News Articles

STATE MEETINGS: Arizona, Iowa increase CP giving; Alabama celebrates missions

Arizona Southern Baptists celebrate CP at multi-site meeting

By Elizabeth Young/Arizona Southern Baptist Convention

Despite an uncertain year caused by the pandemic, Arizona Southern Baptists celebrated increased Cooperative Program giving so far in 2020 at their annual meeting Nov. 13, where they also adopted a 2021 budget that will send more to Southern Baptist Convention causes for the seventh straight year.

In a first for Arizona Southern Baptists, messengers gathered at four sites linked electronically throughout the state to conduct business and worship together.

The single afternoon worship and business session was conducted at CalvaryPHX Church in Phoenix and simulcast at Mountain View Baptist Church in Tucson, Iglesia Cristiana Tierra Fertil in Yuma and Greenlaw Baptist Church in Flagstaff. During business portions of the program, messengers at all sites could see and interact with one another.

The meeting, with the theme “Above & Beyond,” was attended by 160 messengers and 27 registered guests from 73 of the convention’s 469 churches.

Messengers adopted a $4,336,337.04 operating budget for 2021. The operating budget includes $3,461,200 in anticipated Cooperative Program giving from churches, the same as the 2020 budget.

The Cooperative Program budget allocates $1,263,338 or 36.5 percent to the Southern Baptist Convention for national and international missions and ministries, a .5 percentage point increase.

The increase represents another step in reaching Arizona Southern Baptists’ Centennial Vision goal of giving 50 percent of Cooperative Program receipts to missions outside the state through the SBC by 2028. It’s the seventh consecutive year for an increase, resulting in a total rise of 10.5 points.

The remaining Cooperative Program budget will be distributed as follows: Arizona Southern Baptist Convention, $1,713.294 (49.5 percent), a decrease of .5 percentage point from 2020; Arizona Baptist Children’s Services & Family Ministries, $242,284 (7 percent); and the Arizona Campus of Gateway Seminary, $242,284, (7 percent).

The operating budget is $615,660.04, a 12.4 percent decrease from the 2020 budget.

Income sources in the AZSBC operating budget beyond Cooperative Program giving by Arizona churches include $224,250 from the North American Mission Board – down from $1,077,514.50 in 2020 –  and $383,387.04 in fees and other revenue.

Other reductions reflect a change in church planting funds needed as well as the discontinuation of a ministry partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources.

Savings were also realized in reducing Portraits magazine, Arizona Southern Baptists’ official publication, from six to four issues per year starting in 2021.

Jack Marslender, senior pastor of Avondale Baptist Church in Avondale, was unanimously elected president. He succeeds Ashley Evans, pastor of 22nd Street Baptist Church in Tucson, who completed a second one-year term as president at the annual meeting.

Ramon Rodriguez, pastor of Iglesia Bautista Central in Phoenix, was elected first vice president in a ballot vote of 85-32 over George Lyman, outgoing second vice president and pastor of Desert Shores Community Baptist Church in Bullhead City. Lyman was then unanimously elected to a second one-year term as second vice president.

Read the full story here.

Iowa Baptists approve 10-point increase in CP allocation

By BCI Staff

The Baptist Convention of Iowa Executive Board’s decision to move the convention’s meeting online proved to be providential as COVID-19 cases in Iowa surged in mid-November, new restrictive guidelines were issued by the governor and many churches temporarily closed to in-person gatherings, including what was to be the host church for the meeting.

Rather than a live streamed meeting or Zoom call, the BCI staff opted to create four one-hour episodes featuring interviews with key SBC leaders, BCI pastors, and ministry partners.

BCI Executive Director Tim Lubinus conducted in-depth interviews with Ronnie Floyd, Ben Mandrell, Russell Moore, Kevin Ezell, Jason Allen, and Paul Chitwood. The complete interviews with SBC entity heads and BCI pastors and partners are available at bciowa.org/annualmeeting.

Since there was no in-person meeting, much of the convention’s business was voted on by the BCI Executive Board. In order to ensure pastors and members of BCI churches had input into the decisions, the board conducted virtual town hall meetings via Zoom during the last half of October.

The BCI Executive Board voted to approve a budget of $1,537,850 for 2021, a decrease of 9.8 percent from 2020.

The board voted to increase the budget’s allocation to national Cooperative Program causes from 50 percent to 60 percent. The Baptist Convention of Iowa also gives 10 percent of regular undesignated receipts to 10 Iowa nonprofit organizations through the Iowa Ministry Fund. The budget does not include any shared ministry expenses with the SBC.

Officers elected by the executive board 2021 are: President Michael Felkins, pastor of Grand Avenue Baptist Church in Ames; First Vice President Todd Stiles, pastor of First Family Church in Ankeny; Second Vice President Ricky Rohrig, pastor of Crossroads Community Church in Red Oak; and Secretary Jerome Risting, pastor of Temple Baptist Church in Mason City. All officers were unopposed and were elected by unanimous vote.

Elected as regional representative executive board members were Tim Trudeau, Central Region; Darin Ulmer, Northeast Region; Dave Miller, Northwest Region; Ben McKim, Southwest Region; and Paul Miller, Southeast Region.

Read the full story here.

In lieu of meeting, Alabama Baptists hold online missions celebration

By Grace Thornton/The Alabama Baptist

Rick Lance said when he read the story of the demolition of the Silverdome in Pontiac, Mich., he was captivated.

“There was an explosion, there was a lot of smoke, but when the smoke cleared, the stadium was still there,” said Lance, executive director of the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions.

The steel was so strong that it was not easily destroyed, he told viewers of the Online State Missions Celebration Nov. 17.

“I think our churches need to be like that – so strong, built on the foundation of Jesus Christ, that come pandemic or whatever, when the smoke clears we’re still there,” he said.

During the hour-long celebration, Lance encouraged Alabama Baptists to keep moving forward in ministry even in these tough times and thanked them for their continued cooperation in the Great Commission.

The celebration was held instead of an in-person Alabama Baptist State Convention annual meeting due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The annual meeting was originally slated to include an International Mission Board sending celebration, which also moved to a virtual experience Nov. 18.

The cancellation of the annual meeting also resulted in the state’s budget, budget allocations and slate of officers remaining unchanged for the next year.

The mission board’s budget of $37.5 million will be split 50/50 between state causes and Southern Baptist Convention causes.

Read the full story here.

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