Wyoming votes to become self-sustaining
By Karen L. Willoughby
CASPER, Wyo. – The Wyoming Southern Baptist Mission Network voted at its Nov. 5-6 annual meeting at Boyd Avenue Baptist Church to become a self-sustaining state convention in 2021.
Its 2021 budget of $721,810 is down 43 percent from the 2020 budget. “This is a Wyoming independent budget,” Executive Director Quin Williams said. “No outside money in it.
“Ministry in Wyoming in 2021 will be leaner and much more focused on what God has called us to do here. We will still be intent on planting new churches, making new disciples and growing disciples so each of us better reflect our Savior in today’s world.”
The new budget folds the evangelism conference into the annual meeting; combines all travel budgets into one; combines pastoral care line items; decreases health care coverage for staff; and moves all NAMB income out of the budget and into reimbursable accounts.
“We worked extensively with our staff” about health care coverage, Williams said. “It’s unpleasant but they accepted it well, with Wyoming’s ‘whatever it takes’ attitude.”
Offsetting the decreases, Wyoming added three things to its budget: Wyoming church planting outside of what NAMB traditionally funds; scholarships for the ADVANCE/Contextualized Leadership Development program, a Wyoming initiative in cooperation with Gateway Seminary in California; and collegiate ministries fully funded with Wyoming dollars.
Cooperative Program giving was reduced from 32.75 percent to 10 percent for 2021, to balance the budget.
“Wyoming Southern Baptists remain committed to the Cooperative Program,” Williams said. “It is without question the best form of collective missions and ministries support across a large denomination of churches.” Wyoming anticipates increasing its CP giving in the years to come, the executive director added.
This year’s theme – Making Disciples: Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes – was “Great Commission-focused and not pandemic focused, and that speaks well of the mindset of our churches,” Williams said.
The reelected officers are President John Larramendy, pastor of Alcova Community Church; first vice president Dean Whitaker, pastor of United Baptist Church in Riverton; second vice president Ed Tharp, senior pastor at Boyd Avenue Baptist Church in Casper; recording secretary Cheri Mickelson, member of First Southern Baptist Church in Powell; and assistant recording secretary Dawn Kenney, member of Mountain View Baptist Church in Mills.
No other business was enacted. This year, 99 messengers from 54 of Wyoming’s 98 churches, 36 guests and a total of about 200 people gathered for Wyoming’s annual meeting.
Next year’s annual meeting is set for Nov. 5-6, 2021, at College Heights Baptist Church in Casper.
Hawaii Pacific Baptists gather virtually from across the globe
By HPBC Staff
With significant travel and gathering restrictions still in place for the Hawaiian Islands, the Samoas, Micronesia, and Asia, the Hawaii Pacific Baptist Convention (HPBC) Annual Meeting was entirely virtual.
A highlight of the event was an update on a new strategic agreement between HPBC and the International Mission Board (IMB). In this agreement, HPBC and IMB seek to partner together to mobilize Hawaii Pacific Baptists to pray, give and go with IMB teams to the nations, and to strengthen Hawaii Pacific Baptists as they embrace their responsibility to fulfill the Great Commission, both locally and globally.
Participants had access to a 48-page book of reports containing ministry and financial updates. In their September meeting, the convention’s executive board approved an HPBC 2021 budget of $1,454,200, a 21.54 percent decrease from 2020. The change is attributable largely to an anticipated decrease in Cooperative Program (CP) receipts due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Anticipated receipts include $1,062,500 in CP receipts from churches, $166,250 from the North American Mission Board and $130,000 from gifts to the Sue Nishikawa Offering for Hawaii Pacific Missions.
The convention will continue to forward 20 percent of CP receipts to Southern Baptist Convention missions and ministries and retain 80 percent for funding Hawaii Pacific missions and ministries. The budget does not include any shared ministry expenses.
For the 2019 calendar year, Hawaii Pacific churches gave $1,700,108 through the Cooperative Program, the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions, World Hunger Relief, the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions and the Sue Nishikawa Offering for Hawaii Pacific Missions. HPBC leaders anticipate a similar giving total for 2020. Through October 2020, Hawaii Pacific churches had given $1,554,661.
An 80-minute video concerning the theme “Moving Beyond Obstacles” was premiered on Facebook Live Nov. 5. While it was Thursday afternoon in the Hawaiian and Samoan Islands, it was mid-morning Friday in Guam, Japan, South Korea, The Philippines, and Thailand. Participants also enjoyed a memorial video for Arnold Goto, former president of the Hawaii Baptist Foundation.
The annual meeting message from Ronnie Floyd, SBC Executive Committee President and CEO, expounded on the theme Scripture, Psalm 18:28-29. Floyd also shared 5 Actions for Every Christian and Every Church. Before his message, viewers watched the premier of “The Hawai’i Blessing,” a video produced by Hawaii Islands Ministries with the participation of worship leaders from 25 churches on six Hawaiian Islands.
One participant responded to a follow-up survey: “The Gospel Focus was my favorite. The tribute to past heroes of the faith, and the environment of worship. During the Hawaii Blessing, I was worshipping behind my desk in Okinawa, Japan. Thank you all!”