership with the International Mission Board at the convention’s 2014 annual meeting in Salem, Ore.
The mortgage of about $140,000 a year on the Northwest Baptist Center in Vancouver, Wash., was paid in full in September, the NWBC reported. The facility houses the NWBC, the Northwest Baptist Foundation and Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary’s Pacific Northwest Campus.
Northwest Baptists also celebrated their partnership with IMB workers serving in East Asia. The partnership formed this summer after a survey trip by NWBC executive director Randy Adams and several pastors, including Dustin Hall, pastor of Kennewick Baptist Church in Kennewick, Wash.
“I was challenged in a number of ways by this trip,” Hall said. “I thought [East Asia] had been reached and couldn’t have been more wrong.”
Northwest Baptist churches will assist IMB workers in reaching unengaged and unreached people groups in East Asia, Adams said, while continuing their outreach at home.
“Simply put, our business is to make it hard to go to hell from the Northwest,” Adams said. “It is too hard to hear the Gospel in the Northwest. We must make it easier … to do the work delivering the Good News of Jesus Christ to every boy and girl, man and woman, in the Northwest and to reach for the world beyond, all the way to East Asia.”
Adams urged participants to view their day-to-day ministry as a spiritual battle won through praying and proclaiming the Gospel.
“We are engaged in a fight that matters,” Adams said. “Our number one need is prayer for more preachers, more pastors, more seed sowers and Gospel harvesters.
“It’s too easy to live and die in the Northwest without hearing the Gospel from someone who loves you.”
The 335 messengers and nearly 80 guests gathered Nov. 11 – 12 at the Salem Convention Center in Salem, Ore., represented 149 NWBC-affiliated churches.
“One of the things I love about serving with you in the Northwest is the diversity of our work and the great commitment to reaching people for Christ that I see from so many of our pastors and people,” Adams told attendees. “There is no legislative or political pursuit, there is no executive board in the Fortune 500, there is no athletic endeavor on this planet that possesses the potential for eternal impact like that of your church, and churches like yours in the Northwest, and the world over.”
Messengers welcomed 22 churches into NWBC affiliation during the convention’s opening session.
In other business, messengers cut costs to approve a $5,098,298 budget for 2015, a 1.5 percent reduction from the current budget of $5,177,000.
Messengers anticipate $2,720,000 in Cooperative Program funds from the NWBC’s 450-plus affiliated churches, $65,000 less than this year. Messengers voted to increase Cooperative Program gifts to Southern Baptist Convention national and international causes from 27 percent to 27.25 percent in 2015, but the reduction in the total budget may result in an actual reduction in the CP allocation. In 2015, Northwest Baptists anticipate giving $741,200 in CP receipts to national and international causes, down from $751,000 this year.
Northwest Baptists will receive $1,891,010 from the North American Mission Board, however, mainly to supplement the salaries of 10 jointly-employed church planting catalysts across the Northwest. Northwest Baptists contribute 15 percent of the personnel costs, according to the NWBC report submitted to Baptist Press.
Northwest Baptists will cut costs further by decreasing support to the Pacific Northwest Campus of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. The Vancouver, Wash., campus will receive $100,000 in 2015, down from $178,800 this year. About 40 students are enrolled at the campus, more than a third of them studying online.
Northwest Baptists will not host a retreat for church leaders in 2015, saving nearly $50,000.
The convention will save another $27,600 in church staff insurance through GuideStone Financial Resources, and another $48,000 in insurance costs for convention employees, Northwest Baptists reported.
However, savings will be offset by an additional $203,000 in church planting costs, the convention said, and the cost of increasing publication of the convention’s official newsjournal from four times a year to at least six.
Messengers passed a Sylvia Wilson Mission Offering goal of $110,000 for 2015.
Current Northwest Baptist officers were re-elected for another one-year term. They are president Dale Jenkins, Airways Heights Baptist Church in Airways Heights, Wash.; first vice president Bryan Toll, Smith Rock Community Church, Terrebonne, Ore., and second vice president Frank Johnson, Chestnut Street Baptist Church, Ellensburg, Wash.
In 11 resolutions, messengers expressed appreciation for military veterans and those currently serving in the nation’s armed forces, commended the leadership of NWBC executive director Adams and the service of NWBC staff, acknowledged the importance of church planting across the Northwest, urged continuing prayer for the Washington communities of Oso and Darrington in the wake of a large-scale natural disaster earlier this year, and affirmed the importance of Golden Gate seminary’s Pacific Northwest Campus in the education and leadership development of ministers in the region.
In speaking to broader social concerns, messengers approved resolutions urging prayer for persecuted Christians around the world, supporting aid efforts assisting Africans suffering from the deadly Ebola virus, pressing for churches to continually “bring the grace and truth of God to bear” on various social issues, and exhorting Northwest Baptists “to press on in our calling by faithfully engaging people with the unparalleled message of the only Savior, Jesus the Christ.”
Jim Fitzpatrick, pastor of CrossPointe Baptist Church in Vancouver, delivered the convention sermon.
Next year’s annual meeting is set for Nov. 10-11 in Portland, Ore.