Iowa Baptists’ generous giving continues
By BCI Staff
DES MOINES, Iowa (BP) – Building relationships and camaraderie among pastors and church leaders is one of the main purposes of the Baptist Convention of Iowa’s annual gathering, BCI Executive Director Tim Lubinus told messengers at their Nov. 4-5 meeting at Walnut Creek Church.
“I was so encouraged by the many interactions among BCI leaders.,” he said. “The annual meeting is a great place to deepen our relationships and connections.”
Send Network Iowa
North American Mission Board President Kevin Ezell started his keynote address by thanking Iowa churches for their strong giving to the Cooperative Program and to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, which hit a record high of $68.9 million in 2022. Since 2012, BCI giving to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering has increased by 400 percent, with a 10-year total of $887,841.
Ezell also made a very special announcement about the launch of Send Network Iowa. “We could not be more excited about this partnership that we have.” Send Network Iowa is a church planting partnership between SEND Network and BCI. “Send Iowa doesn’t belong to NAMB. It doesn’t belong to the Iowa Convention. It belongs to us. We want to continue to build a strong church planting network in Iowa. Send Network Iowa symbolizes the partnership in a beautiful way.”
Generous giving continues
During his annual report, Lubinus shared encouraging statistics about the strength of Iowa Cooperative Program giving. Last year, BCI Messengers approved the recommendation made by the Executive Board to increase the budget allocation to national Cooperative Program to 75 percent, which will continue in 2023. Lubinus highlighted several additional encouraging statistics about BCI Cooperative Program giving:
- In the last 8 years, BCI Cooperative Program giving has increased 777 percent.
- BCI Cooperative Program giving in 2022 was 2 times the entire BCI budget of eight years ago.
- BCI is the only state convention giving more to the International Mission Board through the Cooperative Program than used in the state.
- Three quarters of funds given through BCI go to national and international Cooperative Program ministries.
- Messengers approved the 2023 Budget which included a projected $1.2 million of income from Cooperative Program giving, an increase of 9 percent above the 2022 budget.
During the business portion of the event, BCI Messengers approved recommendations to update the BCI Constitution & Bylaws. One change to the Constitution establishes the “current version of the Baptist Faith and Message (BF&M) as Statement of Faith” for BCI.
Messengers also elected the following men as officers: President Tim Trudeau, pastor of Grace Community Church in Boone; First Vice President Todd Stiles, pastor of First Family Church in Ankeny; Second Vice President Eric Trout, pastor of Restoration Church in Adel; Secretary: Jerome Risting of Temple Baptist Church in Mason City.
The 2023 BCI Annual Meeting will be held Nov. 3-4, 2022, location to be determined.
Maryland-Delaware Baptists mobilizing churches for mission
By Sharon Mager/BCMD
OCEAN CITY, Md. (BP) – Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware (BCM/D) Messengers took significant steps at their 186th annual meeting on Nov. 6-7 to “Mobilize Churches for Mission” and protect vulnerable adults and children.
The meeting drew 270 messengers and 71 guests to the beachfront Ocean City Fontaine Blue. A total lunar eclipse in the early morning hours of Nov. 7 provided an interesting metaphor for the convention’s new direction, led by recently called Executive Director Michael Crawford and funded by the 2023 budget.
Crawford emphasized the value of Baptist associations. He allocated time during the meeting for the 11 affiliated directors of missions to each share prayer requests and tell how God is working in their associations. Crawford championed the continued need to strengthen relationships and encourage pastors and their wives. Following the meeting, the BCM/D hosted a catered dinner for pastors and their wives, organized by Ministers’ Wives Consultant Somer Phoebus and Women’s Ministry Consultant Melody Knox, who gave special attention to the women, encouraging them in their unique roles and presenting gifts to the ladies. Crawford emphasized BCM/D Ready, a new initiative mobilizing churches through the associations to be prepared for both natural and socio-economic crises. He also highlighted church planting, disability ministries; African American ministries; ministerial counseling; and protecting vulnerable adults and children.
He strongly emphasized the need for continually strengthening collaboration between churches and associations. “What happens if we get really intentional about working together? What if we built on that?” Crawford said. “In the New Testament, there was not one church planted without all the other churches. I would challenge you to read the New Testament and find one Christian or one group that did something by themselves. It never happened.
“The possibility of turning the world upside down still exists, but you can’t do it, and I can’t do it, but we can do it. If we concentrate together and get serious about intentional cooperation and collaboration, we can do incredible things. So when people ask me what I’m excited about, I tell them it’s about this untapped potential of our collective.”
Throughout the meeting, pastors and leaders shared testimonies about ministries to immigrants, disability ministries, BCM/D Ready, collegiate ministry, ministry to women, and African American ministries. Additionally, there were testimonies and reports from the BCM/D’s Sexual Abuse Task Force.
Messengers re-elected Glenn Swanson, pastor of Bayside Baptist Church in Chesapeake Beach, Md., as president; Jim Testerman, pastor of Oak Grove Baptist Church in Bel Air, Md., as first vice president; Vernon Lattimore, pastor of First Baptist Church of Mount Rainier, Maryland; Stephanie Greer, member of The Garden Church in Baltimore, Md as recording secretary; and Michael Fillis, pastor of Fenwick Island Baptist Church, Delaware.
Additionally, messengers approved a $7.16 million budget ($2.2 million allocated for BCM/D’s Skycroft Conference Center) supporting the convention leadership’s vision, up slightly from last year. Messengers also voted to allocate 37 percent of Cooperative Program receipts to national SBC missions and ministry, a decline of 9 percentage points from last year.
Messengers also approved a constitutional change requiring churches to take steps to protect children and vulnerable adults as a requirement for affiliation – “In order to affiliate with the BCM/D, a local church must seek to protect vulnerable adults and children from sexual abuse in concrete ways which reflect the spirit and theology of Scripture. Disaffiliation will occur when a church is found to be in open and unrepentant beliefs or behaviors that are contradictory to the BFM 2000.”
New England Baptists celebrate ethnic ministries leading in evangelism
By Renee Ghobrial/BCNE
WORCESTER, Mass. (BP) – “The mission field has become the mission force” – the theme and phrase heard most at the Baptist Churches of New England’s 40th Annual Meeting on Oct. 28-29. The phrase, coined at last year’s annual meeting, describes what God has been doing within and through ethnic ministries in New England. It was a historic meeting for multiple reasons. It was the first time the annual meeting was held at an ethnic church, Iglesia Casa de Oracion, in Worcester, and the first time the annual sermon was given in another language – Spanish.
There was a spirit of unity and encouragement during the first day’s sessions, with 187 in attendance, including 121 representatives and 66 guests, and a large delegation of Brazilian pastors and leaders from around New England. Israel Kelly and the Casa de Oracion worship team led worship in English and Spanish.
The Mission Field has become the Mission Force
Terry Dorsett, Executive Director, moderated a panel with the BCNE Regional Coordinators, each sharing highlights of the past year in their regions, showing how the meeting’s theme has become a reality across New England and beyond.
Randall Curtis, the coordinator for Rhode Island, shared about “Hispanic pastors in the state looking at going over to Spain to help support missions in Spain.” Sam Taylor, the coordinator for the Greater Boston area, talked about lunches he has had with small groups of pastors, including multiple ethnic groups like Brazilian pastors and Haitian pastors who are excited and eager to do ministry in the city.
Joe Souza, the ethnic ministry coordinator, noted that “the driving force of ‘the mission field becoming the mission force’ is evangelism.” Souza and his team have been mentoring and training second-generation young adults from various ethnic churches in evangelism and recently traveled to London following their training.
In his report, Dorsett also highlighted the importance of evangelism, speaking from Acts 1:8 and reminding attendees, “We are someone’s ends of the earth.”
“Immigrant churches, historic indigenous churches, and small churches in out-of-the-way locations have become the mission force in New England. They are increasingly moving into leadership roles to help new Englanders reach our Jerusalem, our Judea, our Samaria, and our ends of the earth. Will we be filled with the Holy Spirit and join them in God’s work?”
In a unanimous vote, Steven Woodard and Lierte Soares, Jr. were re-elected as president and vice president, respectively, and representatives approved a $3,077,831 budget for 2023, an increase over last year’s budget. The amount forwarded to national Cooperative Program missions and ministries will remain at 20 percent.
Next year’s annual meeting will be held Nov. 3-4, 2023, in New Hampshire.