RICHMOND, Va. (BP)–“We are but one or two generations from returning Virginia to its conservative biblical roots,” said Doyle Chauncey, the executive director/treasurer of the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia.
Chauncey’s comments were delivered during his report to messengers in Richmond, the site of the first SBCV convention.
At its five-year point, the SBCV adopted an $8.2 million budget and admitted 45 new churches.
“The incredible blessings of God continue to be poured out upon us,” Chauncey said in a later interview. “The trend that began two years ago continues,” he said, recalling that in both 1999 and 2000, the SBCV added 41 churches. “With the addition of 45 churches this year, the statistic remains that a church joins the SBCV every eight or nine days.”
Sixteen of the 45 were newly planted churches, which Chauncey said is among the reasons he believes that “God’s hand blesses the people who revere the Bible, God’s inerrant Word, and attempt to fulfill its most important mandate — sharing the life-changing message of Jesus Christ.”
The SBCV now totals 334 churches, 286 of which are uniquely aligned with the SBCV. Only one of its 45 churches added this year was dually aligned with the SBCV and the Baptist General Association of Virginia.
“Can you believe our budget?” Chauncey asked the crowd of almost 1,000. “In 1996, our budget was $800,000. And last year, we exceeded the budget by $150,000.” The SBCV also exceeded its 2000 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering goal of $1.4 million for international missions, taking in $1.6 million, and its Annie Armstrong Easter Offering goal of $450,000, receiving $545,000 for North American missions.
Chauncey said the SBCV splits its Cooperative Program receipts with the Southern Baptist Convention on a 66-to-34 percent ratio, with 66 percent supporting SBC causes. He noted the reverse apportionment is the norm in almost all other state Baptist conventions. Messengers adopted the new budget unanimously.
Church planting remains the SBCV’s priority both in philosophy and finances, with the 2002 budget funneling 23 percent to the endeavor of starting theologically conservative churches in Virginia.
“It’s not hard to find a minister who wants a job,” Chauncey said. “But who the SBCV is looking for is men with a call to church planting and a real heart for the work of God. They are the ones who will be successful in church planting. The SBCV’s future is bright, and we are here to stay.”
John Marks, pastor of Kingsland Baptist Church, Richmond, was re-elected president by acclamation as were Jim Smith, pastor of Second Baptist Church, South Boston, as second vice president and Doug Echols, pastor of Enon Baptist Church, Chester, as secretary. The one contested election was for first vice president. Dennis Culbreth, pastor of River Oak Baptist Church, Chesapeake, was nominated by John Powers of First Baptist Church, Norfolk, and Houston “Chip” Roberson, pastor of Bethel Baptist Church, Chesapeake, by Herschel Adams, pastor of Sonlight Baptist Church, Chesapeake. Dennis Culbreth won on a show of hands.
In other action:
— T.C. Pinckney, editor of the independent news publication Baptist Banner, delivered a report on the status of the paper including information on his website, www.thebaptistbanner.com. He said the Banner has more than 19,600 subscribers.
Messengers adopted a resolution concerning the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, affirming President Bush, the Congress, fire, police and disaster relief personnel, and pledging to pray for the survivors and families, for U.S. military personnel, for the nation’s enemies, for God’s protection and for revival in America.
Other staff reports revealed:
— the SBCV’s partnership in the Romania Chapel Project planted and built 50 churches, and those 50 congregations have planted 90 other churches, and that 42 people representing 12 SBCV churches ministered in Ukraine in the SBCV’s newest partnership.
— the SBCV sent more than 2,400 backpacks full of school supplies in response to the Armenia Backpack Project.
— more than 1,100 people were trained in various SBCV church leadership conferences and workshops held across the state.
— more than 1,000 women attended an SBCV women’s conference in Norfolk.
— the SBCV executive board approved a funding policy that will help its churches advertise an evangelism strategy known as the Evangelism Response Center.
— more than 1,000 students attended SBCV-sponsored youth camps in 2001.
Details on all these ministries are available at www.sbcv.org.
Messengers approved the Strategy Planning Task Force Report with its concise purpose statement, “The Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia is a fellowship of Southern Baptist Convention churches cooperating to assist local congregations in their task of fulfilling the Great Commission as commanded by our Lord, Jesus Christ.” The addition of the last phrase, “as commanded by our Lord, Jesus Christ,” was moved by Rodney Houston, pastor of Chatmoss Baptist Church, Martinsville, and adopted almost unanimously.
The statement emphasizes three points: the SBCV is comprised of Southern Baptist Convention-related churches, the SBCV’s role is to assist local congregations; and the SBCV is to help those churches go and tell the Great Commission.
The report also notes six core values: “Our foundation is the Word of God, Our fellowship is built on healthy relationships, Our focus is strengthening the local church, Our function is to assist churches to be on mission, Our future includes church planting.”
The report recommended the appointment of an implementation task force to implement the strategic plan.
The task force will be chaired by Kelly Burris, pastor of Kempsvile Baptist Church, Virginia Beach, and former SBCV president. Members will be Rick Elmore, pastor of Cave Spring Baptist Church, Roanoke; Don Matthews, associate pastor of Swift Creek Baptist Church, Midlothian; Lin Perkins, a layman from Smith Memorial Baptist Church, Williamsburg; Tim Piland, pastor of Nansemond River Baptist Church, Suffolk; Chip Roberson, pastor of Bethel Baptist Church, Chesapeake; and Carl Weiser, pastor of Hyland Heights Baptist Church, Lynchburg.
The 2002 annual meeting is scheduled for Nov. 11-12 in Roanoke.
T.C. Pinckney contributed to this report.