fbpx
News Articles

STATE MEETINGS: Colorado; Pennsylvania/South Jersey

iStock


Colorado 2023 annual meeting shows its diversity

By Karen L. Willoughby

ARVADA, Colo. – Colorado’s multicultural population was on full display at the state convention’s recent annual meeting.

At last count, 318 Southern Baptists registered Oct. 9-10 at Revive Church in Arvada for the 68th annual meeting of the Colorado Baptist General Convention.

“We saw more diversity in this meeting than in past years, and it seemed those in attendance enjoyed their time,” Executive Director Mike Proud told Baptist Press. “That is a huge win!”

The annual meeting opened under a circus-sized tent in the church’s spacious parking lot – it’s a former shopping center – by showcasing the diversity of Southern Baptist churches in the state. 

“Our Missions Festival was fabulous with nine different cultural groups providing food and five different groups sharing a few songs in their heart language,” Proud continued. “This year’s total registration numbers were up 30 percent over last year. And we had 274 attendees, which was up from last year as well.”

The “first annual” missions festival took place after the pastors’ conference and women’s gathering, and before the annual meeting started with a theme of Partners in the Gospel from Philippians 1:3-6.

“We believe this Missions Festival allows for our messengers and guests to see with their own eyes the great diversity that makes up our partnership as the Colorado Baptist General Convention,” Proud said in his welcome to attendees.

Featured guests at the annual meeting included Paul Chitwood, president of the International Mission Board; Mark Clifton, executive director of Replanting and Rural Church Strategy at the North American Mission Board; Brandon Porter, associate vice president for convention news with the SBC Executive Committee; Kyle Morris, pastor of the host church, Revive Arvada; and Jose Quesada, pastor of Iglesia Avenida in Aurora.

Business

Business consisted of the 189 messengers from 108 Colorado congregations approving the 2024 budget and electing new officers.

The new budget is $2,535,919, with $2,006,124 coming from the Cooperative Program giving of Colorado’s 370 congregations. Thirty percent of that – $601,837 – is forwarded to national CP.

The 2024 CBGC officers are: President Greg Teel, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Delta; First Vice President Jack Jarrett, pastor of Garden Ranch Baptist Church in Colorado Springs; and Second Vice President Zack Thurman, pastor of Overland Church in Fort Collins.

Messengers also adopted a resolution titled “On Autonomy and Confessionalism,” which says, among other things, that messengers resolve “reaffirm our doctrine of local church autonomy under the Lordship of Jesus Christ” and “affirm the autonomy of the local church through the commitment to the current Baptist Faith and Message as a confessional statement.”

Messengers learned in a variety of reports that 15 churches were started this year, that 53 church planters are on the field, and that since 2015, 111 churches have started; 102 have survived.

“Ponderosa [Retreat and Conference Center] has a new camp program director, money in the bank, and the camps are full,” reported Camp Director Andrew Clark. Ponderosa this year so far has seen 194 professions of faith, 54 rededications and 57 calls to Christian ministry.

The Colorado Baptist Foundation has a new president: Matt Trombley, formerly with Wells Fargo. He replaces Doug Lohrey, who retired earlier this year.

“I had no report,” Proud told Baptist Press. “I shared a message about the great need for new churches in our state as well as the need for existing churches to share their facilities with immigrant church plants and pastors.

“We are very excited about the future of Gospel work here in our state,” the executive director continued. “I feel blessed to be serving in Colorado and I’m looking forward to more partnership opportunities with all Colorado Baptists.”

The 69th annual meeting of the Colorado Baptist General Convention is set for Oct. 14-15 at Redemption Hill Church in Colorado Springs.


Baptist Resource Network of Pennsylvania/South Jersey: ‘God has been so good to us’

By Macala Mays/Baptist Resource Network

HARRISBURG, Pa. (BP) – Messengers representing churches in Pennsylvania/South Jersey gathered at the Sheraton Harrisburg Hershey Hotel in Harrisburg Oct. 3 for the Baptist Resource Network (BRN) of Pennsylvania and South Jersey’s 53rd annual meeting. 

Brian King Sr., president of the BRN Executive Board and senior pastor of Ezekiel Baptist Church in Philadelphia, opened the business session with prayer and a brief welcome before giving his presidential report, in which he noted that the success of the BRN is solely dependent upon the Lord and how well PA/SJ churches work together.  

He then invited Eric McMahon, BRN Executive Board member and senior pastor of Watershed Church, and Larry Baker, senior pastor of Anastasis Fellowship Church, for the seating of the messengers. At the time, there were 98 messengers present. 

BRN Executive Director Barry Whitworth appeared via video message, highlighting 2023 accomplishments such as 29 additional churches, 171 grants distributed, 999 baptisms recorded and 314 next step conversations reported.

Returning to the platform, King said, “I’m not asking y’all to dance out of your clothes like David did, but what I am saying is God has been so good to us.” 

“What God is doing within our convention …,” he added, “that’s because of your giving, your Cooperative Program giving, your prayers and your faithfulness to God – God is honoring that.”

Business

The BRN Executive Board nominated King for a second term as president, and messengers affirmed.

Messengers also voted to approve the board’s proposed 2024 budget. Projected income for 2024 anticipates Cooperative Program (CP) giving from churches to be just above $1.1 million and special offerings contributions to be around $357,000. North American Mission Board and #LovePASJ Endowment giving is expected to be just below $500,000, with other incoming BRN funds to be around $300,000. 

Anticipated missions and ministry expenses for the upcoming year are just over $1.4 million, including national CP giving, special offerings, church servicing and church resourcing. Overall, these funds will account for 62.9 percent of the BRN’s outgoing expenses.  

Additionally, just over $834,000 (37.1 percent) of the BRN’s expenses will go toward personnel and operational costs.

Anticipated income and expenses for the BRN in 2024 sit at just over $2.2 million, reflecting a budgeted 4 percent increase in CP receipts from churches.

The BRN’s giving to national Cooperative Program also looks to be the highest it has ever been, with a 1-percentage-point increase in funds forwarded for national missions and ministry – from 32 percent to 33 percent.

“Since 2017, when I became Executive Director, we have increased our Cooperative Program giving by 7 percent,” Whitworth said. “This amounts to a 61 percent increase in dollars being sent over this period to further SBC missional causes.”

He continued: “It is the heart of our Executive Board and leadership to give more to help take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. More CP giving helps send more people out to share and plant the Gospel.” 

On the BRN’s home front, the remaining two-thirds of CP funds help resource churches as they seek to engage the 14 million lost people who live in Pennsylvania and South Jersey. 

Following the annual business session, messengers and guests were invited to stay for the BRN’s third annual Accelerate Conference. The conference, themed in the third and final stage of the convention’s #LovePASJ Initiative – “Grow” – challenged attendees to take their next steps and pursue discipleship pathways in their churches.  

Keynote speakers included Jeff Christopherson,executive director for the Canadian National Baptist Convention and Church Planting Canada, missiologist and author of “Once You See,” and BRN Executive Director Dr. Barry Whitworth. In total, more than 250 people attended the 2023 Accelerate Conference. The BRN’s next annual business session and Accelerate Conference is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 1, 2024. 

Read more about the 2023 Accelerate Conference here.

    About the Author

  • BP Staff