Ind. Baptists commit to 'Taking the Cross to the Crossroads'

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (BP)--Messengers who gathered for the 46th annual meeting of the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana at Grace Baptist Church in Evansville Oct. 25-26 were introduced to a three-year plan for "Taking the Cross to the Crossroads," based on 1 Corinthians 1:18.

The emphasis will take on a new sub-theme each year, starting with 2005 as the year of "Leading 'em In," followed by "Lifting 'em Up," and "Letting 'em Out."

A total of 243 messengers representing 84 churches approved a budget of $4,351,768, which is a 5.4 percent increase over the current year. The convention anticipates Cooperative Program receipts of $2,847,385 and will continue to keep 67.5 percent in the state and give 32.5 percent for national and international missions and ministries.

Mark Hearn, pastor of Northside Baptist Church in Indianapolis, was elected president. Ashley Ray, pastor of Avon Baptist Church in Avon, was elected first vice president, and Mike Ashby, pastor of Old Town Hill Baptist Church in Muncie, was elected second vice president. All ran without opposition.

Indiana Baptists approved a new partnership with four International Mission Board workers in the Mexican state of Queretaro.

An update about the partnership Indiana shares with the Florida Baptist Convention noted that 530 Floridians ministered in Indiana during the past year as part of short-term mission work. And 70 Indiana Baptists took part in similar trips to Florida, in addition to the numerous disaster relief workers Indiana sent to help in the aftermath of four hurricanes.

Steve Davis, the SCBI's executive director, delivered a sermon based on Luke 19:10, "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost."

"If it's important to Jesus, it should be important to us," he said.

Davis challenged pastors and church leaders to commit to be part of the "Leading 'em In" emphasis in 2005 by agreeing to ask God to give them the opportunity to lead at least one person to faith in Christ during the next year.

"The church never rises above her leadership," he said.

Charles Sullivan, who preceded Davis as executive director, preached about "The Mission of the Church," based on Mark 16:15. Sullivan said Jesus had one agenda, and that was to go. The church's command is then to go because it is the obligation of the saved. He said each believer is called to go reach the lost regardless of the level of difficulty and regardless of the cost.

"Go even if you have to go alone," he said. "Go even if it is at a great cost."

Next year's meeting will be Oct. 24-25 at the Horizon Convention Center in Muncie.


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