OSCEOLA, Ind. (BP)–The State Convention of Baptists in Indiana held its first-ever meeting in the northeast part of the state Oct. 30-31 at New Life Baptist Church in Osceola.
Charles W. Sullivan, the convention’s executive director/treasurer, was honored for 10 years of service, and a partnership between Indiana Baptists and the Florida Baptist Convention was formalized.
Registration totaled 143 messengers representing 84 of Indiana’s churches, along with 119 visitors, including individuals from seven other states.
“I thought [the convention] was outstanding,” said SCBI President Glen Flowers. “The unity we share is unprecedented and really unheard of when you compare us to some other state conventions.”
Joel Ragains, chairman of the convention’s executive board, said, “Obviously I’d have liked to have seen more people there. But there was a good spirit. One of the byproducts of a convention is getting to see people you don’t have opportunity to see but once a year. It’s important.”
“The 43rd annual convention was a very profitable time for Indiana Baptists,” Sullivan said. “My biggest regret is that more of our pastors and members of our churches were not in attendance. But I am still convinced that there is a special value in the convention moving from area to area.
“In 43 years, this is the first time the convention ever met in northeast Indiana. This afforded opportunity to the churches in that area that will long be remembered.”
Messengers approved a 2002 total budget of $4,606,849, a 4.1 percent increase over the 2001 budget. Included in that is a Cooperative Program budget of $2,728,496, which will continue with 67.5 percent allocated for Indiana missions and 32.5 percent for Southern Baptist national and international missions and ministries.
In addition to establishing a three-year partnership with Florida, messengers approved an executive board recommendation to extend Indiana’s partnership with Guatemala through 2002.
The new Florida-Indiana partnership, Sullivan noted, “will open up totally new realms of ministry in Indiana. The Florida convention will not only help to support us in the planting of new churches, the promotion of evangelism and the development of churches, they will also contribute to the Indiana Foundation funds that will make possible a new mission church small loan fund.
“The partnership will also offer expert leadership from Florida to assist us in developing ministries,” Sullivan said. “It will also encourage churches in Florida to partner with churches in Indiana and associations in Florida to partner with associations in Indiana. The breadth of this partnership will extend to a greater level than any we have known.”
Flowers agreed, “I think it’s going to be profitable for us. We are going to have access to a lot of good leadership. It sounds like they really are concerned about doing this right and helping Indiana.”
Flowers was elected to a second one-year term as SCBI president, as were Jim Hamilton, first vice president; Jim Bullock, second vice president; Debbie Worthington, clerk; Tom Evitts, parliamentarian; and Keith Longo, musician.
The resolutions committee recommended three resolutions that were approved by the messengers. The first was a Resolution of Corporate Prayer for Revival and Spiritual Awakening through America’s Crisis. The second was a resolution to Sullivan for his 10 years of service and leadership as SCBI executive director. The third was a resolution to recognize New Life Baptist Church for hosting the convention.
Part of the resolution honoring Sullivan called for the messengers to give him a standing ovation that they did immediately upon passing the resolution.
“His leadership has meant a lot to Indiana,” Flowers said of Sullivan. “His fine reputation throughout the Southern Baptist Convention has been nothing but helpful. We can see the results.”
“The relationships he has built with denominational leaders over the years has brought a lot of resources to Indiana,” Ragains said. “His ability to recognize the strengths of our churches and his ability to bring us all together has been a tremendous blessing. Those two things will be the lasting legacy of his tenure in Indiana.”
Said Sullivan, “It was with a spirit of deep gratification that I listened to the resolution acknowledging my tenure of service in Indiana over the past ten years. The spirit of the resolution and convention was truly a blessing and in no way could I not know the deep love and appreciation that they were expressing to me.”
In other business, messengers approved a recommendation by the SCBI executive committee to change Article XI, Part E of the bylaws as follows: Section 1. The following committees shall be standing committees of the Board: Administrative Committee, Camp Committee,
Family & Missions Support Committee, Church Development Committee, Evangelism Committee, and Missions Committee. The Administrative Committee will be responsible for all Calendar, Finance, Personnel and Stewardship matters. The Camp Committee will be responsible for Highland Lakes Baptist Camp. The Family & Missions Support Committee will be responsible for the work of the Woman’s Missionary Union, Women’s Ministry, International Partnership(s), Stateside Partnership(s), and family ministries Missions Offerings. The Church Development Committee will be responsible for the work of the Sunday School, Church Growth Development Department, Discipleship, Leadership, Worship and Family Ministry Campus Ministry Departments. The Evangelism Committee will be responsible for the work of the Evangelism, Youth and Collegiate Ministry and Prayer. The Missions Committee will be responsible for the work of Church Planting, Missions Department and Men’s Ministries.
The 2002 annual meeting will be Oct. 29-30 at Northside Baptist Church in Indianapolis.