DES MOINES, Iowa (BP)–Messengers to the 12th annual meeting of the Baptist Convention of Iowa increased the BCI annual budget by 5 percent and renewed their mission and ministries partnership with the Tennessee Baptist Convention to 2010.
Based on Galatians 6:1-10, the theme of the Nov. 2-3 sessions in Des Moines was “Hold to One Another.
The BCI’s 2008 budget of $1,704,231, up 5 percent over the current year, includes anticipated Cooperative Program giving of nearly $520,000 from the convention’s 100 churches and missions with a combined membership of 13,650. The allocation of CP gifts will continue at 80 percent for Iowa outreach and 20 percent for Southern Baptist national and international missions and ministries.
BCI Executive Director Jimmy Barrentine said it is the convention’s hope to reach a 50/50 Iowa/SBC allocation of CP gifts in the coming years, noting in his report to the convention, “It is time for us to rediscover cooperative missions, not only giving but participating in one another’s lives and helping to bear the burden for one another.”
Barrentine interviewed several individuals on stage — a church planter, a disaster relief worker, a collegiate minister, a youth camp leader and two pastors — about their ministries and the support they receive from the Iowa convention. Barrentine also noted the convention’s gratitude for the SBC-wide emphasis on Empowering Kingdom Growth and the resulting Acts 1:8 strategies for local, regional, national and international missions.
“One of the things we do together,” Barrentine added, “is pray for one another. God is doing incredible things because we do pray.”
Kim Margrave, of the Tennessee convention, highlighted ministries and activities of the Iowa-Tennessee partnership, noting various links among Baptist churches and associations in both states.
Iowa Baptists have helped in Tennessee Baptists’ Mississippi River and Appalachian ministries, while Tennessee Baptists have assisted in church ministries and prayerwalks in Iowa, said Margrave, highlighting a sense of “camaraderie” and fellowship among Baptists in both states.
Margrave also mentioned the Tennessee convention’s new partnership with the island nation of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea and another partnership developing in several of the nations of West Africa. She extended an invitation to Iowa Baptists to join in upcoming mission trips to these countries.
The 126 registered messengers re-elected by acclamation Robert Stout, pastor of Quimby Baptist Church in Quimby, as president and Dan Wiersema, pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Cedar Rapids, as first vice president. New officers elected by acclamation were Dennis Bradley, pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Ankeny, as second vice president and Jean Johnson, a member of Rolling Hills Community Church in Fort Dodge, secretary.
Stout, in his presidential address, said, “I believe in all my heart that Iowa has approached an irrecoverable moment. We, as the people of God, need to be about the business that God has called us to do.”
Preaching from the first chapter of Joshua, Stout noted that such irrecoverable moments can never be regained and underscored the biblical admonition: “Be strong and of good courage.”
Before the Israelites entered into the Promised Land, Stout said, God spoke to Joshua, the new leader of the nation, and encouraged him in this irrecoverable moment.
In ministry, Stout added, there must be a call to ministry, a commencement of ministry, a conviction toward excellence in ministry and a claiming of victory.
The Vietnam veteran recalled people giving their lives to take a piece of land in the midst of the conflict. And people are giving their lives in Iraq for a cause, Stout said, comparing such valor to the cause of Christians giving their lives to take the Gospel to people who will miss heaven if they do not hear the Gospel.
“In Vietnam I had a commander, and I did not question his commands,” Stout said. “Our commander is telling us we need to take Iowa.”
During the convention, Stout presented a plaque and flowers to Barrentine, his wife Joan and their daughter Jenifer in celebration of Jenifer’s dramatic recovery from a debilitating illness. The convention gave Jenifer a standing ovation as she walked to the microphone and spoke to the convention.
Jenifer was diagnosed with A.L.S. (commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) in 2003 but recently learned that the original diagnosis was incorrect and that her inability to walk and speak were due to a virus that has run its course. She is now receiving physical therapy and is steadily regaining her physical abilities.
Iowa Baptists’ 2008 annual meeting will be Nov. 7-8 at the Holiday Inn and Suites in Des Moines.
Richard Nations is the Baptist Convention of Iowa’s publications editor.