WRAP-UP: SBCV passes 500 mark

HAMPTON, Va., (BP)--The annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia convened Nov. 12-13 in Hampton, Va., drawing nearly 1,200 people who celebrated the convention's surpassing the 500 mark in total churches.

"I recall the days when we had around 50 churches," SBCV Executive Director-Treasurer Doyle Chauncey told Baptist Press. "In little more than 10 years, God has added 10 times that number.

"All credit goes to the Lord for this, but I must add my thanks to all the Southern Baptists in Virginia who had faith in us and have joined with us in trying to reach our state with the Gospel of Jesus Christ," Chauncey said. "I also need to thank our church planters who work hard in what are sometimes challenging circumstances. They truly are on the front lines of the SBCV's work in Virginia."

In a later business session, messengers admitted 21 churches into affiliation, bringing the 11-year-old convention's total churches to 503, with various others still pending. Within a few weeks, the total of 511 is anticipated.

Chauncey noted for messengers his retirement plans he had previously shared with the SBCV's executive board last May. Though he has yet to set an exact date of retirement, Chauncey said the seven-member search committee is receiving resumes for a person to be employed as executive director-treasurer elect.

Chauncey told Baptist Press his "departure will be bittersweet. Some leaders might be tempted to think about how many years they gave to a ministry, but for me it's more about how much the SBCV has given to me. While this ministry hasn't really been easy, it's been one of the most rewarding in all my life.

"Starting retirement will be nothing like starting a new state convention founded on the inerrancy of Scripture and the urgency of the Great Commission. Who wants to leave a job like that?" he said. "On the other hand, I'm looking forward to a different set of responsibilities which includes more time with my family and, God-willing, more time to preach in some of the greatest churches on the planet."

Messengers adopted a 2008 budget of $10 million which anticipates $9.3 million in Cooperative Program receipts from SBCV-affiliated churches. The SBCV also anticipates an additional $625,000 from the North American Mission Board, and $75,000 from LifeWay Christian Resources. The budget represents a 6.9 percent increase over the current budget and will be split 50/50 between SBCV statewide ministries and SBC national and international missions and ministries.

By acclamation messengers elected all convention officers: Tim Height, pastor of Main Street Baptist in Christiansburg, president; Mike Palmer, pastor of Green Ridge Baptist Church in Roanoke, first vice president; Rick Caldwell, pastor of Concord Baptist Church in Concord, second vice president; and Allen McCullough, pastor of First Baptist Church in Damascus, secretary.

The convention theme, "Pushing Back the Darkness," was reflected in sermons from keynote speakers, including O.S. Hawkins, president of Guidestone Financial Resources in Dallas; Mac Brunson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla.; Ergun Caner, president of Liberty Theological Seminary in Lynchburg, Va.; and Tom Elliff, senior vice president for spiritual nurture and church relations at the International Mission Board in Richmond, Va.

The SBCV's 2008 annual meeting will be Nov. 10-11. However, the site is yet to be determined.


Compiled by Norm Miller, a freelance writer in Richmond, Va.

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