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W.Va. Baptists give spotlight to Acts 1:8 Strategy for missions

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (BP)–West Virginia Southern Baptists moved through their Nov. 5-6 annual meeting in Huntington with a clear focus on evangelism and missions. From the music and sermons to the staff and executive board reports, messengers and guests were challenged to be more intentional in sharing Jesus during the coming year.

Messengers approved a 2005 budget of $2,577,278, down $45,290 from the current year. The percentage of Cooperative Program receipts from West Virginia churches to be allocated for national and international missions will remain at 37.5 percent.

Each officer was re-elected to a second term: Johnny Kelly, pastor of Westview Baptist Church in Martinsburg, president; Charlie Drake, pastor of Burke Memorial Baptist Church in Princeton, first vice president; Ron McCoy, pastor of Cameron Baptist Church in Cameron, second vice president; and Fred Morgan, a member of Fairlawn Baptist Church in Parkersburg, recording secretary.

The convention theme was “Empowering Kingdom Growth: Kingdom Forever,” with an emphasis on the Acts 1:8 Strategy for missions involving the SBC International Mission Board and North American Mission Board alongside state conventions and local Baptist associations. All staff reports were tied directly to the Acts 1:8 Strategy for local, national and international outreach. Teams emphasized how the convention had focused on supportive strategies in 2004 and how the state staff could assist churches and associations in their coming efforts to reach West Virginia with the Gospel.

No issues were addressed through resolutions. The single resolution expressed commendation and appreciation for the host church and pastor. This year’s host was Highlawn Baptist Church in Huntington with Terrell Bradley as pastor.

Messengers totaled 208 with 132 guests, considered a healthy turnout for a convention at the western edge of the state. The West Virginia convention encompasses more than 160 churches and 20 missions with a total membership exceeding 30,000. Indian Creek Baptist Church of Middlebourne was granted membership with the WVCSB, and four new works were accepted into a one-year watchcare program.

David Jicka and his wife, Brenda, were recognized for their service. Jicka, who will retire at the end of the year, served with the state convention staff for six years after serving as the pastor of Highlawn Baptist Church for nine years.

Kelly, the convention president, preached on “Walking Together with God,” using Psalm 34:18 as his text. He challenged messengers and guests to develop a heart like God.

“Our hearts need to be broken over the same things as break the heart of God,” he said.

In the annual convention sermon, Shawn Hall, associate pastor for education and youth at Fairlawn Baptist Church in Parkersburg, spoke about “A Never Changing Christ in an Ever Changing World.” Using the illustration of Aaron Montgomery Ward’s rise to prominence in the retail world contrasted with the more recent closure of Montgomery Ward department stores nationally, Hall said if Ward had adapted his marketing strategy to the current marketplace, he likely would still be more than a catalog operation.

Applying the Ward story to churches today, Hall noted the importance of maintaining the same Gospel message while adapting people-reaching methods to today’s culture. He called messengers to remember the words of the Apostle Paul who sought to become all things to all men in order to reach them with the Gospel, and he closed by reminding them that they do what they do for an audience of one: God.

The 2005 annual meeting will be at First Baptist Church in Fairlea near Lewisburg Nov. 4-5.

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  • John Adams