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Wyo. Baptists strengthen local ownership

CASPER, Wyo. (BP) — Wyoming Baptists approved at their 30th annual meeting Future Study Group recommendations to decentralize staffing and create more local support and ownership of strategy and ministry.

The plan encompasses significant changes that messengers met with excitement and deemed a step of faith in following the Lord’s leadership, the Wyoming Southern Baptist Convention reported.

Messengers convened Nov. 7-8 at First Southern Baptist Church in Casper, Wyo. The 151 in attendance included 128 messengers and 23 guests representing 47 of the 103 affiliated churches and missions.

Messengers adopted a budget of $1,464,440 for 2014, anticipating $567,639 in Cooperative Program receipts from affiliated churches and allocating 32.75 percent of CP funds to the Southern Baptist Convention for national and international causes. The new budget represents a 1.6 percent increase from 2013. Designated to cover expenses shared by the state and national convention is 8.5 percent or $124,447 of the total budget, the WSBC reported.

Newly elected officers are president, Mike Cooper, pastor of College Heights Baptist Church in Casper; first vice president, Clay Alexander, pastor of Big Horn Baptist Church in Buffalo, and second vice president, David Grace, pastor at Trinity Baptist Church in Laramie. Messengers reelected Hope Reynolds as recording secretary and Renee Hanson as assistant recording secretary.

Jim Ritter, pastor of First Southern Baptist Chapel in Glenrock, preached the annual sermon. Other speakers were WSBC President Quin Williams, pastor of Boyd Avenue Baptist Church in Casper; WSBC Executive Director Lynn Nikkel; and Jim Futral, executive director of the Mississippi Baptist Convention.

Worship leaders were John Thomas of Evansville Baptist Church in Evansville; the Boyd Avenue Baptist Church praise team from Casper, led by Scott Baxter; the Mountain View Baptist Church praise team from Mills, led by Renee Hanson, and Richard Mills of Set Free Church, with locations in Riverton and Casper.

The WSBC will convene its 2014 annual meeting Nov. 6-7 at the Risen Son Southern Baptist Church in Thermopolis, with Dean Whittaker, pastor of United Baptist Church in Riverton, delivering the annual message. The 2015 annual meeting is set for Nov. 5-6, 2015, at Bar Nunn Baptist Church in Bar Nunn. Messengers chose Paul Martin, pastor of Laramie Valley Chapel, to preach the 2015 annual sermon.
Lynn Nikkel is WSBC executive director.

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