‘For the Pastor’: New ministry unveiled at IBSA Annual Meeting
By Illinois Baptist Staff
MARION, Ill. (BP) – The needs of busy and discouraged pastors addressed in the Pastors’ Conference dovetailed with a new ministry emphasis introduced at the opening of the state convention’s 117th Illinois Baptist State Association (IBSA) Annual Meeting Nov. 8-9. “We believe that healthy pastors are needed for healthy churches,” IBSA Executive Director Nate Adams said to messengers at Cornerstone Church in Marion.
Adams told the messengers, numbering 384 along with 57 guests, that a new website will be a portal to a variety of existing opportunities, such as free pastors’ retreats at the two IBSA camps facilities, and new services including additional Multiply Hubs to bring pastors together next year.
In his report, Adams outlined the network’s engagement with its churches throughout the year. It included the Health and Growth Team’s direct engagement to revitalize 84 churches and 15 local associations. Adams said by midyear, nearly 1,000 students had been discipled at IBSA camps, and 93 students came to Christ at Lake Sallateeska and Streator Baptist Camps this summer.
In January, IBSA will again host in Springfield the 2024 Leadership Summit, where more than 1,000 Baptist leaders from across the Midwest are expected to attend. “National SBC leaders frequently tell me that MLS is one of the most practical and beneficial conferences they attend anywhere,” Adams said.
Actions, resolutions, and elections
IBSA Board Chair Jeff Logsdon presented the IBSA Budget to messengers. The 2024 budget is based on a Cooperative Program goal of $6.1 million dollars with a CP ratio of 56.5 percent/43.5 percent (IBSA/SBC). The ratio remains unchanged from the previous year. The budget and ratio were approved by messengers with no dissent.
In addition to approval of reports and budgets from the three IBSA entities, including the Baptist Foundation of Illinois (BFI) and Baptist Children’s Home and Family Services (BCHFS), messengers approved the second reading implementing tweaks to the IBSA constitution and first reading for amendments for a vote next year.
Messengers also approved four resolutions. The Committee on Resolutions and the Christian Life brought motions that focused on church health, the wellbeing of pastors, and missions, along with a measure calling for prayer to end the conflict in Israel.
“Illinois Baptists are urged to honor, support, and uphold in prayer the work of Christians in Israel and the Middle East,” the resolution says, “both Messianic Jews and Palestinian believers, to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with their unbelieving relatives, neighbors on all sides of the conflict…”
The document traces God’s covenant relationship with Israel and the admonition for his people to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. It passed without objection.
Michael Nave was elected to a second term as IBSA president. Nave is pastor of Cornerstone Church in Marion. Carlton Binkley, pastor of Tabernacle Church in Decatur, returned as vice president. Charlene Moe was elected to serve a second term as recording secretary. Moe is a member of Chatham Baptist Church. Matt Philbrick, student pastor of First Baptist Church of Ramsey, returned as assistant recording secretary.
The next IBSA Annual Meeting is Nov. 12-13, 2024, at Ashburn Baptist Church in metro Chicago.
Gospel compels us to help immigrant neighbors, Dorsett tells New England Baptists
By Don Nicholas/BCNE
MANCHESTER, N.H. (BP) – When New England Baptists from nearly 60 churches gathered the first weekend of November for their 2023 marathon of inspiration, information, fellowship and networking, their attention was focused not on the 228 people gathered at the meeting but on the thousands who were not present, thus highlighting the annual meeting theme – “Who Is Your Neighbor?” – and calling for renewed efforts to live out the biblical calling to a life of authentic missions and evangelism.
“The Gospel compels us to help our neighbors,” Terry W. Dorsett, the Baptist Churches of New England Executive Director, preached almost exactly 30 years to the day after he, and his wife, Kay, moved to the Vermont village of Washington to invest the rest of their lives in ministry to their neighbors across the region. Drawing on the biblical parable of the man who asked his neighbor for loaves of bread to feed an unexpected house guest (Luke 11:5-13), he said, “We must be a friend to a neighbor in need. Our neighbors need friends.”
“We have the ability to help someone,” he said. “The problem is we are focused on ourselves. Individuals can help in simple ways and churches can help in larger ways, especially if they have a building.” The fact that many church facilities are left vacant except for three hours on Sundays “is probably not good Gospel stewardship” when there are so many community engagement options available to them.
“Our neighbors,” especially recent immigrants to the region, often “need a neighbor to help them navigate the nuances of New England,” Dorsett observed. In the last 30 years, he reported, 2 million internationals have moved to New England and at least 100 languages are spoken across the region. BCNE congregations worship in 24 languages other than English and 52 percent of the BCNE’s 388 churches worship in a language other than English (in 2022 that total was 44 percent), making the BCNE a majority-minority convention of churches.
The BCNE recently celebrated its 65th anniversary. See related story here.
BCNE churches made history by electing Lierte Soares Jr., a Massachusetts pastor from Brazil, as their president. By a unanimous vote, the self-proclaimed “reverse missionary” to New England, who also calls himself a “pastor with a missionary heart,” became the first Brazilian state-convention president in the 178-year history of the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant group in the United States.
Other officers elected included Vice President David Um, a chaplain at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a graduate of MIT, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Sandra Coelho, the Leadership Development Coordinator, was re-elected clerk.
When Soares preached BCNE’s annual sermon, based on Luke 10, he highlighted the lawyer’s reply about who “proved to be a neighbor” to the recently-mugged Samaritan – “The one who had mercy on him,” – and on Jesus’s perpetual challenge, “Go and do likewise.” The BCNE president focused his remarks on his own immigrant transition from Brazil to the United States and related some of the difficulties that immigrants still encounter when they arrive here, calling these tough experiences “a crisis of belonging.” Soares called for a “time to rethink the Great Commission in America … because America is no longer a melting pot or a salad bowl. … We want people from all cultures” to find faith in Jesus.
The BCNE made a little more Baptist history when Dorsett and Claiton A. Kunz, director of Faculdade Batista Pioneira, Ijui, RS, signed a partnership agreement that gives the Brazilian Baptist seminary the central role in leading BCNE’s new Multiplication Center that commences in January.
Those present welcomed eight churches and church plants to the BCNE and received the board report that 1,805 new believers were baptized by BCNE churches, representing a 45 percent increase over the previous year, the fourth highest number of baptisms in the state convention’s history.
The proposed 2024 budget of $3,084,944, which featured only minor changes due to inflation, was approved unanimously. Once again, the budget includes sending 20 percent of revenues to the Cooperative Program for ministries and missions beyond New England. Church representatives adopted a revised constitution that eliminates the Resolution Committee and changes the formula for how many members may be elected to the Board of Directors from each region of New England.
The 2024 annual meeting will be held Nov. 1-2 at First Baptist Church, Manchester, Ct.