EUGENE, Ore. (BP)–Achieving a milestone in their 56-year history, Northwest Baptists have budgeted $3 million in Cooperative Program gifts to support regional and global ministry causes.
Amid economic uncertainties which have adversely affected several Baptist conventions and entities over the past year, Northwest Baptist leaders expressed appreciation during the Nov. 11-12 annual meeting of the Northwest Baptist Convention for the stability of missions giving among NWBC-affiliated churches.
“The $3 million Cooperative Program budget is a significant milestone,” said Jeff Iorg, NWBC executive director. “In a time when many other conventions and other organizations are cutting back, we are experiencing record mission giving and expansion because of the generosity of Northwest Baptists.”
The Cooperative Program supports the shared ministry of Southern Baptist congregations across the United States and around the world.
Along with $2.3 million from other sources, including Southern Baptist Convention entities, the NWBC plans to spend $5,346,346 on its ministries in 2004, a 2.4 percent increase over the current year’s spending plan.
Nearly a third of the anticipated Cooperative Program funds, 32 percent, will continue to be forwarded to SBC missions and ministry initiatives.
Messengers elected Stan Hughes, pastor of Richland (Wash.) Baptist Church, to a one-year term as president. Also on the presidential ballot were Tim Foster, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in The Dalles, Ore., and Rickey Scott, the convention’s first vice president the past year and pastor of Riviera Baptist Church in Eugene, Ore., host city for this year’s annual meeting. In addition to representing Northwest Baptists at various events, the convention president serves as chairman of the NWBC executive board.
Messengers then elected Foster as first vice president and Sam Morgan, pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in Creswell, Ore., as second vice president, both the lone nominees for the posts.
In addition to conducting business, “Kingdom Growth Now” was the focus of 527 messengers and guests in celebrating God’s work among the churches and ministries in Oregon, Washington and north Idaho. “The Kingdom Growth Now testimonies were great examples of effective Northwest ministry,” Iorg noted. “The meeting was a celebration by Northwest Baptists of what we do best — focus on expanding God’s Kingdom.”
Additionally, speakers such as Jim Henry, pastor of First Baptist Church in Orlando, Fla., and Roy Fish, professor of evangelism at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, also urged Northwest Baptists to take practical steps toward achieving Kingdom growth.
Fish asked participants, “How do we reach a generation that is so different from the one we grew up in?” His response included: “Building relationships with people is the ultimate key to evangelism today.”
Staying with the theme, Kingdom Growth Now, Ioan (John) Brisc, pastor of the second-largest Romanian church in the United States located in Portland, asked his audience to consider their part in the Kingdom of God. Brisc outlined his concern that Christians today don’t know who they are, where their loyalties belong and what their priorities should be. “The heart of the problem is a problem of the heart,” he said about the need for Christians to surrender their all for the sake of the Kingdom.
The convention’s final session highlighted Northwest Baptists involved in global missions.
As Iorg spoke via telephone to Northwest missionaries in Brazil, Brent and Jennifer Waldrep, the audience listened and viewed slides of the Waldreps’ ministry in Salvador, Bahia. “God is teaching us about his love for every person in our region,” Waldrep said.
Iorg also talked via satellite phone with the most recently appointed Northwest missionaries, David and Julie Yngsdal, who fielded the call while in the air en route to South Africa.
Prayers were voiced for the Yngsdals and Waldreps as the telephone conversations ended.
Speaking to current social ills, convention messengers unanimously approved resolutions warning of the dangers of pornography and gambling. They also affirmed the recent legislation banning partial-birth abortion and expressed gratitude for military personnel and others fighting global terrorism.
Another resolution combined an affirmation of Christian responsibility to pray for political leaders with an appeal to God for protection and spiritual awakening in the United States.
In a convention-related matter, the NWBC executive board formalized a “ministry partnership” with Western Baptist College of Salem, Oregon.
Approved as an initial five-year “covenant,” the NWBC will recommend the college to its constituents and partners and recognize WBC as a ministry partner in the Northwest.
The Northwest Baptist Convention’s acceptance of Western Baptist is “a huge step for our college,” President Reno Hoff said. “This will give us the opportunity to enlarge our mission to another constituency in the Northwest.”