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Outreach foreshadows Georgia 2020 plan

REVISED Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010

ALBANY, Ga. (BP)–With a Dr Pepper in his back pocket and a Bible in his hand, Tom Summers led 18 people to Christ during a “Love Albany” food distribution in conjunction with the Georgia Baptist Convention’s annual meeting in Albany.

Armed with a warm smile and handshake, Summers, pastor of Carver Road Church in Griffin, often found himself sharing the Gospel with several people at a time during the Love Albany initiative.

“I’ve just never forgotten what Jesus did for me,” Summers said.

The two-hour outreach provided a break during the annual meeting for messengers to participate in distributing 500 boxes of food, 350 Bibles and 140 “salvation dolls” for Albany residents who had completed a screening process. In all, 37 people prayed to receive Christ during Love Albany.

The outreach also demonstrated part of a 10-year plan to reach Georgia Baptists that was rolled out at the annual meeting, attended by 1,354 messengers at Sherwood Baptist Church.

The Mission Georgia 2020 report included information on population projections, societal shifts, cultural influences, community challenges and religious realities, as well as responses to those issues.

“How Georgia Baptists respond to these challenges is extremely important and will shape our ministry in the years ahead,” said J. Robert White, executive director of Georgia Baptist Convention.

The Mission Georgia 2020 report can be accessed at the convention’s website, www.gabaptist.org.

Messengers also voted to establish a new association, Southwest Atlanta Baptist Association and to accept 50 churches and missions into membership.

Regarding the convention’s GBC Study Task Force appointed in November 2009 to focus on the Great Commission and denominational accountability, chairman Larry Wynn, pastor of Hebron Baptist Church in Dacula, reported to messengers that the eight-member group is continuing its work and will be making its report next year.

In other business at the meeting, messengers voted to:

— Approve a $45 million budget for 2011, a $500,000 decrease from the current year. The convention will continue to allocate roughly 41 percent of the budget for the national and international work of the Southern Baptist Convention.

— To exclude Druid Hills Baptist Church in Atlanta because a woman is serving as co-pastor. The vote passed by a significant majority, but was not a unanimous vote.

— Redistribute remaining funds designated for Mercer University among the three remaining Baptist colleges and universities. The convention’s Mercer University committee was dissolved.

Messengers also elected a new slate of officers including Dan Spencer, pastor of First Baptist Church of Thomasville, who was re-elected to a second term as president; John Waters, pastor of First Baptist Church in Statesboro, first vice president; Joe Allen, pastor of First Baptist Church in Cairo, second vice president; Ernest Easley, pastor of Roswell Street Baptist Church in Marietta, third vice president; Jeff LaBorg, pastor of Second Baptist Church in Warner Robins, fourth vice president. Danny Henson of New Liberty Baptist Church in Ringgold was re-elected as recording secretary.

Next year’s annual meeting will be Nov 13-15 at North Metro First Baptist Church in Lawrenceville.
Sherri Brown is a special assignment reporter for The Christian Index (www.christianindex.org), newsjournal of the Georgia Baptist Convention.

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