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WRAP-UP: Ind. pastors urged to address culture

GREENWOOD, Ind. (BP)–Messengers to the annual meeting of the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana adopted a resolution on pastors, culture and civic duty urging pastors “to preach the whole counsel of God, … prophetically declaring biblical truth concerning the burning moral issues that are being debated in the culture and government.”

Messengers also voted to increase Cooperative Program giving by forwarding 34.5 percent of Indiana churches’ gifts to national and international missions and ministries, marking a 1.5 percent increase over the current 33 percent.

Indiana Baptists, meeting at Calvary Baptist Church in Greenwood Oct. 29-30, approved an overall budget of $4.6 million, up 2.4 percent over the current year, including anticipated Cooperative Program of $2.8 million.

Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, reminded the 262 messengers and 186 visitors from 111 Indiana churches that God has a plan and purpose for them, and he warned about “the sin of doing nothing.”

“The reality of grace is that God is not through with you. It is the message of a second chance,” Page said, referring to Luke 13:1-9.

William Bailey, president of the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana and pastor of Parkside Baptist Church in Columbus, delivered a message from 2 Timothy 4:1-5, challenging believers to reach the state with the Gospel. Indiana Baptists must be deliberately devoted to the Word of God, dedicated to the spiritual war and demanding in their Christian walk, he said.

Jim Bohrer, pastor of Hope Community Church in Brownsburg, preached the convention sermon using Proverbs 13:12 as the text. He encouraged pastors not to “lose their marbles” and not to sell out to their fears or settle for second best. Instead, he exhorted them to discover and hold on to God’s desire for their ministry and to cling to the vision of reaching the state for Christ.

Stephen Davis, executive director of the Indiana convention, issued a call for Baptists to “come to grips with our mission” by prayerwalking every street in Indiana and sharing the Gospel in every home in the Hoosier state.

“We can no longer afford to ignore the fact that 80 percent of the people in our state do not attend any Christian church on any given Sunday,” Davis said, citing statistics from a recent report about church attendance.

In response to the U.S. House of Representatives’ passage of hate crimes legislation, messengers passed a resolution calling on the Senate and President Bush to reject the measure. They also urged “all Indiana Baptists to avoid acts of hatred and violence toward homosexuals and transgendered people, but to instead treat our fellow citizens with the kind of civility we would prefer to receive ourselves.”

A resolution on protecting children from abuse called on Southern Baptist churches in Indiana “to utilize materials from LifeWay Christian Resources and state conventions and other relevant research that help churches prevent child abuse” and strongly recommended “that Southern Baptist churches in Indiana to respond to any suspicions or allegations of child abuse in a timely and forthright manner.”

Two other resolutions dealt with personal and corporate repentance and the state’s proposed marriage amendment.

Steve Faith, community ministry evangelism minister in the Southeast Baptist Association, became the first recipient of the “Salt and Light Award” from the state convention’s Christian Life Committee for his efforts in helping start crisis pregnancy centers.

Allen Haynes, state disaster relief coordinator, presented Bill Crane with the “Cup of Cold Water” award for his leadership in Indiana disaster relief efforts.

William Bailey, pastor of Parkwood Baptist Church in Columbus, was re-elected president of the convention after completing a term left vacant by James Butch Tanner who moved out of the state.

Jim Bohrer, pastor of Hope Community Church in Brownsburg, was elected first vice president, and Rick Hillard, pastor of Eastlake Baptist Church in Crown Point, was elected second vice president. Sara Burk, a member of Grace Baptist Church in Evansville, was re-elected recording secretary, and Rick Terry from Fall Creek Baptist Church in Indianapolis was elected music director.

Testimonies by Indiana pastors opened the proceedings of each session. Mike Cramer, pastor of New Life Baptist Church in Osceola, challenged pastors to utilize Highlands Lakes Baptist Camp, especially for youth trips, so they can experience the blessings of baptisms and changed lives.

Jim Walls, pastor of First Baptist Church in Charlestown, gave thanks for the Cooperative Program, which he said was instrumental in his parents’ salvation. They were led to faith in Jesus by a student from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary when there was no Southern Baptist church in their town.

Plez Lovelady, pastor of Southside Baptist Church in Elkhart, thanked messengers and the Indiana Baptist Foundation for their assistance in giving their church a vision of hope that led the church to a significant increase in membership and baptisms.

Indiana’s state convention has 433 churches and missions with 96,236 members.

Next year’s annual meeting and 50th anniversary celebration will be Oct. 3-4. The sessions will be held at Fall Creek Baptist Church in Indianapolis on Friday afternoon and then at the Marriott East Hotel in Indianapolis on Friday evening and Saturday morning.
Compiled by Baptist Press staff writer Erin Roach, with information provided by staff members of the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana.

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