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S.C. convention extends Empowering Kingdom Growth

COLUMBIA, S.C. (BP)-The South Carolina Baptist Convention’s “Empowering Kingdom Growth” emphasis will be extended through 2007, as a recommendation from the state convention’s executive board was approved by messengers to the Nov. 13-14 annual meeting at First Baptist Church, Columbia.

While messenger registration was down from 1,378 in 2000 to 1,298 in 2001, more than 3,700 attended Tuesday evening’s missionary appointment service by the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Empowering Kingdom Growth (EKG) is the 10-year emphasis of the state convention that began in 1992 and was slated to conclude in 2002. It has assisted many churches in focusing on God’s will for their future outreach, and it has focused the convention staff on serving churches regardless of size, age or culture. The success of EKG has been measured through record increases in baptisms, missions volunteerism, Bible study and discipleship participation, and cooperative giving to missions.

The new chapter of Empowering Kingdom Growth 2002-2007 sets faith-based goals for the convention, including: 600 new churches by 2007; baptizing 100,000 people during the five-year emphasis, including one baptism in every church during 2007 and 25,000 in the year 2007; and sending 250,000 Baptists on missions projects during the five years.

Between the annual meeting and the launch of EKG 2002-2007 next November, the convention’s executive director-treasurer, B. Carlisle Driggers, will work closely with the executive board on initiatives to achieve the results.

Messengers also approved the executive board’s recommendation of a $31.1 million budget for 2002 — an increase of $1 million over the 2001 budget of $30.1 million. The budget is based on past budget receipts. Within the Cooperative Program section of the budget, 60 percent of the funds will continue to go to South Carolina Baptist Convention causes and 40 percent to Southern Baptist Convention causes.

Randall Jones, pastor of Langston Baptist Church, Conway, was elected as the convention’s 2002 president. Jones, a lifelong South Carolina Baptist, has served churches, associations, the state convention and the Southern Baptist Convention for more than 40 years. He was first vice president of the state convention in 2001.

Other 2002 officers include Eddie Leopard, first vice president, pastor of Millbrook Baptist Church, Aiken; Danny Burnley, second vice president, pastor of Sierra Baptist Church, Anderson; and Wanda Bridwell, recording secretary, member of Brushy Creek Baptist Church, Taylors.

Messengers approved seven resolutions, giving separate approval to each one. Resolutions called on messengers to give appreciation to host church First Baptist, Columbia; support South Carolina Baptist associations; pray for the nation, especially in light of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks; oppose the South Carolina lottery; oppose embryonic stem-cell research; support the public display of the Ten Commandments; and support the Southern Baptist Convention, including the Cooperative Program, and affirm the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message statement of beliefs.

The resolution on support of the Southern Baptist Convention and the Baptist Faith and Message was the only resolution discussed by messengers. A motion by Earl Crumpler of Ashley River Baptist Church, Charleston, to send the resolution to the 2002 resolutions committee for additional study was defeated. The resolution was then adopted on a show of ballots.

The resolution on the public display of the Ten Commandments calls on the state convention’s executive board to display the Ten Commandments at all SCBC facilities, encourages churches and associations to display them, and asks SCBC institution trustees to consider the display. Further, the resolution calls on the state government to display the Ten Commandments at all public facilities, including schools and courthouses. Later, South Carolina Gov. Jim Hodges gave his endorsement to the public display of the Ten Commandments in schools as part of his character education initiatives.

In general business, messengers approved a motion from the floor that instructs the 2002 SCBC president to form a committee to study the relationship of the convention with Furman University, specifically the future placement of items in the South Carolina Baptist Historical Collection housed there.

Tony Beam of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, Fountain Inn, introduced the motion, which was approved without discussion. Prior to the vote, Beam said he does not want to affect the historical collection currently at Furman, but wants another site established that will house future items.

Messengers gave approval to a change in the convention bylaws that calls on the president to appoint two convention parliamentarians whose duties are described in the latest edition of Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised. The convention has historically had one parliamentarian during its annual business session. The bylaws change provides two parliamentarians as a protection against an emergency that might prevent the attendance of one.

In other business, messengers:

— heard through the Cooperative Program report that Henry Stanford, retiring director of missions in the Welsh Neck Baptist Association, is joining the convention staff as a CP associate with the information resources team, responsible for CP marketing and promotion. The position is not new, but rather is a vacant position that is being changed;

— heard that 120 South Carolina Baptists have visited Taiwan during the first year of the international partnership. The missions trips yielded 30 professions of faith and distribution of more than 40,000 pieces of information;

— concluded the South Carolina convention’s five-year partnership with West Virginia. During the five years, South Carolina sent 668 teams with 13,222 volunteers to West Virginia. The partnership produced more than 2,000 professions of faith. South Carolina will continue to work with West Virginia Baptists through the Appalachian Regional Ministry, a coalition of nine states;

— recognized First Baptist Church, Pamplico, and First Baptist Church, Hartsville, which received annual history awards for churches with exceptional church histories. The awards were presented by Glen Clayton, curator of the S.C. Baptist Historical Collection. Clayton also recognized the 250th anniversary of the Charleston Baptist Association, the first Baptist association in the South; and,

— recognized Mike Hamlet, pastor of First Baptist Church, North Spartanburg, as the 2001 recipient of the E.A. McDowell Award for his public service in the effort to stop legalized gambling in South Carolina. Catawba Baptist Church, Rock Hill, also was recognized with the first Impact Your World Award given to a church that is empowering kingdom growth by dealing with social and moral issues through local community ministry opportunities. Tommy Huddleston is pastor of the congregation. The convention’s Christian life and public affairs committee presented both awards.

Next year’s annual meeting will be Nov. 12-13 in Columbia.

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  • Scott Vaughan