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Northwest Baptists welcome 13 churches

TACOMA, Wash. (BP)–Northwest Baptist Convention messengers elected a Washington pastor as president, approved a $5.85 million budget for ministry needs in 2010 and welcomed 13 churches into affiliation during their 62nd annual meeting Nov. 10-11 in Tacoma, Wash.

With the theme “Greater Things Are Still To Be Done” as a background, the gathering drew more than 360 messengers and 70 visitors to Tacoma First Baptist Church.

Messengers elected Scott Brewer, pastor of Meadowbrook Church in Redmond, Wash., as president over Walt Kellcy, pastor of First Baptist Church in Lakewood, Wash., and Rickey Scott, pastor of Riviera Baptist Church in Eugene, Ore. Brewer is the first pastor from the Seattle metropolitan area to serve as convention president since the early 1990s.

Messengers also elected Kellcy as first vice president and Steve Heinze, pastor of First Baptist Church in Florence, Ore., as second vice president, both by acclamation.

Without discussion, messengers approved a $5.85 million budget for NWBC ministries in 2010. The spending plan represents no increase over the 2009 budget.

The 2010 budget anticipates $3.2 million in Cooperative Program gifts from Northwest churches. Those CP gifts comprise 55.2 percent of the spending plan.

The budget reflects no increase in the amount of CP funds forwarded for national and international missions and ministries. The SBC will receive 25.5 percent ($816,000) of NWBC CP funds. An additional 6 percent ($200,400) of the CP portion of the budget will support operating expenses for the Pacific Northwest Campus of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Vancouver, Wash.

Additional revenue for the overall 2010 NWBC budget includes nearly $2 million (34.2 percent) from the North American Mission Board and another $63,900 (1.1 percent) from LifeWay Christian Resources.

Messengers approved continuation of a three-fold emphasis on church planting, evangelism and leadership training for the convention’s regional mission offering. The 2010 goal for the Sylva Wilson Mission Offering, named in memory of one of the Northwest’s early Woman’s Missionary Union leaders, is $120,000. Half goes toward church planting and the other half supports leadership development ministries.

The 13 churches welcomed into convention affiliation bring the number of NWBC churches to more than 420.

“We wholeheartedly recommend these churches to you,” said Dustin Hall, pastor of Kennewick Baptist Church in Kennewick, Wash., and chairman of the credential committee.

The Washington churches welcomed into the convention are Agape Community Church in Mountlake Terrace; Connect Church in Lynnwood; Epic Life Church in Seattle; Filipino Christian Fellowship in Oak Harbor; Imago Dei in Des Moines; The Journey Community in Bothell; and New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Pasco.

The new Oregon churches are Freedom Pointe Church in Eugene; Mill City Baptist Church in Mill City; and New Life International Baptist Church, Eden Bible Church, Emmaus Church and Oregon Korean United Church in Portland.

Brewer, in addressing the convention, urged messengers to believe again in the possibility of a spiritual awakening in the Northwest.

“We must live day in and day out in believing [God] for greater things,” Brewer said. “I know there’s fatigue in the house, that there’s woundedness and brokenness and disappointment. With all that in the context, will you believe?”

Since moving to the Northwest from Kentucky 20 years ago to start a church, Brewer has seen many leaders get “beat up and move back to where they’ve come from” when their ministries don’t meet their expectations.

“I’m just guessing that there’re some brothers and sisters in the room who have prayed and worked and believed, but there’s not a lot to show for it in terms of a movement,” Brewer said. “That’s not to dismiss the wonderful things that have happened, but the idea of a movement, a great awakening if you will, it just hasn’t happened.”

In urging leaders to keep hoping in the Lord, Brewer pointed to the story of Jesus asking His disciples to “cast out their nets” again after an unsuccessful fishing excursion.

“I go through these bouts of disappointment and discouragement,” Brewer said. “God meets me at that point and doesn’t so much pat me on the back…. He comes at me with a command — believe again.”

Brewer said a recent assessment of Northwest population groups by global mission researchers indicated the potential for a significant spiritual harvest.

“If there’s anywhere in America where God will do a similar movement as we see around the globe, it’s in the Northwest,” he said. “I’m hearing Jesus once again say, ‘Drop the nets, open your heart to some new paradigms and some new methodologies, and see if I won’t fill the nets.'”

Such a movement points to the need for the cooperative ministries of convention churches, Brewer said.

“We need each other for the movement of God, for the awakening of God, for the reviving He wants to do, for the harvest He wants to bring in a Kingdom-expanding, net-busting kind of way.”

Messengers approved resolutions including support for men and women who serve in uniform; encouragement to pray for the nation’s elected political leaders; support for adoption of children; commitment to prayer for three SBC entities as they search for new leaders; encouragement of faithful stewardship amid difficult economic times; and appreciation for convention leaders in a new “regional approach” to assisting churches.

Next year’s annual meeting will be Nov. 15-16 in eastern Washington.
Cameron Crabtree is editor of the Northwest Baptist Witness, newsjournal of the Northwest Baptist Convention.

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