CHUGIAK, Alaska (BP)–Alaska Baptists focused on evangelism through the Acts 1:8 Challenge and adopted a $2 million budget during their 62nd annual meeting at Birchwood Community Church in Chugiak.
David Baldwin, the convention’s executive director, reflected the meeting’s theme of “Alaska Kingdom Challenge through Acts 1:8,” telling the 122 messengers and 49 guests: “We need to make Acts 1:8 a reality in our lives and the life of our churches.”
David George, director of missions for Chugach Baptist Association, cited the Acts 1:8 Challenge in his convention sermon, saying: “Jesus was the channel to which the Father made Himself known to you and me. And likewise, we are the channel for which Christ makes Himself known to the world. It is God’s will that all people should be saved.”
Mike Procter, the convention’s director of missions and men’s ministries, told Baptist Press the Acts 1:8 Challenge has been “an ongoing effort” in Alaska since the initiative’s inception.
Launched in 2004 by the International Mission Board and North American Mission Board in cooperation with Baptist state conventions and associations, the Acts 1:8 Challenge is designed to encourage SBC churches to take a fresh look at their missions efforts in implementing a comprehensive missions strategy involving their community, region, continent and the world. It’s based on Jesus’ charge to the apostles in Acts 1:8: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
“We’ve been using Acts 1.8 to mobilize Alaska Baptists to be on mission,” Procter said. “It will be one of our major emphases over the next few years.
“It’s had a positive impact. We’ve seen an upswing in missions awareness, financial support and even our people are actually going out within our state, the lower 48, and into the world,” he added.
Messengers to the convention approved a $2,001,074 budget for 2008, representing a slight increase over 2007’s $1.9 million budget due to a 3 percent raise for missionaries. The budget anticipates $747,440 in Cooperative Program gifts from the state’s 105 congregations plus additional funding from the North American Mission Board and LifeWay Christian Resources. The budget maintains an allocation of 33 percent of Cooperative Program receipts to be sent to Southern Baptist national and international missions and ministries.
Messengers also approved a resolution offering prayer support for members of the United States armed forces from Alaska, which reads:
“WHEREAS, Alaskan troops continue being deployed in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, and the continued war on Global Terrorism:
“WHEREAS, many of these soldiers and their family members attend Alaska Baptist Convention churches:
“BE IT RESOLVED, that this Convention in Annual session, September 25 and 26, 2007, goes on record as offering continued prayer and support to the troops and family members and that a copy of this resolution be in the official minutes of this annual meeting and that a copy be transmitted to the commanders and chaplains of the Alaska command.”
Messengers also elected convention officers for the 2007-08 year: Gary Cox, pastor of University Baptist Church in Fairbanks, president; Charles Worthy, pastor of First Baptist Church in Willow; first vice president; Ed Gregory, pastor of First Baptist Church in Anchorage, second vice president; and Judy Zach, member of University Baptist Church in Fairbanks, recording secretary.
Alaska Baptists’ 2008 annual meeting will be hosted by First Baptist Church in Palmer, Sept. 30-Oct. 1.
Norm Miller is a freelance writer based in Richmond, Va. Debra Long, office manager for the Alaska Baptist Convention, contributed to this story.