News Articles

STATE MEETINGS: South Carolina; Northwest


SCBaptists convicted by passionate pleas: ‘Let’s go’

By Todd Deaton/Baptist Courier

COLUMBIA, S.C. (BP) – With a sequential thematic appeal of “Let’s Go,” messengers to the 203rd Annual Meeting of the South Carolina Baptist Convention Nov. 13-14 were exhorted to move beyond giving, praying and sending to personal engagement in missions.

Through keynote addresses by International Mission Board President Paul Chitwood, SCBC President Albert Allen, IMB Affinity Global Strategist Gregg Mann, and former missionary and IMB President Tom Elliff, SCBaptists were exhorted to consider the tragic reality of the world’s spiritual darkness, their calling to share the Gospel, the potential impact they can have, and their response to missions engagement.

In an opening address that set the clarion call of the meeting, Chitwood identified the world’s greatest problem as lostness. “It’s an eternal problem and it’s a universal problem,” Chitwood said, “and that number is getting larger as I preach this sermon.”

On the screen a ticking counter — which exceeded 3,300 by the time he finished — tallied those who had died while he spoke without hearing the Gospel. “South Carolina Baptist churches exist to slow that number down,” he reminded messengers.


The 789 messengers and 79 guests for the annual meeting at Columbia’s Shandon Baptist Church adopted a Cooperative Program Ministry Plan of $26.5 million for 2024, unchanged from the previous year, and approved seven resolutions.

2023-2024 South Carolina Baptist Convention officers are (left to right) Vice President Chris Spires, President Wes Church and Registration Secretary Mike McCormick. Photo by SCBaptist Creative Team

The 2024 budget allocates 25.16 percent, or $6,667,400, for international missions and 20.34 percent, or $5,390,100, for North American missions, theological education and other SBC causes. The state convention will retain 54.5 percent, or $14,442,500, for state missions and its eight ministry partners.

Along with reports from SCBaptist team leaders and the presidents of its ministry partners, messengers heard an update from Sexual Abuse Task Force co-chairs D.J. Horton and Kathy Robinson, and they approved the recommendations of the convention’s Nominations Committee and Committee on Committees for service on entity boards and committees.

Elected to serve by unanimous consent as SCBC officers were: President Elect Chuck Sprouse, pastor of First Baptist Church Ninety Six; Vice President Chris Spires, pastor of First Baptist Church Murrells Inlet; and Recording Secretary Mike McCormick, pastor of Berlin Baptist Church in Salley.

Sprouse will serve as president at the 2025 meeting. Wes Church, senior pastor of First Baptist Church Columbia, will preside as president at next year’s annual meeting, which will be held there Nov. 11-12. Church announced next year’s theme, “Til All Have Heard,” from Romans 10:14-15.

Messengers adopted six resolutions in addition to expressing appreciation to the host church, Shandon. The resolutions — all of which were approved with no discussion — included statements on:

Encouraging laws to prevent minors from accessing pornography.

Prayerful support of Israel.

Human dignity.

South Carolina judicial appointment reform.

Encouraging Christian civil discourse.

Honoring the legacy of South Carolina Baptist women and cultivating an environment for their continued engagement.

Executive Director-Treasurer’s address

In his first report to convention messengers, new Executive Director-Treasurer Tony Wolfe called SCBaptists to be “uncompromisingly focused and invested in the mission” of reaching people in desperate need of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

As SCBaptists, “We evangelize and disciple. We train and mobilize. This is what we do,” Wolfe reminded the messengers. “We have no other objective. We have contrived no other plans. We know no greater burden, and we share no greater joy.”

Of South Carolina’s 5.3 million residents, 4 out of 5 are lost or unchurched, Wolfe noted, adding that of the 157,690 people (worldwide) who died yesterday without having heard the Gospel or who, having heard, did not respond favorably, 121 were South Carolinians.

“They were our neighbors. They were our friends. They were our coworkers. They were our family members,” Wolfe said. “They were our people, and we lost them to the grips of sin and death and hell,” he continued, “and we will lose 121 more before the sun sets today.”

Read the full story here.

Northwest Baptists look to future generations

By Cameron Crabtree

CENTRALIA, Wash. – Messengers attending the Northwest Baptist Convention annual meeting welcomed eight churches into the multi-state network, adopted a $4,088,000 budget for 2024, approved a $150,000 goal for next year’s Northwest Impact Mission Offering and elected three Oregon pastors to serve as convention officers next year.

Bryan Bernard, lead pastor of Redemption Church in Corvallis, Ore., was elected president of the Northwest Baptist Convention.

Convening Nov. 13-15 at the Great Wolf Lodge near Centralia, participants celebrated 75 years of cooperative ministry since the convention’s founding.

Speaking to the convention meeting’s theme – “Proclaim Jesus from Generation to Generation” – NWBC Executive Director Randy Adams paid tribute to Baptist leaders in the Northwest who sought to reach a diverse, growing population.

“Our convention began with a missionary effort,” he said. “Our convention was not formed by outsiders telling us what we ought to do, but by pastors and churches in the Northwest seeking ways to reach the Northwest, understanding that they needed to cooperate together to do it best.”

Messengers elected Bryan Bernard of Redemption Church in Corvallis, Ore., as president. He succeeds Dan Panter of Mckenzie Road Baptist Church in Olympia, Wash., who had served as president for two terms. Messengers also elected Michael Crisp of Chehalem Valley Baptist Church in Newberg as first vice president and re-elected Chad Harms of Pathway Church in Gresham as second vice president.

In addition to 327 registered messengers – the term used for those eligible to vote on convention business items by virtue of being elected by NWBC churches – 122 adults registered as visitors participated in the three-day gathering. Together, participants represented 171 of the NWBC’s 500-plus partnering churches across Washington, Oregon, north Idaho and northern California.

The approved spending plan for next year is up $188,000 from the $3.9 million budget for 2023. It anticipates $2.7 million in Cooperative Program gifts – a reduction of $90,000 from the 2023 anticipated Cooperative Program gifts – and $300,000 in Missions NW gifts from churches. Missions NW is a relatively new revenue stream from churches designating missions giving for work in the Northwest.

Of the $2.7 in expected Cooperative Program gifts from Northwest Baptist churches, 20 percent of that amount – $540,000 – will be forwarded the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee for disbursement to SBC entities for missions and education causes in North America and around the world. An additional $100,000 in the budget is designated for Gateway Seminary of the Southern Baptist Convention to support work of the school’s Pacific Northwest Campus.

Funding support from the North American Mission Board next year is $100,000. That amount is for grants the NWBC requests for evangelism projects at local Northwest Baptist churches. The grants are subject to NAMB approval based on criteria established by the two entities.

The 2024 budget includes $80,000 from General Fund reserves to balance the budget, down from the $109,000 in General Fund reserves to balance the 2023 budget.

Besides the NAMB evangelism grants, Missions Northwest funds and reserves, revenue sources for next year include $150,000 from the Northwest Impact Missions Offering, more than $110,000 in restricted funds and about $647,000 from sources such as endowment earnings, investments and fees.

Following testimonies and stories highlighting key ministry efforts in Northwest Baptists’ history over the past 75 years, Bernard emphasized the need to take greater responsibility for discipling the next generation in the years ahead.

He cited an Old Testament story, in the early part of Judges 2, as a warning against failure to pass down biblical faith.

“Judges 2:10 is a terrifying verse because a generation failed to pass the faith to the next generation,” he said. “There is a challenge embedded in Scripture from Genesis all the way through Revelation – do whatever it takes to pass the faith.”

He illustrated its importance by noting each member of a running relay team must “pass the baton” effectively to win a race: “The issue for Joshua and his generation was not their faithfulness, it was not their love of God – it was the handoff.”

Leading ministries with future generations in mind is imperative, Barnard said, pointing to recent survey data and religious statistics showing fewer and fewer young adults attending church and an increasing number leaving the church.

“We are living in our own Judges 2 moment,” he declared. “There is a generation coming and your legacy is not just in how you served this generation but how you prepared for the next and maybe your greatest contribution to kingdom of God won’t be an accomplishment today but a path forward for the generation for tomorrow.”

He urged churches and ministry leaders to answer three questions about influencing a future generation toward life with God: What’s the win? Who will you invest in? What part will you play?

In other business, messengers elected new members of the NWBC Executive Board and the Northwest Baptist Foundation board of directors. Among the eight churches welcomed into the network, those from Washington were: Grace Church Tri-Cities in Pasco, El Buen Pastor Vancouver, Yesuan Korean Baptist of Seattle, Valleypoint Marshallese in Spokane Valley, West Plains Marshallese in Medical Lake, Marysville Christian Fellowship in Marysville and West Seattle Church 35th & Cloverdale. The Oregon church welcomed into the network was Go Church PDX in Portland.

Messengers approved two resolutions offered by this year’s resolutions committee:

First: “In light of increasing social policies that diminish the importance of family and the increasing cultural attacks on a biblical framework of family, we resolve to strongly support efforts to promote a biblical view of family as the ideal framework for raising children.”

Second: “Whereas there is continuing conflict and loss of life in Israel and the Middle East, we resolve to pray for peace in Jerusalem and throughout the region through the spread of the gospel and the powerful work of God.”

Next year’s annual meeting is Nov. 11-13 at the same location.

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