Nevada churches pull together
By Karen Willoughby
RENO, Nev. – After Nevada Baptist Convention Executive Director Kevin White met for lunch in August with four pastors, one of them later called to say he’d tested positive for COVID-19.
“This meant the five of us were in quarantine and out of the pulpit for the following few weeks,” White said.
That example of the potential of infection throttling many more pastors was a contributing factor to Nevada canceling its annual meeting, in addition to the governor’s stringent statewide restrictions.
The executive board will look at the 2021 budget at its scheduled meeting in November. For now, “We’re in the black,” White said, despite an income reduction of about 23 percent. Nonetheless, Nevada continues to forward 50 percent of its Cooperative Program giving to global SBC causes.
“My churches have responded very well and continue to give faithfully,” White said. “Some have increased their Cooperative Program giving even in the midst of COVID-19 because God has blessed them and their church so much.”
In March, White started weekly online prayer meetings with Nevada pastors, one of whom would bring a devotion on alternating weeks. Other weeks, the devotion would be given by a nationally known Southern Baptist such as International Mission Board President Paul Chitwood, SBC Executive Committee President and CEO Ronnie Floyd and former LifeWay President Jimmy Draper.
The Wednesday Zoom gatherings – which grew to include at least 40 men – also involved sharing ideas and concerns.The pastors said the calls were helpful and encouraging, and word spread. Hispanic pastors told White they wanted to do something similar. Now the Spanish-language meeting happens on Thursdays, and White listens in using Google Translate.
“I am so proud of my executive board, so blessed to work with these godly men and women,” White said. Realizing many churches would be hit hard by the pandemic – 90 percent of one church’s members lost their jobs – the Executive Board voted to release some of the state convention’s reserve funds to pay rent, utilities, pastors’ salaries and the like.
“I was so proud they chose to give instead of hoard for the hard times that could be coming,” White said.
The next annual meeting of the Nevada Baptist Convention is set for Oct. 18-19, 2021 at Life Baptist Church in Las Vegas.
Colorado churches stay focused on what matters
By Karen Willoughby
DENVER, Colo. – Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic that resulted in the cancellation of this year’s annual meeting, Colorado Baptists are on track and moving forward, Executive Director Nathan Lorick told Baptist Press.
“We are grateful for the sacrifice of Colorado Baptist churches,” Lorick said. “We’re only running 7 percent behind budget. We’re being diligent to keep our expenses below projections, and we are committed to continuing giving 35 percent of the offerings from Colorado churches to missions through the Cooperative Program.”
The executive board is to set the state convention’s 2021 budget at its upcoming November meeting.
Colorado Baptists thought long and hard about their 2020 annual meeting, Lorick said. “We determined it was better for us to not risk a gathering and people getting sick. Not having an annual meeting for us would not change our world but if someone came and got sick it could change their world.”
The challenge for state convention leaders has been “making sure we’re continuing to walk closely with our pastors, keeping them encouraged and focused on the mission God has called them to,” Lorick said.
“Our churches are still encouraging people and baptizing and seeing people come to faith in Jesus in this very crucial time. We’re seeing churches continue to engage their communities and taking the next steps to accelerate the Gospel.”
Lorick had affirming words for the convention’s partners, alluding to changes in funding for state conventions nationwide from the North American Mission Board and LifeWay Christian Resources.
“We know Covid has caused financial challenges for our partners,” Lorick said. “We’re in the Great Commission together and we’re going to continue to walk together. We’re called to do this together. I’m optimistic about the partnerships God has allowed us to have.”
The next annual meeting for Colorado Baptists is set for Oct. 11-12, 2021, in Fort Collins.
Kansas-Nebraska Baptists ‘supporting the Cooperative Program’
By Eva Wilson
SALINA, Kan. (BP) – In 2021 the Kansas-Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists will increase its giving to the national Cooperative Program from 29.5 to 30 percent.
The 2020 KNCSB annual meeting was canceled due to the coronavirus, but the KNCSB Mission Board conducted business on the convention’s behalf Friday, Oct. 16, at CrossPoint Church in Salina, Kan.
Board members approved the 2021 KNCSB budget of $3,955,260, a slight decrease from the 2020 budget.
But KNCSB Executive Director Bob Mills praised Kansas-Nebraska Southern Baptists for their faithfulness in giving to the Cooperative Program despite the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am grateful for how our churches and directors of missions are supporting the Cooperative Program,” Mills said. “We’re blessed. Our people are faithful.”
In other activity, the board approved David Manner as the new KNCSB executive director. He will succeed Mills, who will retire Feb. 28, 2021. Manner will be the convention’s fifth executive.
Manner joined the KNCSB staff in 2000 as director of worship and administration. He has served as associate executive director since 2012.
Meeting participants also were challenged to pray for heart renewal and revival in Nebraska and Kansas. The challenge came from Andy Addis, the new KNCSB volunteer evangelism team leader. Addis is a past KNCSB president and will continue to serve as lead pastor of CrossPoint Church in Hutchinson, Kan.
In other staff changes, Robbie Nutter is the new KNCSB director of collegiate ministry. He continues to serve as director of Christian Challenge at Kansas State University. Georges Boujakly, KNCSB missions director, will retire in December. Ryan Johnston will assume the position, which is funded by the North American Mission Board.
The board approved only one resolution, denouncing racism and committing to its eradication and “to the Great Commission task of making disciples of all people.”
The current KNCSB officers have agreed to serve another year. They are: President Voyt Lynn, director of missions in South Central Baptist Association in Kansas; Vice President David Martinez, associate pastor of Northern Heights Baptist Church in Norfolk, Neb.; Recording secretary Bryan Jones, pastor of Tyler Road Southern Baptist Church in Wichita, Kan.; Assistant recording secretary Susan Pederson, member of Prairie Hills Southern Baptist Church in Augusta, Kan.; and Historian Tony Mattia, pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Wamego, Kan.
The board also welcomed three churches into the convention.
The next convention meeting is scheduled for Oct. 11-12, 2021 in Salina, Kan.