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STATE MEETINGS: Nevada, Kansas-Nebraska

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Nevada Baptists resolve to pray for peace

By Karen L. Willoughby

HENDERSON, Nev. (BP) – Nevada Southern Baptists prayed for peace in Jerusalem during their recent annual meeting.

Messengers to the 44th annual meeting of the Nevada Baptist Convention passed a resolution that churches “pray for God’s peace to rule in Jerusalem.”

The complete wording of the resolution: “The Old Testament declares God’s promise to Abram (Genesis 12:1-3); Whereas, Israel represents the decedents of Jacob as an ethnic, cultural, and national identity (Genesis 32:28); Whereas the New Testament affirms that salvation is from the Jew and that God’s Word concerning Israel will be fulfilled (John 4:77; Romans 9-11); Whereas, We are to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and for the salvation of Israel (Psalm 122:6-7; Romans 10:1);

“And Whereas, we thankfully remember that we are indebted to the Jewish people, who gave us much of our Bible and our Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah; now therefore, be it Resolved that the messengers of the Nevada Baptist Convention commit to pray for God’s peace to rule in Jerusalem and for the salvation of Israel and for peace to reign in current conflicts.”

The resolution reflected, “the heart of our pastors and our state,” said Nevada Baptist Convention Executive Director Damian Cirincione.

A second resolution expressed appreciation to the host church and its pastor, Calvin Wittman, for gracious hospitality.

Nevada’s Oct. 16-17 annual meeting drew about 125 people to the Monday evening service at Green Valley Baptist Church, including 69 messengers from 41 of Nevada’s 177 churches. The theme was “Seek First,” from Matthew 6:33.

The emphasis expressed in several staff reports described the growing unity across the state.

“We’re better together,” Cirincione told Baptist Press. “This has been paramount for us.”

“We at the Nevada Baptist Convention know it is imperative we be unified in our efforts to be a light in the world.,” Cirincione told messengers in his report. “We believe we are stronger in the work of Gospel proclamation when Nevada pastors, leaders and churches are united in sharing the love of Jesus and making His name known.”

The Pastors Connect regional meetings, which started in August 2022, helped build the sense of unity in the state convention’s three associations, the executive director said.

“Pastors are really coming together, praying together, and seeking His guidance to figure out how we can better meet the needs of the communities together in our shared contexts,” Cirincione said, noting that the state of Nevada is occupied by 3.2 million people; however, only 13 percent of the state is inhabited. The third most diverse state in the nation, residents of Nevada come from more than 100 other nations and speak at least 200 languages.

Todd Kanuitz, president of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, which partners with the Nevada Baptist Convention, brought a stirring message Monday evening about the need for pastors and congregations to “seek Him first,” and for the healing power of repentance and prayer.

The service concluded with many people in prayer crowded around the speaker’s platform. “It was a beautiful evening,” Cirincione said.

Steve Bray, a pastor on Canada’s Atlantic Coast and founder of Mile One Mission, led two of the nine breakout sessions Tuesday afternoon. One of his sessions titled, “Principles for Planting Churches in All the Wrong Places” was particularly relevant in the state of Nevada, the executive director said.

Cirincione said he first connected with Mile One Mission at a North American Mission Board church planting orientation and was intrigued with the similarity between Newfoundland and Nevada: with the excess of spiritual oppression and “the enemy in this world pulling people away from the cause of Christ.”

In its business session, Nevada Baptists passed a $1,123,144 budget, up $61,510 from last year. With its 50/50 percentage split of Cooperative Program giving, Nevada anticipates forwarding $523,072 to global SBC causes.

Steve Witt, pastor of The Well Church in Henderson, was elected president. Chase Ward, pastor of Mountain Vista Baptist in Carson City, was elected vice president.

DiscipleFIRST led a discipleship conference that preceded the annual meeting and drew 80 pastors and other leaders to Green Valley Baptist Church.

“We all have the same mission, to seek and save the lost in our communities,” Cirincione said. “We were ready for our annual meeting. We were prepared, and our people learned and grew together.”

The next annual meeting of the Nevada Baptist Convention is set for Oct. 14-15, 2024, at South Reno Baptist Church in Reno.


Kansas, Nebraska Baptists have ‘many reasons to be excited’

By Kevin Ferstl/KNSBC

OMAHA, Neb. (BP) – The 2023 Annual Meeting of Church Forward (Kansas-Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists) was hosted by Westside Church Oct. 9-10. Following the launch of a fresh new focus and vision in 2022, there was much to celebrate in how God is working across Kansas and Nebraska.

Kevin Ferstl, convention director of communication and worship, along with a diverse group of worship leaders from across Kansas and Nebraska, led bilingual worship during main sessions at this year’s KNSBC annual meeting.

“Significant growth in baptisms, increased reach amongst college campuses via Christian Challenge, many new church plants and new ethnic partnerships are only a few of the many reasons to be excited about doing ministry in our two states,” said David Manner, the convention’s executive director.

The meeting drew 197 messengers and 78 visitors, who heard guest speakers Ed Stetzer (dean of Talbot School of Theology at Biola University); Ryan Booth (pastor, CrossPoint Church Salina, Kan.); and Doyle Pryor (lead pastor, First Southern Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan.). Bilingual worship for all sessions was led by Jason Waller (CrossPoint Church Salina, Kan.), Stevie Warren (Metro East Baptist Church Wichita, Kan.), Shawn McCool (Christian Challenge K-State Manhattan, Kan.), Myra Boden (Southview Baptist Church Lincoln, Neb.), Maikel Noa Jr. (Northern Heights Baptist Church Norfolk, Neb.), Tatnai Lombana (Northern Heights Baptist Church Norfolk, Neb.) and additional leaders from CrossPoint Worship.

The 2024 budget was approved in an amount of $5,034,360, an approximately 13 percent increase over 2023. The convention’s Cooperative Program allocation, which forwards money to national and international Southern Baptist Convention missions and ministry causes, remains at 31 percent.

Officers elected were President David Gibbs, Vice President David Crowther, Recording Secretary Jimmy Charles, Assistant Recording Secretary Vicki VanMeter, Parliamentarian Sandy Peterson and Historical Secretary Tony Mattia.

The 2024 Church Forward annual meeting will be hosted by Webster Conference Center of Salina, Kan. Oct. 14-15, 2024.

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