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Northwest goal of 10,000 baptisms would triple current year’s projection

EUGENE, Ore. (BP)–A goal of 10,000 baptisms in 2000 was set by Northwest Baptists during their Nov. 9-11 annual meeting — a goal that would more than triple the expected 1999 total of about 3,000 baptisms in Washington, Oregon and northern Idaho.
The goal came in the form of one of six resolutions passed by about 500 messengers in attendance at the Eugene Hilton Conference Center. The goal was in support of the regional convention’s “Partners in the Harvest” emphasis, which nationally has been set as the theme for the 75th anniversary of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Cooperative Program channel of support for national and international missions.
Messengers voted “to double our evangelistic efforts in order to reach our convention goal of 10,000 baptisms; [for every church] to be involved in a volunteer mission project outside the local church — such as Jericho 2000 [evangelistic outreach blanketing 80,000 homes in the Tri-Cities area of central Washington next July] or World Changers [construction missions project in Bremerton, Wash. next July], and to commit to increase Cooperative Program giving by at least one percent by the year 2001.”
The pace of baptisms already is increasing, Jeff Iorg, executive director of the Northwest Baptist Convention, announced in his report.
“The staff started the first day at work in 1999 and, once a month since, praying together that the pace of the harvest would increase,” Iorg said. “Let me report it is doing just that. Baptisms have increased 20 percent. That’s almost 300 more people.”
Iorg gave three examples of the increase: The six churches in Coast Baptist Association doubled their baptisms, from 16 to 32; Yakima Valley Baptist Association increased from 80 last year to 154 this year; and Columbia Basin Baptist Association went from 197 to 305.
Opposition to assisted suicide and state-sponsored gambling were among other resolutions approved by messengers to the NWBC’s 52nd annual meeting.
Another affirmed the pre-eminence of and confidence in Jesus Christ by Northwest Baptists, despite the uncertainty of a new millennium.
A fifth resolution spoke to the 2 Chronicles 7:14 need for repentant prayer and a request for godly guidance in the matter of voting in 2000 for a United States president and vice president.
In other business, the messengers elected a slate of three officers — President Phil Peters, pastor of First Baptist Church, Drain, Ore.; First Vice President Carlton Butler, retired pastor and volunteer church builder; and Second Vice President Ted Haws, pastor of Trinity Baptist Church, Lebanon, Ore. — and approved a $4,997,991 budget.
The $4,997,991 budget is a $258,540 — 5.46 percent — increase over 1999. It includes a projected $2,633,316 to the SBC Cooperative Program, which remains at 31 percent of the Northwest CP total after the convention’s payment on its Northwest Baptist Center in Vancouver, Wash., which opened in 1997.
Messengers also welcomed eight new congregations to the Northwest Baptist Convention, including the region’s first Russian congregation, four Korean congregations, and one each Hispanic, predominantly African American and predominantly Anglo congregations. The NWBC’s approximately 420 congregations in Washington, Oregon and northern Idaho worship Sundays in 17 languages.
As part of its mission to impact the world with the gospel, Northwest Baptists brought almost a half-ton of rice to their annual meeting. It will be included in a shipment to be sent to North Korea in 50-kilo sacks stating “Southern Baptists in America’s Love Gift to North Korea” for delivery by the New Year. North Korea Christians will be able to use the delivery to show that God cares for the starving people in that nation.
Missions/ministry leaders in the Northwest set a 20-ton (semi-trailer-load) goal of rice to be delivered to the Northwest Baptist Center in Vancouver by Thanksgiving. That truckload will be sent for off-loading onto a container ship in Houston. The Georgia Baptist Convention formulated the project, which has a goal of 3,000 metric tons of food from SBC entities.
Next year’s annual meeting will be Nov. 7-8 in Portland, Ore., and is scheduled to include an International Mission Board commissioning service.