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STATE MEETINGS: Michigan, New England

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Michigan ups its CP giving by 5 points

By Karen L. Willoughby

PLYMOUTH, Mich. – The Baptist Convention of Michigan passed a 5 percent increase to its Cooperative Program giving for national and global missions causes at its 64th annual meeting.

Mile City Church in metro Detroit hosted the Nov. 5 event, where 157 messengers and guests from 58 of the state’s 297 churches gathered under a theme of “500 Churches by 2025 – Every Church Thriving.”

“We’re really excited about this,” Executive Director Tim Patterson told Baptist Press. “We just know the future of reaching the United States and the world with the Gospel is the Cooperative Program. If we can’t fund it, we can’t do it.

“For years as a new work state convention we were on the receiving end of the Cooperative Program. We want to be on the giving end.”

In addition to passing a 5-point increase in CP giving forwarded out of state – from 27.5 to 32.5 percent – business at Michigan’s annual meeting consisted of passing a $2,279,500 budget and electing new officers.

CP giving from churches in 2022 is anticipated to be $1,245,793, with $409,500 forwarded for national and international Southern Baptist missions and ministries.

New officers include President Roy Henry, pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Battle Creek; First Vice President Ed Emmerling, pastor of Westside Baptist Church in Flushing; Second Vice President Roland Caldwell Sr., pastor of Burnette Baptist Church in Detroit; Recording Secretary Jerome Taylor, pastor of Eastgate Church in Burton; and Assistant Recording Secretary Michele White, member of Middlebelt Baptist Church in Inkster.

Michigan added 17 new churches in 2021, and three others joined by affiliation. The state has 50 ongoing church plants.

“[The North American Mission Board (NAMB)] is our biggest and best partner,” Patterson said. “They are so good to us. Anything we want to do they get behind us.”

Michigan was the first state convention to enter into a statewide Send Network partnership with NAMB, the executive director said. In addition to Send Detroit, there now also is the Send Network Michigan, which brings even more church planting capacity and resources to the state.

“We have some churches in the state that have a real heart for planting and strengthening,” Patterson said. Six-year-old Mile City Church, host to the annual meeting, has planted five other churches and plans to start two more in 2022.

Chapel Pointe Church in Hudsonville, an independent church now affiliated with the Baptist Convention of Michigan, put together a partnership strategy of “Be the Church” – bethechurch.org – which draws pastors and leaders together “to strengthen leaders through cohorts that help each other,” the executive director explained. Chapel Pointe is the largest Southern Baptist church in Michigan, with about 2,700 one recent Sunday.

Five Be The Church cohorts are now meeting around the state, which is “helping them grow and build so they can plant churches collectively,” Patterson said. Genesee Baptist Association has taken on the same concept.

The 2021 annual meeting was a joyous time for Michigan pastors and leaders, the executive director said.

“We spent most of our time in inspiration and encouragement for our pastors and leaders,” Patterson said. “We reduced our business time to that which was necessary. People were just happy to be together, hearing testimonies, hearing how we’re planting and strengthening churches in Michigan and beyond.”

Plans for the 2022 annual meeting have not yet been finalized.

New England convention sets sights on partnerships, goals

By Karen L. Willoughby

HINGHAM, Mass. (BP)  – Earlier this year, the Baptist Convention of New England entered into a formal partnership with the Northeast Region of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board.

Appreciation for a longtime informal partnership with Brazilian Baptists was also expressed at BCNE’s 39th annual meeting, which took place Nov. 5-6 at South Shore Baptist Church in Hingham, where Cody Busby is pastor.

Kimber Huff, BCNE’s Partnership and Development director, announced an upcoming four-year partnership with the International Mission Board’s work in Europe because of IMB’s awareness that New England and Europe share a similar post-Christian culture.

“IMB leaders have invited New England churches to cooperate with missionaries to help serve indigenous churches and/or plant new churches in Europe,” Huff said in her written report. “They believe our churches’ experience and tenacity will be valuable in the European context.”

In his executive director’s report, Terry Dorsett announced 91 New England-area churches have expressed interest in affiliating with BCNE.

“Though we anticipate that some will not complete the process, the sheer number of churches in the inquiry stage demonstrate how evangelical churches in New England see BCNE,” Dorsett said.

The state convention’s business consisted of its 131 messengers from New England’s 388 churches passing a $2,482,953 budget for 2022, up 2.2 percent from 2021, electing new officers, and affirming a new set of goals for 2022-25.

The budget includes an anticipated $1,175,000 from New England’s affiliated churches for Cooperative program giving, state missions offering and New England-specific gifts. Of the CP giving, 20 percent – $200,000 – is to be forwarded out of state to national and global SBC missions and ministries.

“We continue to believe that the CP is the most effective way for Baptist churches to fulfill the Acts 1:8 mandate,” Dorsett said.

New officers include President Stephen Woodard, pastor of Nashua Baptist Church in Nashua, N.H., Vice President Lierte Soares, pastor of Precision Valley Baptist Church in North Springfield, Vt., and Framingham (Mass.) Baptist Church; and Recording Secretary Sandra Coelho.

Messengers – called “representatives” in the New England regional convention – approved the recommendation of BCNE’s Board of Directors’ “Impacting the Future” initiative for 2022-25, which has three goals: Partnering to reach the nations; Equipping New Englanders for multiplication; and Encouraging the proclamation of the Gospel.

BCNE reported 32 church plants to be added to the region’s totals: 60 Southern Baptist churches in Connecticut, which had a total population of 3.565 million in 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau; 208 in Massachusetts (population 6.892 million); 37 in Maine (population 1.31 million); 23 in New Hampshire (population 1.36 million); 44 in Vermont (population 623,989); and 16 in Rhode Island (population 1.059 million).

“It was great to be together, in person, celebrating God’s work in New England,” Dorsett said. “Instead of hindering our ministry, the pandemic propelled it forward, and our best days are yet to come.”

The next annual meeting of the Baptist Convention of New England is set for Nov. 4-5, 2022, at Iglesia Casa de Oracion in Worcester, Mass.

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