Mich. Baptists cope with ailing economy

GARDEN CITY, Mich. (BP)--Messengers to the 51st annual meeting of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan in Garden City reduced their overall budget by more than $100,000 in light of the ailing auto industry, which has impacted their state particularly.

Merriman Road Baptist Church hosted more than 330 messengers and guests for the meeting Oct. 28-30.

Messages were brought from outgoing convention president Herb Harbaugh; Jim Nelson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Swartz Creek and the convention preacher; executive director Michael Collins; Rick Duncan, pastor of Cuyahoga Valley Church in Broadview Heights, Ohio; Ken Weathersby, a senior evangelism strategist at the North American Mission Board; and Jake Roudkovski, assistant professor of evangelism at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

During the partnership report, Scotty Goldman, an associate in the global missions office at the Alabama Baptist State Convention, presented a gift of $25,000 toward the general fund to offset a convention deficit brought on by the downturn in the Michigan economy. Alabama and Michigan are in the second year of their partnership.

Michigan Baptists also are in partnership with Niger, West Africa. This is the third year of that partnership, and missionaries from the region attended the meeting to thank the BSCM for its support.

Ken Render, pastor of Lakeside Church in St. Clair Shores, was elected president; Bob Carpenter, pastor of Cedar Street Church in Holt, first vice president; Roscoe Belton, pastor of Middlebelt Baptist Church in Inkster, second vice president; James Jones, pastor of First Baptist Church in Trenton, recording secretary; and Sharon Fishell, a member of Roscommon (Mich.) Baptist Church, assistant recording secretary. All officers ran unopposed.

Messengers adopted a 2009 budget of $3,389,274, a decrease of $102,664 from the current budget. Anticipated Cooperative Program giving by Michigan churches of $1,612,764 will continue to be allocated 69.5 percent for in-state ministries and 30.5 percent for SBC national and international missions and ministries.

One resolution expressed appreciation for the host church, officers and state convention staff, and another recognized Marilyn Hopkins as she retires following 23 years of service to the convention.

Michigan Baptists pronounced strong support of God's Plan for Sharing, a new evangelism initiative developed by the North American Mission Board, and a fourth resolution on regenerate church membership and church member restoration urged churches to "maintain accurate membership rolls for the purpose of fostering ministry and accountability" and to lovingly correct "wayward church members."

Next year's annual meeting will be Oct. 27-29 at Eastgate Baptist Church in Burton.


Julie Scheving is an assistant to the editor at the Baptist State Convention of Michigan.

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