WRAP-UP: Ill. Baptists mark anniversary

SPRINGFIELD, Ill., (BP)--The Illinois Baptist State Association celebrated the association's centennial anniversary Nov. 6-8, increased its percentage of giving to the Cooperative Program and hosted its first International Mission Board appointment service.

Inspirational sermons and music, a spirit of cooperation and special events characterized the meeting.

The Tuesday night session, dedicated to the IBSA's 1907 founding, included a review of association's history, recognition of former IBSA staff members, and a message by Morris H. Chapman, president of the SBC Executive Committee.

During business sessions, 542 registered messengers approved a record missions budget which includes an increase in the percentage of Cooperative Program gifts sent to the Southern Baptist national and international missions and ministries.

Messengers adopted a $6.35 million budget, an increase of 2 percent over the current $5.9 million budget. Currently, IBSA sends 42.25 percent of all CP gifts to SBC causes. In the 2008 budget, that percentage will increase to 43 percent.

Three resolutions were approved unanimously by the messengers. They expressed appreciation for longtime IBSA music and worship director Allen Mashbern, encouraged IBSA churches to protect children against child abuse, and, affirmed support of the IBSA's Second Century Challenge initiative.

IBSA Executive Director Nate Adams said that 111 IBSA churches have committed to the initiative, which aims at using the anniversary celebration as an opportunity to celebrate the past but also look to and plan for the future. IBSA churches have been invited to make prayerful commitments in four areas: sharing Christ, starting churches, sending Christians and sacrificing cooperatively.

Second Century churches have committed to train nearly 3,200 believers to share their faith with nearly 26,000 unbelievers. They also intend to actively engage 90 new church plants and planters and send more than 5,000 Illinois Baptists to the four Acts 1:8 mission fields (local, regional, national and international).

Adams said IBSA staff will begin follow-up with those churches that responded to the challenge to offer help in fulfilling their commitments.

The largest gathering of Illinois Baptists during the week -- an estimated 1,650 messengers and visitors -- packed into Springfield's Prairie Convention Center for an International Mission Board appointment service for 82 new missionaries.

Members of Springfield-area SBC churches carried flags of the nations as missionary candidates filed into the convention center. One of the new missionaries was Illinois native Jarod Juriga, a member of Woodland Baptist Church in Peoria, who will serve in the Pacific Rim.

Chapman, in addressing the Tuesday evening anniversary observance, brought a message from 2 Timothy 4, but started by saying, "I love Illinois. I want to bring you greetings from all Southern Baptists throughout this land on your 100th anniversary. Our love for each other has led us to a spirit of cooperation that the world has not seen before."

Emphasizing the short time each person has to share Christ, Chapman said, "We only have the generation in which we live. Only this instant to leave the mark God wants us to leave.

"What I'm going to say, I have to say now. We're all going to be replaced someday. None of us were here for the founding of the IBSA and none of us will be here for the next 100th anniversary celebration.

"We all live on the shoulders of those who came before us, and I challenge you tonight in the spirit of the Lord, keep on walking and trusting the Lord. When we get discouraged, God won't give up on us."

Kevin Kerr, pastor of First Baptist in Machesney Park, was elected as IBSA president; Doug Munton, pastor of First Baptist Church in O'Fallon, vice president; and Don Bigham, a member of Park Avenue Baptist Church in Mt. Vernon, recording secretary.

Messengers approved on second reading changes to the association's constitution and bylaws to give the IBSA president and vice president a vote on the Foundation and Children's Home boards of trustees.

The constitution and bylaws committee also submitted for first reading a reorganization of the association's constitution and bylaws. Chairman Jim Donahue reported that the proposed document places "similar and related issues in one location … [and] moves away from a separate bylaws which requires only one year to amend." The newly organized document along with explanatory notes was not discussed on first reading but will be discussed and voted on at the 2008 annual meeting.

The credentials committee recommended nine churches for affiliation with IBSA, including four Chicago churches: Chicagoland Community Church, Christ Bible Church, Greater New Testament Church and Practical Word Ministries. Also affiliating with the IBSA were Greater Antioch Baptist Church and Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, both of Rock Island; Grace Fellowship, Decatur; Iglesia Bautista Maranatha, Granite City; and Nauvoo Baptist Church, Nauvoo.

Inspirational music was led by Steve Hamrick and the worship team from Heartland Baptist Church in Alton. Hamrick presently serves as worship leader at Heartland, and Nate Adams announced during the meeting that Hamrick will join the IBSA staff as director of worship and music ministries Dec. 1.

Next year's IBSA annual meeting will be Nov. 12-13 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Springfield.


Martin King is editor of the Illinois Baptist newspaper.

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