Nevada Baptists again break records
LAS VEGAS (BP) -- Records were shattered again this year at what was the 41st annual meeting of the Nevada Baptist Convention (NBC).
"Don't miss when God is up to something," guest speaker Richard Blackaby told messengers and guests. "It's obvious God is at work in Nevada." President of Blackaby Ministries International and eldest son of Southern Baptist statesman Henry Blackaby, Richard Blackaby brought two messages and led two breakout sessions.
During the Oct. 14-15 event, a 14-person collective of worship leaders from several Nevada churches engaged the 200 or more in attendance in each of two evening services with praise, gratitude and exultation.
"We are Nevada Baptists! If God wanted someone else in Nevada, He would have called them," Executive Director Kevin White told messengers and guests in his opening remarks that also spoke of the unity and camaraderie in the state convention. "We're in this together, fit together as it pleases Him."
Cirincione was unopposed and elected unanimously, as was vice president Tim Royal, pastor of The Bridge Baptist Church in Spring Creek. Royal also was elected to his second, one-year term.
Nevada, expected to end this year with the seventh straight year of income more than budget projections, adopted a $1,569,381 budget for 2020, an increase of $47,041 over last year. This includes $1,223,061 from Nevada churches, $280,000 from the North American Mission Board, $65,000 from LifeWay Christian Resources and $1,320 in "other" income.
The NBC plans for the fifth year to forward 50 percent of offerings from Nevada churches -- or $611,531 -- in 2020 to missions through the Cooperative Program. Income from churches this year to date is about 6 percent more than was budgeted, White announced.
In another historical first, the 2020 budget includes a line item for church planting.
"If we're going to make an impact for Jesus Christ, it needs to start in our own churches," White said in his opening remarks. "It's about God calling us as Nevadans to reach every person we can with the Gospel. That's our biblical mandate. The call is for all of us to plant churches."
The state convention in October launched an advertising campaign on Facebook, Instagram and other social media sites called "Plant Nevada" to engage people who might be interested in planting a church in Nevada, and people who might want to be part of a support team for a church plant in Nevada.
"We're so grateful for NAMB and their partnership with Nevada to plant churches," White said. "At the same time, we feel a strong call for Nevada churches to rise up and discover places to plant churches, and planters to lead them."
Messengers and guests heard reports from the International Mission Board, NAMB, the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee and organizations that offered exhibits in the church foyer for messengers and guests.
"Thank you for your partnership in the Gospel," Ashley Clayton, SBC EC vice president for the Cooperative Program and stewardship, told the NBC. "It [giving to God's work] starts with families and churches, and by the end of this year -- over your 41-year history -- you will have given over $30 million to missions through the Cooperative Program. Thank you for your commitment to the Gospel and to this convention."
Baptisms in Nevada were up by 15.3 percent, compared with a 3.02 percent decline nationally, reported Paul Harwood, NBC's director of revitalization and evangelism. Church attendance increased by 19.6 percent -- about 3,500 people -- compared with a reported 0.43 percent decline nationally.
Six churches -- four in Las Vegas and two in Reno -- were added to NBC at the annual meeting, reported Ryan Jones, state director of missions. Two were church plants formed in the last year. Two additional church plants also were started since last October. Five men -- four in Las Vegas and one in Reno -- have become church planting apprentices.
Three apprentices are set to become church planters by December, Jones said. Among other examples of a forward-moving momentum, seven churches in Nevada have plans to start with the Multiplication Pipeline "to help multiply leaders in their churches," Jones continued.
"As long as there remain regions of our state that have the church ratio of 20,000 people per church, it shows the great need to see more churches planted," White said. "Let us grow in determination to seek out and raise up planters in our churches.
"God knows our need for planters and will be faithful to provide those planters if we will join Him in the call the make disciples," White continued in his executive director's report. "I believe God wants to light up Nevada brighter than all the Las Vegas strip with the light of the world for Jesus Christ."
The first of three resolutions expressed "deep appreciation to Shadow Hills Church and Pastor Brett Capaci for their overflowing hospitality and labor of love."
Child safety and sexual abuse were covered in the second resolution, which encouraged partnership with Ministry Safe for training of children's workers. The resolution also affirmed that for "any individual found violating the high scriptural and moral standards of the churches of the Nevada Baptist Convention," repentance should be sought, as well as due process under the law "for the glory of God and not to bring a reproach to Christ."
The third resolution was greeted with applause by messengers: "Let us put away every form of racism and discrimination and seek racial diversity in our churches."
The 2020 annual meeting of the Nevada Baptist Convention is set for Oct. 19-20 at South Reno Baptist Church.