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Wyo. Baptists mark 1st year of reorganization

BAR NUNN, Wyo. (BP) — The Wyoming Southern Baptist Convention has marked its first year under a restructured format of three regions led by state strategists, after the group voted in 2014 to dissolve its eight associations.

Executive Director Lynn Nikkel praised the WSBC Executive Board for its “wisdom and good counsel” in the restructuring when he spoke at the convention’s 2015 annual meeting Nov. 5-6 at Bar Nunn Baptist Church in Bar Nunn, Wyo.

Themed “Our eyes are on you, God,” from 2 Chronicles 20:12, the annual meeting drew 109 messengers from 39 of Wyoming’s 106 churches.

In the business session, messengers unanimously approved a $1,497,042 budget for 2016, down from $1,710,223 in 2015. The lower budget reflects a personnel change, Nikkel said, since the Wyoming convention’s state strategists are now employed by the North American Mission Board. Nikkel described NAMB as a “wonderful partner” in ministry.

The budget includes a projected $748,242 in Cooperative Program giving from Wyoming churches in 2016, up from $742,201 this year. For the fifth concurrent year, Wyoming will forward 32.75 percent of CP dollars to national and international Southern Baptist causes, a total of $245,049 in 2016.

The budget also reflects $440,500 from NAMB, $67,000 from LifeWay Christian Resources and $85,000 from the Benny Delmar State Mission Offering.

Newly elected officers are president David Grace, pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Laramie; first vice president John Constantine, pastor of Story Community Church in Story, and second vice president John Larramendy, pastor of Alcova Community Church in Alcova. Renee Hanson, pastor’s wife at Mountain View Baptist Church in Mills, was re-elected recording secretary; Cheri Mickelson, a member of First Southern Baptist in Powell, was re-elected assistant recording secretary.

Messengers heard reports from WSBC ministries and various Southern Baptist Convention entities.

Wyoming has 15 ongoing church plants and 13 seed congregations, reported Don Whalen, state church planting strategist. “We are currently working with 14 potential church planters, seven cross-cultural planters and seven indigenous planters from our Wyoming congregations,” Whalen said.

Mark Porter, who has resigned as state missions strategist and South Region missionary to return to the pastorate, reported that mission teams from Texas, Missouri and Oklahoma helped Wyoming volunteers minister during the annual Frontier Days Ministries in Cheyenne. The outreach led to 140 professions of faith in Jesus.

Now in its 10th year, the Wyoming Southern Baptist Center for Leadership Development, sponsored by Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, has provided the opportunity for at least 350 students to advance their theological education, reported Fred Creason, state leadership strategist and North Region missionary.

About 50 students currently are enrolled in seven classes in five locations: Casper, Gillette, Buffalo, Riverton and Cheyenne.

The Wyoming Southern Baptist Foundation made several improvements to its facilities, and hosted 987 campers, who recorded 48 professions of faith in Jesus and 24 other spiritual decisions.

A Nov. 4 missions banquet, a pastor’s conference and a women’s fellowship preceded the annual meeting.

Wyoming Baptists set their 2016 annual meeting for Nov. 3-4 at the United Baptist Church in Riverton.