Iowa Baptists celebrate 25 years
By Benjamin Bradley/Baptist Convention of Iowa
DES MOINES, Iowa (BP) – The theme of the Nov. 5-6 annual meeting of Iowa Baptists was “Celebrating 25 Years of Ministry.” 2020 was the 25th year of BCI ministry but, due to the pandemic, the celebration was postponed until this year’s event at Grace Church. There were 89 messengers and 67 guests in attendance from 48 of the convention’s 114 churches.
Messengers honored four men who were instrumental in moving Iowa from a Southern Baptist association, to a fellowship and, ultimately, to becoming a state convention 25 years ago. Max Carmichael (in memoriam), Jack Owens, Tom Nesbitt, and Ed Gregory received the Legacy Award for their tireless and faithful work over the history of Baptist work in Iowa.
The key decision presented to the messengers at the meeting was a recommendation by the Baptist Convention of Iowa Executive Board to increase the convention’s giving to national Cooperative Program ministries from 60 percent to 75 percent. President Michael Felkins noted this was a unanimous recommendation from the executive board to the messengers.
Tim Lubinus, executive director of the Baptist Convention of Iowa, explained the work that went into the recommendation.
“As a convention, we see strategic stewardship as a foundational value of the BCI,” he said. “Rather than watch money sit in buildings and bank accounts, we want to invest in multiplying disciples, churches, and mission throughout Iowa, across the United States, and around the world. There is no better investment than the Cooperative Program.”
After a presentation of the budget and a full understanding of the numbers, the messengers voted unanimously to increase the state’s CP giving to 75 percent.
“What we have done today,” said Vance Pitman, senior pastor of Hope Church Las Vegas, “can be a model for other state conventions to follow.”
The approved 2022 total budget was $1,699,912, which represents a 36 percent increase from last year. BCI expects an income increase of 8 percent from BCI churches’ giving. There are no shared expenses included in the 2022 budget.
During his executive director’s report, Lubinus highlighted several new initiatives and resources available to BCI churches to multiply disciples, churches, and mission.
“Together we are investing an additional $1 million above our CP giving over the next three years to expand the mission and reach of BCI churches, to identify, train, and equip leaders for ministry, and to introduce the next generation of high school and college students to the life calling we all have as Great Commission Baptists,” he said.
“Key to ministry expansion is the development of godly men and women for ministry service. We will do this by investing in church-planter development, providing expert coaching and convening for pastors and ministry leaders, and connecting students and young people with mission leaders in foreign fields.”
BCI is also expanding ministry in Iowa. Lubinus announced the addition of a new staff member, Chris Mavity, who will serve in a newly created BCI staff position to assist churches in developing leaders.
“We have a strong partnership with the IMB and NAMB, and we are eager to connect members of BCI churches with the opportunities available throughout North America and the world,” Lubinus said.
Keynote speakers during the annual meeting included Jacob Boss, affinity leader for the European Peoples with the International Mission Board, Willie McLaurin, vice president for Great Commission relations and mobilization at the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, and Pitman.
Messengers reelected the following officers: President Michael Felkins, pastor of Grand Avenue Baptist Church, Ames; First Vice President Todd Stiles, pastor of First Family Church in Ankeny; Second Vice President Ricky Rohrig, pastor of Crossroads Community Church of Red Oak; Secretary Jerome Risting of Temple Baptist Church of Mason City.
The 2022 BCI Annual Meeting will be held November 4-5, 2022 at Cornerstone Church in Ames, Iowa.
Wyoming rallies to meet camp need
By Karen L. Willoughby
CASPER, Wyo. – An unplanned outpouring of pledges for Mountain Top Assembly took place at the 38th annual meeting of the Wyoming Southern Baptist Missions Network at College Heights Baptist Church.
The state convention-owned summer camp that Wyoming Southern Baptists started in the early 1960s is getting a new septic tank and water system next summer, Director Lynda Roark announced during her report of this summer’s ministry, which included 59 professions of faith. The cost for the infrastructure work is $50,000, she said.
“Spontaneously, individual churches and regions started making pledges to that need and received pledges for half in just a matter of probably 15 minutes,” Executive Director Quin Williams told Baptist Press. “It was pretty amazing.”
With no business other than passing the budget and electing new officers, Wyoming’s annual meeting was one of exuberant joy at the opportunity of gathering together.
“It was a fantastic meeting,” Williams said. “It was a celebration of what God has been doing across the state of Wyoming. Churches that were faithful in keeping community relationships have seen a sharp uptick in things like VBS.
“Churches large and small are seeing a baptism here, a couple of baptisms there, a bunch of baptisms here and there. It’s a great point of celebration as we see God’s kingdom grow.”
The 2022 budget income includes an anticipated $479,400 in Cooperative Program giving from churches, plus $60,000 in additional giving for the state missions offering. The total budget of $1,012,500 includes $100,000 for church planting and $150,000 for evangelism, both from the North American Mission Board.
Of the total CP giving, 10 percent – $47,940 – was allocated for Southern Baptist missions and ministries outside of Wyoming. This is to be the second year for 10 percent giving.
“We see the Cooperative Program as the back bone of Southern Baptist missions and ministry work around the world and across our nation,” Williams said. “We remain highly committed to the Cooperative Program and the work God does through it.”
Dean Whittaker, pastor of United Baptist Church in Riverton, Wyo., was elected president. Ed Tharp, pastor of Boyd Avenue Baptist Church in Casper, was elected first vice president. Dave Brown, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Rock Springs, was elected second vice president. Cheri Mickelson was elected recording secretary, and Dawn Kinney was elected assistant recording secretary.
A total of about 200 people participated in Wyoming’s annual meeting, including 111 messengers from 41 of the state convention’s 97 churches.
Reports included celebration for four new church plants during the last two years despite the Covid pandemic, “which might not be a big deal for large state conventions, but for us it was another cause for great celebration,” Williams said.
The state convention’s CLD, its Christian Leadership Development track, reported seven students at its 15th graduation in May – 105 since the CLD started – and 86 students in this fall’s semester of six classes, including four Hispanic students being taught in Spanish. The classes take place in multiple locations around the state, and via Zoom.
“Many of these folks are serving across Wyoming as pastors, church planters and in other areas of ministry,” Williams said. “CLD is proving to be a highly effective ministry that is training Wyoming people for Wyoming ministry.”
The next annual meeting of the Wyoming Southern Baptist Mission Network was set for November 3-4, 2022, at United Baptist Church in Riverton.