Illinois Baptists celebrate churches thriving in challenging season
By Lisa Misner/Illinois Baptist
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (BP) – Messengers to the Illinois Baptist State Association’s annual meeting approved resolutions dealing with the sufficiency of Scripture for racial reconciliation, the Equality Act, the church’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the 50th anniversary of the IBSA’s move to Springfield.
The 361 messengers, 23 from newly affiliated churches, and 53 guests met under a theme drawn from Acts 16:5.
Messengers approved a 2022 IBSA budget with a Cooperative Program goal of $6.2 million. IBSA will maintain its Cooperative Program ratio of 56.5 percent kept in the state and 43.5 forwarded to national CP missions and ministries. This excludes shared expenses not to exceed 10 percent of the Cooperative Program goal. CP funds received beyond the budget goal will be distributed 50/50.
Newly elected officers are President Heath Tibbetts, pastor of First Baptist Church in Machesney Park; Vice President Michael Nave, pastor of Cornerstone Church, Marion; Recording Secretary Brianna Trowbridge, member of Samaria Missionary Baptist Church, Albion; and Assistant Recording Secretary Charlene Moe, member of Chatham Baptist Church.
Messengers also heard reports from Baptist Foundation of Illinois and Baptist Children’s Home and Family Services, as well as messages from Ben Mandrell, president of Lifeway Christians Resources, and Jeremy Byrd, pastor of Lincoln Avenue Baptist Church in Jacksonville. More about BFI, BCHFS, and the meeting messages is posted at IllinoisBaptist.org.
Tibbett’s president’s message dealt with the meeting’s theme of Acts 16:5 (“So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers”). Those churches had found their opportunity to thrive out of a season of challenge and change, he said. The past two years have been that kind of season for churches in Illinois and across the country.
IBSA Executive Director Nate Adams described some of those challenges in his report to messengers, noting a 2020 decline in baptisms as most churches temporarily shuttered in-person worship services during the pandemic. On the missions front, more than 1,300 people (representing 304 churches) engaged in IBSA-coordinated mission projects, and Illinois Baptist Disaster Relief pivoted to a food distribution ministry that has served thousands in need.
By the end of the year, Adams reported, 9-12 new church plants are anticipated, and 65 church plants are in some stage of development right now. The association also welcomed 16 new churches through affiliation.
The 2022 IBSA Annual Meeting is Nov. 2-3 at Metro Community Church in Edwardsville.
New Mexico Baptists address refugees, unity, worldview
By Kevin Parker/Baptist New Mexican
ROSWELL, N.M. (BP) – The Baptist Convention of New Mexico met for its Annual Meeting, Oct. 26-27, at First Baptist Church, Roswell. The church hosted 229 messengers from 89 churches and 57 visitors. Messengers passed a budget, elected officers, approved resolutions, elected new trustees for various state convention boards and held a prayer service that last most of one session.
The approved $4,135,091 ministry budget for 2022 reflects a $418,298 increase over the convention’s 2021 budget. It contains $136,500 of CP exempt items, a decrease from the 2021 amount of $153,000. The convention voted to continue sending 29 percent of all undesignated gifts from churches to the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee for the Cooperative Program. The remaining 71 percent will fund the convention’s ministry budget.
The budget funds a new ministry team among the convention’s missionary staff – a People Group Team, which will focus on evangelism, church planting and training for Hispanic and other non-Anglo churches. It will encompass the convention’s current Native American ministries and give attention to currently untargeted groups in the state. The convention’s present Hispanic ministry strategist, Ricardo Rivera, will lead the new team.
Messengers elected Ronny Cooksey, pastor of Sandia Baptist Church, Albuquerque, for a second term as convention president. They also re-elected Monty Mullenix, pastor of First Baptist Church, Bloomfield, as first vice president and Matt Celoria, pastor of Bethel Baptist Church, Alamogordo, as second vice president. All officers were elected unanimously; no other candidates were nominated.
Messengers adopted four resolutions, addressing refugees, Baptist unity and the elements of a biblical worldview.
Nathan Lino preached about Christians’ and churches’ need to experience a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit. On Tuesday night, he led messengers in an interactive worship and prayer service to seek that filling. Messengers prayed together individually and in groups and prayed both aloud and silently at various times. One segment of the prayer service invited pastors and other individuals to come forward to prayer partners to ask for prayer for the Spirit’s power. As individuals came forward, lines formed in each of the worship center’s two main aisles with people waiting. Lino pastors Northeast Baptist Church, Houston, Texas.
Messengers also heard from Matt Queen, associate professor of evangelism at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.