Arkansas Baptists cooperate through service
By Travis McCormick/ABSC
HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (BP) – The 169th Annual Meeting of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) convened, Oct. 25-26 at First Baptist Church in Hot Springs. The annual Pastors’ and Ministers’ Wives Conferences took place Oct. 24.
Church planters and their sending churches were treated to a dinner on Monday evening, Oct. 24, hosted by the Church Planting Team of the ABSC.
J.D. “Sonny” Tucker, ABSC Executive Director, introduced the theme for the annual meeting, and talked about what it meant to have “The Heart of a Servant.” He reminded messengers that they represent autonomous, independent churches.
“Arkansas Baptists and Southern Baptists don’t have churches,” he said. “We don’t control you, supervise you or pick your staff. The peak of any hierarchy is the local church.” He encouraged those in attendance to “join with us as your servants.”
Messengers adopted a $21 million budget for the Convention, unchanged from last year. Of that, 45.62 percent will be forwarded to the SBC Executive Committee for national and international Southern Baptist ministry. That allocation is virtually unchanged from last year.
The state’s Sexual Abuse Task Force, formed at last year’s meeting, released its report Oct. 25 along with recommendations.
During the morning session, Secretary Matt Duran noted that the report was intended to protect minors and adults and to aid churches and ABSC entities to be above reproach. Chairman Brad Lewter made a motion that the report be approved. A second was obtained and the report was unanimously approved by messengers.
During the Executive Board report, messengers were informed about the new expanded church planting partnership between the North American Mission Board and the ABSC. During their August 16 meeting, the Executive Board voted unanimously to expand the partnership by entering into an enhanced church planting partnership called Send Network Arkansas.
In an address to messengers, ABSC Executive Director Tucker spoke about the true pathway to greatness. Speaking from 1 Peter 5, Tucker said that it is humility that makes someone great. He said that humility is the biblical model, “You can’t beat it. You can’t fight it. You can’t overpower it. You can’t overcome it. You can’t undo it. This is the model that God honors. He resists the proud and gives favor to the humble.”
After his message, the SBC Executive Committee and the Executive Board of the ABSC held a reception in honor of Tucker’s upcoming retirement Dec. 31.
Officers of the ABSC reelected to second terms are: President Larry D. White, pastor of Woodland Heights Baptist Church in Conway; First Vice President David Mitchell, pastor of Mt. Carmel Baptist Church in Cabot; and Second Vice President Johnny Harp, pastor of Lakeview Baptist Church in Cave Springs.
Next year’s meeting is scheduled for Oct. 23-25 at Nettleton Baptist Church in Jonesboro.
New Mexico Baptists turn eyes toward God
By Isaiah Unland/Baptist New Mexican
FARMINGTON (BP) – New Mexico Baptists attending the 2022 annual meeting of the Baptist Convention of New Mexico approved a 2023 budget, elected new officers, and placed an emphasis on Cooperative Program giving and abuse prevention trainings. Through an announced partnership with MinistrySafe (ministrysafe.com), the BCNM announced it is offering a year of free Sexual Abuse Awareness resources for SBC churches in the state.
One-hundred-eighty-six messengers and 79 visitors attended the Annual Meeting at Emmanuel Baptist Church Farmington, Oct. 25-26. The meeting emphasized the theme “Our Eyes Are on You,” derived from 2 Chronicles 20:12. The Scripture says, “Our God, will you not judge them? For we are powerless before this vast number that comes to fight against us. We do not know what to do, but we look to you.” Sermons during the meeting emphasized seeking and interacting with God.
Before the larger meeting convened, the BCNM hosted a Women’s Missionary Union Missions Celebration and a Pastors’ and Laymen’s Conference at Grace Hill Church in Farmington Oct. 25.
During the annual meeting’s Tuesday afternoon opening session, messengers heard President Ronny Cooksey’s presidential address. Messengers also adopted the convention program and heard reports from the convention’s State Mission Board.
The Tuesday evening session included music worship led by Daniel Gray, worship minister at the host church, Emmanuel Baptist Church. The session also featured the convention’s traditional new staff introductions. During that session convention missionary staff team leaders told ministry stories and convention executive director, Steve Ballew, preached.
The worship team from Tooh Worship Center in Shiprock – a Navajo church – led Wednesday morning’s music worship. Phillip Smith, pastor of First Baptist Church Portales, preached the Annual Sermon. Both the New Mexico Baptist Children’s Home and the New Mexico Baptist Foundation gave a report to messengers.
During the Wednesday morning business session, the convention’s Committee on Committees presented its report along with the State Mission Board’s second report, a Nominating Committee report, and the Resolutions Committee’s report. Mac Brunson, senior pastor, Valleydale Church in Birmingham, Ala., preached the final message of the annual meeting.
New officers elected include President Lamar Morin, pastor of Hoffmantown Church in Albuquerque; First Vice President Stephen Baum, pastor of First Baptist Church of West Albuquerque; and Second Vice President Al Carroll, pastor of First Baptist Church in Bernalillo.
Messengers approved the convention’s 2023 proposed budget, which allocates 29 percent of Cooperative Program receipts from churches to national Southern Baptist Convention causes and retains 71 percent for BCNM ministries. This percentage is the same as the previous year.
The 2023 adopted budget of $4,233,031 is a 2.4 percent increase over the 2022 budget.
Next year’s meeting is scheduled for Oct. 24-25 at Sandia Baptist Church in Albuquerque.