NC Baptists approve 50/50 CP split, celebrate missions
By Chad Austin/Biblical Recorder
GREENSBORO, N.C. – In a historic meeting that saw a number of firsts, N.C. Baptists approved a budget that moved to a 50/50 Cooperative Program split, celebrated missionaries from the state and saw the first African American preside over the state convention’s annual meeting during the two-day event held Nov. 6-7.
The theme of the 193rd annual meeting of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina was “On Mission Together,” which was based on Revelation 7:9-12.
The event drew 1,880 people – 1,515 messengers and 365 visitors – to the Joseph S. Koury Convention Center, which marked the highest attendance at an N.C. Baptist annual meeting since 2014.
The meeting included a special Sending Celebration held in conjunction with the International Mission Board (IMB), during which IMB President Paul Chitwood delivered the annual convention sermon.
Messengers also elected officers, adopted a pro-life resolution and heard a message from state convention President Quintell Hill, lead pastor of Multiply Community Church in Monroe. At last year’s meeting, Hill became the first African American to be elected president of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, and he served as the presiding officer of this year’s meeting. Hill was also re-elected for a second term as president.
In addition, N.C. Baptist Executive Director-Treasurer Todd Unzicker shared a report with messengers, during which he encouraged churches to participate in a statewide initiative to serve their communities in August 2024.
Messengers also heard a series of ministry reports and updates from state and national ministry partners.
Messengers overwhelmingly approved a 2024 budget that calls for Cooperative Program receipts to be divided equally between the state and national conventions.
The $31 million proposal reflects a $1.5 million or 5 percent increase over the current budget of $29.5 million, and it increases the allocation to global ministry partners by 2 percentage points to reach the 50/50 mark.
Moving to a 50/50 CP allocation fulfills a pledge made by N.C. Baptist leaders nearly two decades ago, while also fulfilling the historic ideal of the Cooperative Program when it was established in 1925.
Unzicker called the move a reflection of N.C. Baptists’ commitment to the Great Commision.
During the annual president’s address, Hill preached a message titled “What’s so Good About the Good Samaritan?” from Luke 10:25-37. In his message, Hill shared characteristics of neighborly love that were demonstrated by the Good Samaritan and how those qualities should be demonstrated today.
In addition to Hill, the other two current state convention officers were re-elected for second terms.
Jason Miller, senior pastor of Dutch Cove Baptist Church in Canton, was re-elected as first vice president. Allen Murray, pastor of Centerville Baptist Church in Kelly, was re-elected as second vice president.
Hill, Miller and Murray all ran unopposed.
Executive director-treasurer address
During his address, Unzicker echoed the meeting theme by highlighting four ways N.C. Baptists are on mission together – training, reaching, sending and serving.
Unzicker concluded his address by encouraging churches to participate in a statewide initiative called “ServeNC” in August 2024. The goal of the initiative is to have N.C. Baptist churches come together during the week of Aug. 3-10, 2024, to meet needs in their local community in Jesus’ name.
“In 2024, your church can mobilize people out of their seats and into the streets,” Unzicker said. “I’m challenging you right now to commit to serve your community with any service project you choose during the summer of 2024.
“By signing up for ServeNC, you simply promise to say we’re going to show up into our community because we want to point them to the One that showed up for us, and His name is Jesus.”
More information about the initiative is available at servenc.com.
Messengers also adopted a “Resolution on Equal Protection For The Preborn” with minor amendments. The resolution endorsed and encouraged advocacy for the preborn “until the day that abortion is both illegal and unthinkable.”
The resolution was the first pro-life resolution adopted by N.C. Baptists in a number of years.
The resolution highlighted N.C. Baptists’ work of placing five ultrasound machines in pregnancy resource centers throughout the state since 2022. Several of those placements have been in partnership with the Psalm 139 Project, a ministry of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Later during the meeting, ERLC Vice President and Chief of Staff Miles Mullin presented N.C. Baptists with the new Psalm 139 Partner for Life Award. Hill accepted the award on behalf of the state convention.
Next year’s meeting
Next year’s N.C. Baptist annual meeting will be held Nov. 4-5, 2024, at the Joseph S. Koury Convention Center in Greensboro. Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, is scheduled to deliver the 2024 convention sermon.
Diversity shines brightly at MWBC annual meeting
By David Williams/MWBC
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – The ethnic, international and generational diversity of the Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention was on full display as messengers gathered Oct. 20-21 for their 40th annual meeting to hear reports, do business, and celebrate all that God is doing in their midst.
Under the banner of “We Can Do More Together Than We Can Alone,” 70 messengers from 41 of the Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention’s 195 churches were joined by 83 guests, bringing total attendance to 153 at Southtown Baptist Church in Bloomington, Minn.
A glance around the room revealed the ethnic diversity, international flavor and multi-generational involvement within the two-state convention, a quality that was clearly reflected on the platform as well, through speakers, preachers, music and reports.
The convention’s churches include Anglo, African American, Hmong, Korean, Hispanic, Liberian, Arabic, Moldovian, Laotian, Slavic, Vietnamese and Ukranian. More than 40 percent of the convention’s churches are not majority Anglo churches.
There were plenty of the aged saints typical at a Baptist denominational meeting – men and women who have served and led for decades in MWBC. But there was also a sizable contingent of young adults, youth and children at the meeting, evidence of the convention’s focus on reaching the next generation.
Messengers voted to re-elect as president Daniel Goba, pastor of Ebenezer Community Church in Bloomington, Minn. He had been elected as first vice president at the previous annual meeting, and had ascended to the presidency when Bob Stine, pastor of Midvale Baptist Church in Madison, Wis., resigned in May.
Chris Phillips, associate pastor of children and youth at Trinity Baptist Church in Reedsburg, Wis., likewise had moved from second vice president to first vice president in May and was re-elected to that position.
Elected as second vice president was Joe Young, associate pastor of First Hmong Baptist Church in Coon Rapids, Minn.
Messengers approved a 2024 budget of $950,025 which is a 5 percent decrease from the $1,001,376 budget approved last year. That 2023 budget, however, had already been reduced to $935,797 in May due to income shortfalls, at which time the executive board had also reduced the Cooperative Program amount forwarded to national causes from 36 percent to 22 percent. For the 2024 budget the CP national percentage was further reduced to 20 percent.
The reduction of CP gifts sent to the SBC is in stark contrast to the convention’s recent trend of increasing the percentage each year with a goal of someday reaching 50 percent. The percentage passed on to the SBC grew from 17 percent in 2015 to 20 percent in 2016, 22 percent in 2017, 32 percent in 2018, 35 percent in 2019, and 36 percent in 2020, and had remained at that level until the executive board’s action in May to reduce it to 22 percent.
“National funding changes have necessitated adjustments at the state convention level,” Endel had said at the time.
Immediately after the call to order, Endel announced a special offering to be divided between two international efforts undertaken by MWBC leaders: the completion of a missions building in Thailand and paying tuition for children in Liberia who are missing out on education because of the lack of funds. Attendees clicked on a QR code and gave $1,086 to the offering.
Bible study during the sessions were led by Philip Nache, pastor of Hope of Nations Fellowship Church in Bloomington, Minn.; Jeremiah Knoop, pastor of North Center Baptist Church in Brooklyn Park, Minn.; and Timothy Lor, pastor of Followers of Christ Hmong Baptist Church in St. Paul, Minn.
Music was led by worship leaders from First Hmong Baptist Church, Coon Rapids, Minn.; Ebenezer Community Church in Bloomington, Minn.; and Hope of Nations Fellowship, Bloomington, Minn.
The convention sermon was delivered by Sam Choi, pastor of All Peoples Church, Minneapolis, Minn.
In addition to representatives from various SBC entities, guests recognized included several from organizations in Argentina that are partnering with MWBC and Southern Wisconsin Baptist Association to provide a pipeline of pastors for new Spanish-speaking churches in the two states.
The 2024 annual meeting will be Oct. 25-26 at Valley Baptist Church in Appleton, Wis. The annual sermon will be given by Jesse Beernink, pastor, Resonant Church, Janesville, Wis. The alternate preacher will be Philip Nache, pastor, Hope of Nations Gospel Church, Bloomington, Minn. The following year’s annual meeting will be Oct. 24-25, 2025, at Emmanuel Baptist Church, Rochester, Minn.
Messengers approved one resolution, expressing appreciation to the host church, pastor, staff and members.