News Articles

Utah-Idaho Baptists celebrate new church starts

LAYTON, Utah (BP)–Seven new churches. Eleven new missions. Almost 400 in attendance for the Tuesday evening session. There was definitely cause for praise and celebration at the Utah-Idaho 34th annual meeting Nov. 10-11 at Mountain View Baptist Church in Layton, Utah.
The Credentials Committee report was the first item of business Tuesday afternoon. Applause and “amens” followed Chairman Ken McMeans announcement that 10 churches had applied for recognition by the convention. Seven of them were able to complete the process in time to be included in this year’s vote. New Idaho churches are Berean Baptist Church, Wendell; Silver Sage Baptist Church, Boise; Blackfoot Southern Baptist Church and Mountain View Baptist Church, Blackfoot; and Sand Hollow Baptist Church, Caldwell. Utah congregations include Fillmore Baptist Church, Fillmore; and Utah Campus Community Church, Salt Lake City.
Tom Vance, missions consultant for the convention, then announced 11 new works began this year, including three Hispanic congregations and one Chinese mission. “Just as our theme for this meeting says, we are ‘Hand-in-Hand Reaching the World for Christ,'” said Vance.
Jim Harding continued the good news in his executive director’s report. He named 25 highlights for the year beginning with the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Salt Lake City in June. “We are still seeing results,” Harding said. “Two Baptist bookstores in Utah, four new missionaries to work in our convention, and people more willing to openly share their faith.” Interest in who Southern Baptists are and what they believe is at an all time high. The convention website has recorded 20,000 hits per month since June.
The state staff continues to go the extra mile to meet the needs of churches in Utah and Idaho, Harding continued. Training teams for discipleship, Vacation Bible School, and church strategy planning are in place. The consultants stand ready to assist any church in a variety of ways. Staff members shared their dreams for Utah and Idaho Baptists during their evening presentation. They stressed the importance of churches developing a vision for the new millennium. Reaching lost people is still the ultimate goal. However, methodology must change as society changes.
Special guests for the meeting included Tom Elliff, pastor of First Southern Baptist Church, Del City, Okla., and past president of the Southern Baptist Convention; and Frank Cox, president of the Baptist Convention of the State of Georgia. Elliff spoke to messengers Tuesday afternoon and evening. “You don’t come to God on your terms, but on his,” he said. “When he speaks, do not harden your heart.” Elliff also spoke about what is right with the church.
Cox came to Utah to bring a word of greeting from Georgia Baptists. “I am excited to be here and we are looking forward to working together,” he said. The Utah-Idaho Southern Baptist Convention and the Georgia convention will enter a partnership agreement Jan. 1, 1999. “We will work hand-in hand with one another and heart-to-heart with God to win the world to Christ.” The partnership will run through the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
Mitch Martin, director of missions for the Golden Spike Baptist Association and local coordinator of the partnership, stressed the importance of the partnership being two-sided. “Georgia Baptists are ready and willing to help in many ways,” he said, adding their insights on how to minister during the Olympics will be invaluable. “But, we will miss the blessings if all we do is receive.” Plans are already underway for Utah and Idaho college students who were involved in the first ever Crossover event in Salt Lake City to travel to Atlanta next summer to assist with Crossover.
Martin also announced the formation of the Theological Education Advisory Committee for Utah-Idaho. The ultimate goal is to establish a regional campus of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary within the Utah-Idaho convention to allow leaders and future leaders to train without relocating. Already seminary extension courses are being offered. On-line courses of study will be the next step. Martin urged anyone interested to contact a member of the committee.
The good news and excitement continued during business sessions. Harding announced the convention remained debt free even after purchasing and furnishing a new office building. Messengers approved a total budget of $1,890,773. Of that, $531,977 will come from Utah-Idaho Cooperative Program offerings. The convention will continue to send 21 percent of Cooperative Program offerings on to the Executive Committee for Southern Baptist Convention causes.
Keith Markham was elected president. He is pastor at Mountain View Baptist Church in Layton. Robin Davies, pastor of First Southern Baptist Church, Hurricane, Utah, was chosen first vice president. Mike McGuire, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church, Mountain Home, Idaho, will serve another term as second vice president; and Mary McFarling of Idaho Falls, Idaho, will repeat as recording secretary.
The Time-Place-Preacher Committee recommended the 2000 annual meeting be moved up two weeks to Oct. 24-25 to avoid the possibility of bad weather. Some discussion followed concerning the possibility of conflict with associational annual meetings. It was pointed out the associations would have two years to adjust their calendars, and the new dates were approved.
The 1999 annual meeting will be held at Calvary Baptist Church, Boise, Idaho, Nov. 9-10.

    About the Author

  • Debbie Ward