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STATE MEETINGS: California celebrates financial rebound; Illinois marks ‘many victories’

Financial rebound, COVID ministry celebrated at CSBC virtual meeting

By David Roach/California Southern Baptist

FRESNO, Calif. (BP) – A budget recovery, ongoing pandemic ministries and an East Asia missions partnership were among topics highlighted in reports at the California Southern Baptist Convention’s virtual annual meeting Oct. 27.

The 40-minute video presentation replaced this year’s in-person CSBC annual meeting, which was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Until the 2021 annual meeting, all official convention business is being conducted by the CSBC Executive Board on the convention’s behalf, as stipulated in CSBC governing documents. Convention officers will remain in place until their successors are elected in the fall of 2021.

In the meantime, the virtual meeting updated California Southern Baptists on the convention’s ministries and health. CSBC President Shawn Beaty expressed hope for reinvigorated ministry next year while noting God’s guiding hand during the pandemic.

The 2021 CSBC budget, adopted by the executive board in September, sparked celebration during the event because it increases by five percentage points the portion of Cooperative Program receipts forwarded to Southern Baptist Convention for world missions. Out of an anticipated $6,245,000 in CP gifts from churches, $2.2 million (35 percent) will be forwarded to SBC causes, up from 30 percent in the current budget year.

Other allocations for 2021 include CSBC Executive Board ministries – 62 percent, or $3,871,900; California Baptist University – 2 percent or $124,900; and The Baptist Foundation of California – 1 percent, or $62,450.

Last year, annual meeting messengers reduced the SBC’s portion of CP receipts from 35 to 30 percent to address budget shortfalls at the executive board and Jenness Park Christian Camp. With budget adjustments complete at the executive board and the sale of Jenness Park in July, funds for national and international missions and ministries were restored.

CSBC Executive Director Bill Agee expressed thanks that CSBC messengers had the wisdom to make temporary budget adjustments to facilitate increased missions giving long-term. Churches “believed in us and trusted us to make the necessary hard calls,” he said.

San Diego-area pastor Rolland Slade, who chairs the SBC Executive Committee, told California churches, “Your leadership is exemplary, and I pray that our convention overall – the Southern Baptist Convention – follows your example” by increasing giving to world missions.

Next year’s meeting is scheduled for Oct. 26-27 in West Sacramento.

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Illinois Baptists celebrate pivots, perseverance

By Meredith Flynn/Illinois Baptist

DECATUR, Ill. (BP) – In a year no one anticipated, the Illinois Baptist State Association made necessary shifts in ministry while continuing to connect with leaders and develop the next generation.

Illinois Baptists worship at their COVID-friendly annual meeting Thursday (Nov. 4).

“Pivot and Persevere” set the theme for the 2020 IBSA Annual Meeting, held Nov. 4 at Tabernacle Baptist Church. The meeting was livestreamed for viewers watching at home. At the first seating of messengers, 126 were registered in Decatur; additional messengers from newly affiliating churches were seated later. Safety precautions, including temperature checks, face coverings and social distancing, were in place for the one-day meeting.

It has been a highly challenging year to do ministry, said IBSA Executive Director Nate Adams in his report in Decatur. While state staff would have preferred in-person ministry to connect with churches across the state, 2020’s major vehicles were online – webinars, town halls, prayer gatherings and leadership training.

“In spite of the weeks and months in varying degrees of shutdown,” Adams said, “by God’s grace, we can still celebrate many victories.”

Across Illinois, IBSA saw 14 new churches planted in 2020, and 60 churches are in some stage of planning or planting right now. The association also welcomed 10 new churches through affiliation. Adams reported that more than 800 pastors and leaders have been engaged in leadership development in 2020, in addition to general ministry skill training delivered to more than 4,000 leaders from more than 500 churches.

IBSA Executive Director Nate Adams shares a report on IBSA’s pandemic-related pivots in 2020, and a look ahead to next year.

Although most churches had to halt mission trip travel in 2020, IBSA is prepared to help churches find a place to serve next year. The association is facilitating affinity networks that help congregations know how to pray for a specific region of the world and prepare to serve there in the future.

Messengers in Decatur approved a 2021 IBSA budget with a Cooperative Program goal of $6.2 million. IBSA will maintain its Cooperative Program ratio of 56.5 percent/43.5 percent (IBSA/SBC), excluding shared expenses not to exceed 10 percent of the Cooperative Program goal, and with Cooperative Program funds received beyond the budget goal to be distributed at a ratio of 50/50.

IBSA’s four officers were reelected to serve again in 2021: President Sammy Simmons, pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church, Benton; Vice President Heath Tibbetts, pastor of First Baptist Church, Machesney Park; Recording Secretary Sharon Carty, member of Emmanuel Baptist Church, Carlinville; and Assistant Recording Secretary Brianna Trowbridge, member of Samaria Missionary Baptist Church, Albion.

The 2021 IBSA Annual Meeting is Nov. 10-11 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Springfield.

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