W.Va. Baptists are strengthened to go, continue towards 50/50 CP
Under the theme “We Are Going,” West Virginia Convention of Southern Baptists called their 48th annual meeting to order reminding messengers that God has called and shaped all believers to leverage their lives for the Great Commission—to not ask if they are going, but rather where are they going.
Meeting November 1-2 at Fairlawn Baptist Church in Parkersburg, W.Va., 190 messengers and 66 guests marked a continued growth in total attendance over previous WVCSB annual meetings.
WE ARE GOING
The annual meeting and pastors’ conference, held just prior, shared a unified theme, “We Are Going,” inspired by John 17:18, “As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world” (ESV).
Lantern imagery supported the 2018 theme. Dr. Bill Henard, state executive director-treasurer, shared, “I pray folks throughout our convention will be so saturated with the gospel; they will burn for the mission of God in their families, in their towns, in West Virginia, and around the world.”
Presenting a four-year strengthening plan focused on providing necessary training and conferencing for WVCSB pastors, Henard stated to messengers, “It’s not just enough to offer a conference schedule. Those conferences and training opportunities must have specific purposes in mind and processes for discipleship, and be strategic to our mission to strengthen and send churches to make Jesus known in and through West Virginia.” Projected topics were presented and a new missions conference, Sent, was unveiled for spring that will include guest speaker Vance Pitman, pastor of Hope Church in Las Vegas, Nev. and national mobilizer with the North American Mission Board.
J.D. Greear, a native of W.Va. and current SBC president, shared four convictions of those who transform the world. Greear challenged messengers, “If you’re really serious about following Jesus, obedience to him is going to take you 180 degrees opposite of the direction you want to go, and in that moment the only thing that will compel you forward is the belief that Jesus is worth it!” Greear also hosted a lead pastor Q&A dinner with 125 in attendance, fielding questions for over an hour prior to the annual meeting.
Other annual meeting and pastors’ conference guests included Jimmy Draper, SBC Executive Committee ambassador; Jim Shaddix, professor of preaching at SEBTS; David Duckworth, WVCSB pastors’ conference president and pastor of First Baptist Church, Fort Ashby, W.Va.; Todd Hill, WVCSB president and pastor of Grace Baptist Church, Parkersburg, W.Va.; Ryan Navy, pastor of New Heights Church, Huntington, W.Va., and Cledith Campbell, pastor of Altizer Baptist Church, Huntington, W.Va.
Music was led by Summit Worship from The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C. The Ministers’ Wives Conference, held prior to the annual meeting, was led by Carol Ann Draper, wife of Jimmy Draper.
In addition to being the most well attended WVCSB annual meeting in recent years, many messengers and guests acknowledged the effectiveness of the annual meeting and the spirit of unity that is growing throughout the convention.
Gary Eller, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in St. Clairsville, Ohio said, “This was the best annual meeting that I have attended in almost 15 years in the WVCSB.” Second vice president and newly elected first vice president for the WVCSB, Nathan Ertel, exclaimed, “Best convention I have ever been a part of!”
Messengers approved a 2019 budget totaling $2,433,274, representing an increase of 2.13 percent over the 2018 budget, and a .5 percent increase in the amount allocated to the Southern Baptist Convention Cooperative Program. The new budget allocates a total of 41.5 percent to SBC ministries and missions. Anticipated funding sources include $1,010,445 from NAMB and $59,992 from LifeWay.
Messengers also approved eight new congregations for affiliation: First Baptist, Keyser, W.Va.; First Baptist, Martinsburg, W.Va.; First Baptist, McConnell, Stollings, W.Va.; First Baptist, Narrows, Va.; First Baptist Steubenville, Ohio; Grace Baptist, Shenandoah Junction, W.Va.; Mountaineer Missionary Baptist, Harts, W.Va.; Salt & Light Southern Baptist, Clarksburg, W.Va.
Two resolutions were adopted including a resolution against “the use of violence or force against any person or group on the basis of political persuasion, racial background, gender distinction, sexual orientation, or religious affiliation,” and a resolution of thanks to the Fairlawn Baptist Church, Parkersburg for hosting the 2018 annual meeting.
Three convention officers were newly elected: president, Paul Harris, pastor of Abundant Hope Baptist in Barboursville, W.Va.; first vice president, Nathan Ertel, student pastor of Old Fields Baptist, Old Fields, W.Va.; and second vice president, C.J. Adkins, pastor of Westmoreland Baptist, Huntington, W.Va. Jim Messenger, pastor of Faith Baptist in West Union, W.Va. was re-elected recording secretary.
The WVCSB 2019 annual meeting will be held November 7-8 at the Church at Martinsburg in Martinsburg, W.Va.