SBCV welcomes new executive director

ROANOKE, Va. (BP)--The 12th annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia Nov. 10-11 drew 950 messengers and 250 guests to First Baptist Church in Roanoke, where messengers adopted a $9.5 million budget, welcomed 25 new churches, celebrated an 8 percent increase in baptisms and recognized their outgoing and incoming executive director-treasurers.

Jeff Ginn, former pastor of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Colonial Heights, Va., presided over his first annual meeting as executive director-treasurer having succeeded Doyle Chauncey, who held the position for 12 years and retired from the post last year when Ginn took office.

Messengers passed a resolution of appreciation for Chauncey's leadership in his former position. Chauncey will remain president of the SBCV Foundation and Church Ministry Services until May 31.

"Doyle has led us with absolute integrity and remarkable humility," Ginn told Baptist Press. "Much of the favor of God that has rested on the SBCV can be traced to his exemplary leadership."

Messengers unanimously reelected Tim Hight, pastor of Main Street Baptist Church in Christiansburg, president, and Michael Palmer, pastor of Green Ridge Baptist Church in Roanoke, vice president. Also elected unanimously were Brian Autry, pastor of Parkway Baptist Church in Moseley, second vice president, and Michael Smith, pastor of Norview Baptist Church in Norfolk, secretary.

The meeting's theme, "Pushing Back the Darkness through Prayer," was based on Isaiah 56:7, which says, "Even those I will bring to My holy mountain and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar; For My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples."

Employing the word "pray" as an acronym -- Praise, Repent, Ask, Yield -- messengers observed specific times of corporate and small group prayer aided by prayer cards, prayer stations and a designated prayer room.

The meeting featured theme-specific sermons from Junior Hill, a Southern Baptist evangelist from Hartselle, Ala.; John Avant, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in West Monroe, La.; Hight and Ginn.

Contemporary Christian quintet This Hope and soloist Kendra Penn were among the musical guests at the meeting which also featured the Liberty University Center for Worship Choir, The Sounds of Liberty and the combined choirs of First Baptist Roanoke and Main Street Baptist.

Having exceeded its previous year's baptism rate by 8 percent, the SBCV received from the North American Mission Board one of four national awards for increased baptisms. In similar action, the SBCV presented two of its first-ever Pentecost Awards to Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg and Edward Avenue Baptist Church in Waynesboro as each church led the state with the most baptisms and the most per capita, respectively.

The SBCV also welcomed 25 churches into its fold, bringing its total church count to 547.

Emphasizing his support for all SBCV-affiliated churches, Ginn introduced what he called the "3M strategy" -- a three-pronged ministry emphasis: multiplying, maturing and mobilizing churches.

"We exist because of the local church," Ginn said. "For that reason, our objectives center on the local church. We have a passion for multiplying churches, maturing churches and mobilizing churches. We believe that ultimately is God's passion for His Church."

Messengers adopted a 2009 budget of $9.5 million in Cooperative Program receipts from SBCV-affiliated churches. The budget represents a 2.1 increase over the current budget and will continue to be split 50/50 between SBCV statewide ministries and SBC national and international missions and ministries.

Presenting two of its inaugural Macedonia Awards for Cooperative Program Giving, the SBCV recognized First Baptist Roanoke and Matoaca (Va.) Baptist Church, respectively, as churches with the highest total and per capita CP giving.

Highlighting the SBCV's founding commitment to missions and church planting, Ginn, along with Jim Hamilton, executive director of the Dakota Baptist Convention, signed a partnership agreement for the purpose of ministry strategy and church planting.

In other action, messengers:

-- bestowed Eagle Awards upon 36 sponsoring churches for their efforts in church planting;

-- honored Wayne and Ken Nienke with a first-ever father/son Nehemiah Award for being pioneers in founding the SBCV; and,

-- unanimously passed additional resolutions regarding prayer for elected officials in the U.S. government, appreciation for those in the U.S. military and appreciation for the host church, First Baptist Roanoke.

Next year's annual meeting will be Nov. 8-10 at a yet-to-be-determined location.


Norm Miller is a freelance writer based in Richmond, Va.

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