Ind. Baptists urged to reach state's 7M people

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (BP) -- Indiana Baptist leader Cecil Seagle challenged messengers to the 54th annual meeting to reach the estimated 85 percent of Indianans who have no relationship with Jesus.

Seagle, executive director of the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana, told messengers to avoid the trap that says, "We live in the Midwest and it's a hard place to take the Gospel." To accept such a perspective denies the power of Jesus to change lives, Seagle said during the Oct. 14-15 meeting at Waynedale Baptist Church in Fort Wayne, Ind.

Preaching on the meeting's theme of "Sent," Seagle encouraged messengers to reach Indiana's population of 7 million people, noting that one-fifth of SCBI churches recorded no baptisms in the past year.

Seagle posed several questions regarding Christian maturity and brotherly love:

--"Are we able to come to the altar and stop judging others and allow Him to penetrate deep into our own life?"

--"Is there any unreconciled strife among us? If there is bitterness or issues among us, it needs to be reconciled."

--"How much is pride an issue for you?"

He asked messengers to seek revival in Indiana through prayer and dependence on the Holy Spirit.

Messengers approved a 2013 budget of $4,303,221, slightly less than the 2012 amount of $4.33 million, and lowered its Cooperative Program gifts to Southern Baptist national and international missions and ministries from 38.5 percent this year to 37.5 percent in 2013.

Of the $2,687,266 the SCBI expects to receive next year in CP gifts from its churches, $1,679,542 will go state convention mission and ministry, $931,725 to national/international SBC causes, and $76,000 to Guidestone to assist with pastor annuities.

Newly elected SCBI officers are president, Randy Forsythe, pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Portage; first vice president, Dave Trimble, pastor of First Baptist Church in New Haven; and second vice president, Bob Parnell, pastor of Black Oak Baptist Church in Gary.

In addition to Seagle, speakers included Warren Haynes, a missionary with the Northwest Baptist Association, and former SCBI pastor Rich Fleming and his wife Jodi who now serve in Mexico with the International Mission Board.

The SCBI's 2013 annual meeting will be Oct. 14-15 at Northside Baptist Church in Indianapolis.


Steve McNeil is communications team leader for the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana.