W.Va. Southern Baptists Increase CP Giving and Take on Statewide Drug Abuse
Calling churches to be “All In,” and seeking to grow as a convention united in generosity in response to the gospel, the West Virginia Convention of Southern Baptists (WVCSB) voted to move to a 59/41 Cooperative Program split, and passed a resolution to battle the drug epidemic in W.Va. during their 47th annual meeting.
Meeting Nov. 2-3 at First Baptist Church Fairlea, in Fairlea, W.Va., 173 messengers and 41 guests marked a continued increase in total attendance over previous WVCSB annual meetings.
The “All In” theme is the convention’s emphasis for fall 2017 through fall 2018 and is drawn from 2 Corinthians 5:15, “And he died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for the one who died for them and was raised.” (CSB)
Dr. Bill Henard, state Executive Director-Treasurer, told messengers, “When we are all in for the mission of God, we can do more together than by ourselves. Imagine what God could accomplish through this state convention of Southern Baptists if we worked together, committed to radical, sacrificial generosity as a way of life, and grew as a generous people in response to Christ’s generosity. We could tackle the growing drug epidemic in our midst, develop and send out leaders, plant and revitalize churches, and tell all of West Virginia - from the cities to the ‘hollers’ - the good news of the gospel.”
Henard and the state’s three strategists, Cleve Persinger, Danny Rumple, and Tim Turner, presented strategies to “strengthen and send” West Virginia Southern Baptists leading up to the convention’s 50th anniversary in 2020. Multiple “Strengthen and Send Intensives” will be hosted across W.Va. in 2018 and will cover topics including stewardship/generosity, mercy ministry, church planting and revitalization, small groups and Sunday school, gospel conversations, and the Sunday morning experience.
Featured speakers were Thom Rainer, President and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources; Will Basham, Lead Pastor of New Heights Church in Milton, W.Va.; Todd Hill, pastor of Grace Baptist in Parkersburg, W.Va.; and David Wheeler, Professor of Evangelism and Student Ministry at Liberty University.
Messengers approved a 2018 budget totaling $2,382,578, representing a decrease of $121,600 (4.9 percent) under the 2017 budget, and a 1 percent increase in the amount allocated to the Southern Baptist Convention Cooperative Program. The new budget allocates a total of 41 percent to SBC ministries and missions. Anticipated funding sources include $1,019,565 from NAMB and $59,992 from LifeWay.
Messengers also approved two new congregations for affiliation: Winfield Baptist, Winfield, W.Va. and Simpson Creek Baptist, Bridgeport, W.Va. Dr. Michael Hopkins, pastor of Simpson Creek, exclaimed to messengers, “Simpson Creek is all in!”
Messengers adopted a resolution to dedicate themselves to an “active, gospel involvement in the effort to rid West Virginia of drug abuse” by “seeking partnerships with civil, religious, and government groups and agencies to discover effective ways to solve the drug abuse problem in our state, including, but not limited to, the provision of spiritual counseling, the elimination of poverty, the strengthening of families, the restoration of hope, and the sharing of the gospel.” The resolution further states “West Virginia has become the epicenter of opioid abuse, suffering from a rate of 33.5 drug overdoses per 100,000 people, compared to a national average of 13.4 deaths.”
Additionally, a resolution was adopted by WVCSB expressing gratitude to Greenbrier County, First Baptist Church of Fairlea, and the Alleghany Association.
Three convention officers were re-elected: president, Todd Hill, pastor of Grace Baptist in Parkersburg, W.Va.; first vice president, Paul Harris, pastor of Abundant Hope Church in Barboursville, W.Va.; and recording secretary Jim Messenger, pastor of Faith Baptist in West Union, W.Va. Nathan Ertel, student pastor of Old Fields Baptist, Old Fields, W.Va., was elected second vice president.
Music was led by the worship teams from First Baptist Fairlea and Grassroots Church in Lewisburg, W.Va., gospel trio 3:16 Crossroads, and Allegheny associational missionary Dennis Cherry.
The Pastors’ and Ministers’ Wives’ Conferences were held prior to the annual meeting. A catered question and answer lunch with Thom Rainer was also provided on Friday, Nov. 3 for WVCSB lead pastors.
The WVCSB 2018 annual meeting will be held Nov. 1-2 at Fairlawn Baptist Church in Parkersburg, W.Va.