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Ohio Baptists plant 29 churches

MANSFIELD, Ohio (BP)–With the theme “That All May Hear,” messengers to the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio convened for the 56th annual meeting at the Mid-Ohio Conference Center in Mansfield Nov. 4-5.

Messengers rallied around Mission Ohio, the cooperative effort of Southern Baptists in the state to see at least 1 million new believers in 2,020 congregations by 2020.

Jack Kwok, the convention’s executive director, preached from Romans 10:9-17 and 1 Peter 3:1-7, encouraging pastors to proclaim the Gospel and to love their wives.

Kwok’s wife Kay died in June, and before his convention message their son and daughter-in-law sang one of her favorite songs, “He Leadeth Me.” After the song, messengers listened to a recording of Kay singing “It Is Well” as a video tribute to Kwok’s longtime ministry partner played on a screen.

Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, preached from 2 Corinthians 5:14-20, exhorting Ohio Baptists to be effective ambassadors for Christ.

Travis Smalley, pastor of Lakota Hills Baptist Church in West Chester, delivered the president’s address from John 17:1, challenging Ohio Baptists to love each other like Jesus loved so that the world may hear the Gospel and believe.

Kent Spann, pastor of Highland Baptist Church in Grove City, preached the annual sermon from Exodus 32 and 33, urging messengers to seek the presence of God in their ministries. Willie Jacobs, a North American Mission Board worker from Memphis, Tenn., preached from Jude 20-25 on “the business of the church after the benediction,” which he said should focus on the Great Commission. Ohio Baptists also emphasized God’s Plan for Sharing, a national evangelism strategy by Southern Baptists being led by NAMB.

The Ohio convention recognized 29 new church plants during the past year, and a representative of the Mission Ohio effort reported that since 1996 the convention has started 195 new congregations that continue to function.

Messengers approved a 2010 budget of $8.2 million, down slightly from $8.3 million in 2009. The budget includes an anticipated $4,771,148 in Cooperative Program gifts from Ohio churches. The convention will continue to retain 59.75 percent of the budget for in-state ministries while 40.25 percent will go to Southern Baptist national and international missions and ministries.

In other business, messengers elected Ron Hopkins, pastor of Briggs Road Baptist Church in Columbus, president; Randy Chestnut, pastor of Church of the Hills in Northfield, first vice president; Mike Wilson, pastor of Lincoln Heights Baptist Church in Mansfield, second vice president; Faye Rodgers, a member of Northside Baptist Church in Springfield, recording secretary; and Kwok, historian.

The Mission Council voted to create a committee to address anticipated recommendations from the Southern Baptist Convention’s Great Commission Resurgence Task Force in June. The committee will be appointed by Kwok, Smalley and Hopkins and will include at least one person from each local association.

A messenger introduced a motion to authorize Hopkins alone to appoint a committee consisting of at least one senior pastor from each association, but the motion failed.

Eight resolutions were adopted, including one encouraging church unity and another emphasizing church planting; an affirmation of the armed forces; support for the Cooperative Program; affirmation of the ministry of LifeWay Christian Resources; a call for prayer for elected officials; appreciation to the convention officers; and appreciation for the annual meeting organizers.

Next year’s annual meeting will be Nov. 3-4 at the Pritchard Laughlin Civic Center in Cambridge.
Based on a report by the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio.

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