MWBC highlights relationships, honors Endel
By David Williams/MWBC
WAUWATOSA, Wis. (BP) – The importance of Christian relationships and partnerships was highlighted at the Oct. 21-22 annual meeting of the Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention.
Messengers emphasized the point as they honored Leo Endel, their executive director for 20 years, presenting him a wooden plaque in the shape of the two states, the inscription thanking him “for showing us for twenty years that life is all about relationships.”
The plaque given to Endel alluded to the book he wrote in 2020 during the COVID pandemic, titled “Life Is All About Relationships.” The book is centered on Endel’s conviction that the most important thing in life is one’s relationship with God and with other people.
The meeting’s theme was “So That They May Have Life,” based on John 10:10, “I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.”
The 39th annual meeting was hosted by Northwest Baptist Church in Wauwatosa, Wis. The attendance of 175 was much higher than in recent years, with last year’s meeting registering only 126 messengers and guests. This year’s attendance included 90 guests and 85 messengers from 58 of the convention’s 202 churches.
Messengers adopted a 2023 budget of $1,001,376, about three percent higher than the current budget of $968,313. MWBC will forward to the Southern Baptist Convention 36 percent of Cooperative Program receipts, the same percentage as in the current budget.
Endel reported that Cooperative Program giving from the churches this year is running ahead of budget requirements and about 10 percent above last year’s giving. Of the convention’s 202 churches, 126 have contributed through the Cooperative Program this year, he said.
Endel also shared that after a record-setting state missions offering of $97,303.50 in 2020, gifts to the offering dropped 57 percent in 2021 to $41,842.36.
“This has left us underfunded,” Endel said, “especially in the area of disaster relief.” In addition to disaster relief, the annual offering provides some financial support for many other areas including urban ministries, cross-cultural missions, Hands of Hope, internships, children’s evangelism, Called Out Youth Camp, Woman’s Missionary Union, and pastoral emergencies. He urged M-W Baptists to give generously to the state missions offering.
Bob Stine, pastor of Midvale Baptist Church in Madison, Wis., was re-elected president. Daniel Goba, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Bloomington, Minn., was elected first vice president. Chris Phillips, associate pastor of children and youth at Trinity Baptist Church in Reedsburg, Wis., was elected second vice president. Phillips is also director of the MWBC Called Out Youth Conference.
Wes Shemwell, member of Midvale Baptist Church in Madison Wis., was re-elected recording secretary. Tim Amert, member of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Rochester, Minn., was elected assistant recording secretary, replacing Jim Gress who was honored at the meeting for having served 10 years in that position. Gress is a member of Southtown Baptist Church in Bloomington, Minn.
The 2023 annual meeting will be Oct. 20-21 at Northwood Community Church in Maple Grove, Minn.
In his executive director’s address to the convention, Endel said the importance of relationships applies to the way all the various groups in the Southern Baptist Convention work together. We are all partners in the gospel, he said, a partnership that includes proclaiming, defending and advancing the gospel.
“Several weeks ago, I saw Southern Baptists perfectly working together like a fine watch,” he said. “I had been invited to preach at the First Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Church in Minneapolis and share in their Thanksgiving/Harvest worship. It was a wonderful event, but I had no idea God was going to give us a picture of how we work together. Each part of the SBC was there and all were doing their part – together!”
Missouri Baptists ‘Reflecting Christ to a watching world’
By Pathway Staff
ST. CHARLES, Mo. (BP) – During their 188th annual meeting at the St. Charles Convention Center here, Oct. 24-25, messengers of the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) elected four new MBC officers, received training on the prevention of sexual abuse in churches and voted to remove two churches deemed to be “theologically incompatible” with the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.
Coming from 470 Missouri Baptist churches across the state, 1,035 messengers and 226 guests attended the two-day meeting – making it the largest Missouri Baptist gathering in the St. Louis area in more than a decade. The theme for the meeting was “Reflecting Christ to a Watching World.”
They also passed eight resolutions, including a resolution on the Supreme Court’s decision earlier this year to overturn Roe v. Wade and a resolution honoring the late founding editor of The Pathway, Don Hinkle (1954-2022), who led the Missouri Baptist state newspaper for 20 years.
During his address to Missouri Baptists, MBC President Jon Nelson urged messengers to be men and women “after God’s own heart” – like the Israelite king David. They must be willing to expose and confess sin, while pursuing God wholeheartedly.
“The church is full of broken people,” he said, urging Missouri Baptists to minister faithfully and in God’s power. “We must be willing to step in and get dirty. Then, wipe it off and move on.” As Nelson told Missouri Baptists to wipe it off, he pulled out his hands and wiped both mud caked hands on his sparkling white shirt.
“If you don’t know what to do, trust God and let others come alongside,” he added. “Walk with your congregation. The world is watching.”
Sexual abuse response
During their business session, messengers also heard from the MBC’s Sexual Abuse Response Team and were equipped to better protect the families and children in their congregations and communities. SART co-chair George Fulgham spoke to messengers and submitted a written summary of their report to The Pathway.
A full slate of new officers were elected during the MBC annual meeting.
Chris Williams, pastor of Fellowship Church in Greenwood, was the only nominee for president. Wesley Vance, executive pastor of Crossway Baptist Church in Springfield was elected first vice president. Richard Young, senior pastor of South Haven Baptist Church in Belton, ran unopposed for second vice president, as did Justin Perry, pastor of First Baptist Church in Viburnum, for recording secretary.
Executive Board recommendations
In other business, Missouri Baptist Convention messengers approved the MBC’s 2023 Cooperative Program (CP) proposed allocation plan and spending plan, as recommended by the MBC Executive Board.
The MBC’s 2023 spending plan is based on a $15 million CP budget, unchanged form last year. This budget sets aside 5 percent of the total CP giving for “SBC/MBC shared administration” expenses, which are allocated for annuity protections and The Pathway. The proposed “shared” funds amounted to $750,000.
From the remaining CP budget, 35 percent is allocated for Missouri Baptist missions and ministries. These proposed funds amounted to a total of $5,250,000.
Additionally, 22 percent of the total CP budget is allocated for Missouri Baptist entities, including the Missouri Baptist Children’s Home, Baptist Homes & Healthcare Ministries, the Missouri Baptist Foundation, Hannibal-LaGrange University, Missouri Baptist University and Southwest Baptist University. These proposed funds amounted to a total of $3,300,000.
The remaining 38 percent is allocated for Southern Baptist Convention causes. These proposed funds amounted to a total of $5,700,000.
Any CP receipts above the budgetary goal will be split evenly between MBC and SBC ministries.
The Executive Board also recommended that messengers revise Bylaw 2 in the MBC governing documents in order to clarify its language. Messengers approved a revision to the bylaw after calling for an additional amendment allowing for greater local church autonomy in giving through the MBC.
Two churches disfellowshipped
At the recommendation of the MBC credentials committee, messengers disfellowshipped two churches – namely, Christ Deliverance Ministry in St. Louis and Meadow Heights Church in Fredericktown – because the committee deemed them “theologically incompatible” with the Baptist Faith & Message 2000 (BFM 2000).
In particular, the committee reported these churches are theologically incompatible with Article 6 of the BFM 2000, where it states, “While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.”