'Jesus is worth it,' Greear tells W.Va. Baptists
"If you're really serious about following Jesus, obedience to him is going to take you 180 degrees opposite of the direction you want to go," Greear said, "and in that moment the only thing that will compel you forward is the belief that Jesus is worth it!"
Greear, a West Virginia native and current pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., focused on four convictions of people who transform the world during the meeting, held Nov. 1-2 at Fairlawn Baptist Church in Parkersburg, W.Va. At the preceding pastors' conference, he fielded questions from an audience of 125 pastors at a question and answer dinner.
We are Going
Under the theme "We Are Going," the West Virginia Convention of Southern Baptists (WVCSB) called their 48th annual meeting to order, reminding messengers that God has called and shaped all believers to leverage their lives for the Great Commission. The question is not a matter of if they are going, but rather where they are going, the theme emphasized.
The attendance of 190 messengers and 66 guests marked a continued growth in WVCSB annual meeting participation. Both the meeting and pastors' conference shared the same theme, inspired by John 17:18, "As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world" (ESV).
State Executive Director-Treasurer Bill Henard encouraged fellow attendees.
"I pray folks throughout our convention will be so saturated with the Gospel," he said, "they will burn for the mission of God in their families, in their towns, in West Virginia and around the world."
Henard presented a four-year strengthening plan focused on providing necessary training and conferencing for WVCSB pastors.
"It's not just enough to offer a conference schedule. Those conferences and training opportunities must have specific purposes in mind and processes for discipleship," he said, "and be strategic to our mission to strengthen and send churches to make Jesus known in and through West Virginia."
A new missions conference, Sent, was unveiled for spring 2019 that will include guest speaker Vance Pitman, pastor of Hope Church in Las Vegas and a North American Mission Board national mobilizer.
Messengers approved a 2019 budget totaling $2,433,274, representing an increase of 2.13 percent over the 2018 budget, and a 0.5 percent increase in the amount allocated to the Southern Baptist Convention Cooperative Program.
The new budget allocates a total of 41.5 percent to SBC ministries and missions. Anticipated funding sources include $1,010,445 from NAMB and $59,992 from LifeWay Christian Resources.
Newly elected officers are president Paul Harris, pastor of Abundant Hope Baptist Church in Barboursville, W.Va.; first vice president Nathan Ertel, student pastor of Old Fields Baptist Church in Old Fields, W.Va.; and second vice president C.J. Adkins, pastor of Westmoreland Baptist Church in Huntington, W.Va. Reelected recording secretary is Jim Messenger, pastor of Faith Baptist Church in West Union, W.Va.
Messengers approved for affiliation six congregations in West Virginia, one in Virginia and one in Ohio. Newly affiliated West Virginia churches are First Baptist Church, Keyser; First Baptist Church, Martinsburg; First Baptist Church of McConnell in Stollings; Grace Baptist Church, Shenandoah Junction; Mountaineer Missionary Baptist Church, Harts, and Salt & Light Southern Baptist Church, Clarksburg. First Baptist Church of Narrows, Va., and First Baptist Church of Steubenville, Ohio, were also added.
Messengers adopted a resolution decrying "the use of violence or force against any person or group on the basis of political persuasion, racial background, gender distinction, sexual orientation, or religious affiliation," and a resolution of thanks to annual meeting host church Fairlawn Baptist.
Among annual meeting and pastors' conference guests were Jimmy Draper, Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee ambassador; Jim Shaddix, professor of preaching at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary; David Duckworth, WVCSB pastors' conference president and pastor of First Baptist Church, Fort Ashby, W.Va.; Todd Hill, WVCSB president and pastor of Grace Baptist Church, Parkersburg, W.Va.; Ryan Navy, pastor of New Heights Church, Huntington, W.Va., and Cledith Campbell, pastor of Altizer Baptist Church, Huntington, W.Va.
Music was led by Summit Worship from Greear's pastorate The Summit Church. Jimmy Draper's wife Carol Ann led the Ministers' Wives Conference, held prior to the annual meeting.
Many messengers and guests acknowledged the effectiveness of the annual meeting and a spirit of unity growing throughout the WVCSB.
"This was the best annual meeting that I have attended in almost 15 years in the WVCSB," said Gary Eller, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in St. Clairsville, Ohio. Ertel echoed the sentiment with, "Best convention I have ever been a part of!"
The WVCSB 2019 annual meeting will be held Nov. 7-8 at the Church at Martinsburg in Martinsburg, W.Va.
Annual meeting sermons and related downloadable items are available at http://wvcsb.org/48.