Change in leadership marks Missouri Baptists’ annual meeting
By Pathway Staff
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (BP) – The Missouri Baptist Convention’s (MBC) 189th annual meeting at Crossway Baptist Church here, Oct. 23-24, resounded with celebration and hope.
Coming from 524 churches, 1,267 messengers and 278 guests celebrated all that God has done through Missouri Baptists under the leadership of outgoing executive director John Yeats, and looked forward with hope to all that God will do through Missouri Baptists under the leadership of new executive director Wes Fowler.
Yeats completed 12 years of service as the Missouri Baptist Convention’s (MBC) executive director during the Monday night session of the MBC annual meeting, Oct. 23, by passing the baton to incoming executive director Wes Fowler.
During the closing address at the annual meeting, Oct. 24, Fowler placed a spotlight on the truth of Colossians 1:28-29, which reads, “We proclaim him, warning and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ. I labor for this, striving with His strength that works powerfully in me.”
“This verse,” Fowler said, “brings us back to our primary calling, … to proclaim Him. We proclaim Jesus as Christ, Jesus as the Savior, Jesus as risen, Jesus as Lord. That is what we’re called to do.”
Missouri Baptists re-elected MBC officers to serve for a second year in their posts. Officers include: President Chris Williams, pastor of Fellowship Church, Greenwood; First Vice President Wesley Vance, executive pastor of Crossway Baptist Church, Springfield; Second Vice President Richard Young, pastor of South Haven Baptist Church, Belton; and Recording Secretary Justin Perry, pastor of First Baptist Church, Viburnum.
2024 budget, offering goals approved
Messengers also approved the MBC’s 2024 Cooperative Program (CP) proposed allocation budget and spending plan, as recommended by the MBC executive board.
The MBC’s 2024 spending plan is based on a $15 million CP budget. This budget sets aside 6 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 $900,000.
From the remaining CP budget, 36.84 percent is allocated for Missouri Baptist missions and ministries. These proposed funds amounted to a total of $5,194,737.
Additionally, 23.16 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 $3,265,263.
The remaining 40 percent is allocated for Southern Baptist Convention causes. These proposed funds amounted to a total of $5,640,000.
Any CP receipts above the budgetary goal will be split evenly between MBC and SBC ministries.
Sexual Abuse Response Team reports to messengers
During their business session, messengers also heard from the MBC’s Sexual Abuse Response Team (SART) and were equipped to better protect the families and children in their congregations and communities. The full SART report can be accessed online here. A new SART resource – namely, the booklet, “Preventing and Responding to Sex Abuse are Essential for Your Church” – was also provided to messengers and can be accessed online here. The booklet helps churches understand, step-by-step, how to prevent and respond to abuse in their congregations.
MBC messengers also approved a related resolution: “Strengthening and Clarifying Laws Concerning Pastors and Churches Regarding Sexual Abuse.” Alongside encouraging Missouri Baptists to “be proactive” in preventing and responding to sexual abuse, the resolution encouraged lawmakers to “pass legislation to provide consistent definitions and classification of sexual abuse by pastors” and to “remove barriers to the free flow of information between churches and other entities about employees and volunteers and, in so doing, empower churches to prevent sexual abuse.”
Baptists look to ‘Impact Mississippi’
By William Perkins/MBCB
JACKSON, Miss. (BP) – Judson W. “Bill” Hurt, senior pastor of Pleasant Hill Church, Columbus, was elected without opposition to a first term as president of the Mississippi Baptist Convention (MBC) at the Oct. 24 morning session of the 2023 Annual Meeting at First Baptist Church in Jackson. At least 728 messengers registered for the meeting.
He replaces Lloyd Sweatt, pastor of Meadowood Church in Amory, who completed his second term and was not eligible for reelection.
Scott Hanberry, senior pastor of Hardy Street Church in Hattiesburg, was elected without opposition to serve a first term as first vice-president, moving up from second vice-president. He succeeds Hurt.
In the only contested election of 2023, messengers chose David Haynes, senior pastor of Trinity Church, Fulton, for a first term as second vice-president over Gary Wyatt, retired pastor and member of North Morton Church, Morton.
Both Recording Secretary Michael Weeks, pastor of Pleasant Hill Church in Olive Branch, and Associate Recording Secretary Will McNeese, senior pastor of Polkville Church, Polkville, were reelected without opposition.
Messengers also approved a 2024 Cooperative Program budget of $30,890,325, an increase of $213,945, or .7 percent, over the 2023 budget. The portion going to Southern Baptist Convention causes for 2024 represents 39.25 percent of the total 2024 budget, or $12,124,453, a .25 percentage point increase.
Messengers also passed four resolutions, which can be found here. The agenda for the Annual Meeting, listing all participants, can be found here. First Day Bulletin can be found here. Second Day Bulletin can be found here. The Second Day Bulletin gives a summary of the report from Mississippi’s Sex Abuse Response Team. Messengers received materials about preventing and responding to abuse.
The 2024 Annual Meeting of the Mississippi Baptist Convention will be held October 29-30 at First Church, Jackson. Convention sermon will be delivered by Josh Braddy, senior pastor of Broadmoor Church in Madison. Alternate preacher will be Greg Belser, senior pastor of Morrison Heights Church in Clinton.