PORTLAND, Ore. (BP)–Messengers to the Northwest Baptist Convention considered changes to the state’s constitution and adopted a “Fresh Statement for the Future” during their Nov. 8-9 annual meeting at Jantzen Beach Doubletree Hotel in Portland, Ore.
A key order of business was the proposed adoption of the Baptist Faith and Message, as framed by the Southern Baptist Convention in June, as the statement of faith for the Northwest convention.
Messengers voted to refer the issue back to the convention’s constitution committee. As a result, the 1963 BFM statement as amended in 1998 to include a family article will continue to be the doctrinal guideline for at least another year.
Tim Palmer, pastor of Tammany View Baptist Church, Lewiston, Idaho, brought the recommendation from the convention’s constitution committee during the Nov. 8 business session.
Messengers referred the recommendation back to the committee on ballot vote, acting on a motion from the floor by Max Daley, a messenger from Pacific Baptist Church, Depoe Bay, Ore.
The motion to refer stated, “… that the proposed amendment be referred to the Constitution Committee with instructions to wait at least a year before presenting it again; that the 2000 Statement be distributed to the churches, and that the involved changes be published as soon as practical in the Northwest Witness.”
“What’s the hurry?” Daley asked. “The SBC changed its statement in 1998 and again just last June. Some further changes will likely be presented at the 2001 convention next June.
“We should not change the statement of what we believe without much study and prayer,” Daley added.
Messengers did adopt a revised Fresh Statement for the Future, reaffirming the framework for shared work in the NWBC.
The original statement, adopted in 1995, has guided NWBC work for almost five years. The convention’s executive board asked for a revision to simplify the language and sharpen the focus for the future.
The revised fourfold statement focuses on:
— “Our Identity: We are a regional network of churches working together to fulfill the Great Commission of Jesus Christ.
— “Our Vision: We will do whatever it takes to effectively share the good news of Jesus Christ throughout the cultures of the Northwest and build strong churches that will impact their communities and the world.
— “Our Objectives: We work together, believing churches can do more through cooperation than by individual effort to accomplish these shared objectives: Develop and encourage ministry leaders, Promote evangelism and balanced church growth, Facilitate starting new churches and mission ministries, Provide a channel for worldwide missions involvement.
— “Our Strategy: We rely on churches and associations to initiate field-based strategies to fulfill our vision and employ our convention staff to assist them according to our shared objectives.”
“We continue to be focused on missions, evangelism, and leadership development,” said Jeff Iorg, the convention’s executive director. “The annual meeting was a great time for renewed commitment to those core tasks. I’m thankful for the continued unity and excitement we have.”
In other business, Phil Peters, pastor of First Baptist, Drain, Ore., was re-elected to a second one-year term as president. Elected as first and second vice president, respectively, were Kevin White, pastor of First Baptist Church, Longview, Wash., and Warren Haynes, pastor, First Baptist Church, Dallas, Ore., both as the lone nominees for the posts.
The meeting was attended by 453 messengers and 128 visitors.
In other meeting business:
— Messengers also approved a $5,129,814 budget, a $131,823 increase over last year’s budget. It includes a projected $2,725,000 for Cooperative Program national and international missions and ministries, which is 31 percent of the total, excluding payment on the Northwest Baptist Center.
— Four new churches were welcomed into the NWBC: Valleybrook Community Church, Veradale, Wash.; Inner City Baptist Church, Portland; Mountain View Baptist Fellowship, Gresham, Ore.; and Key Peninsula Baptist Church, Wauna, Wash.
— The largest gathering of Northwest Baptists in the history of the NWBC was recorded Nov. 7 at the New Hope Community Church in Portland to take part in a historic missionary moment. The International Mission Board held its first-ever appointment service in the Northwest. An estimated 1,800 people were in attendance to witness the commissioning of 33 career missionaries.
— Resolutions approved by the messengers included an affirmation of the Cooperative Program and challenge to the churches to increase CP giving by 1 percent of their budgets.
Special guests appearing and speaking at the meeting included Jerry Rankin, president of the International Mission Board; Avery Willis, senior vice president for overseas operations for the IMB; Janet Hoffman, president of the Woman’s Missionary Union (Hoffman spoke at the NWBC WMU meeting); and Frank Lewis, pastor of the First Baptist Church, Nashville, Tenn. Lewis also spoke at the NWBC Pastor’s Conference.
The 2001 annual meeting of the NWBC will be held Nov. 13-14 in Tacoma, Wash.