West Virginia Baptists elect youngest-ever president
MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- Messengers at the 49th annual meeting of the West Virginia Convention of Southern Baptists (WVCSB) elected 26-year-old Mason Ballard, pastor/planter of Resurrection Church in Charleston as 30th convention president.
Casting vision for 2020, Ballard shared, "My hope for the WVCSB is that we'd find unity in our diversity -- that we'd find our unity less in where we are, and more in where we're going. To Kingdom come."
173 messengers and 28 guests attended the meeting held Nov. 7-8 at the Church at Martinsburg in Martinsburg.
The annual meeting and pastors' conference shared the theme, "Multiply," inspired by 2 Corinthians 9:10, "Now the one who provides seed for the sower and bread for food will also provide and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness."
Messengers were reminded God not only desires to multiply faith and surrender in them, but to multiply His Kingdom through them -- more disciples, leaders and churches.
"We have a Savior to glorify," special guest Johnny Hunt charged. "And I encourage you, be faithful with your possessions. Be faithful with the places God would have you to go. Be faithful in helping others to grow. Disciple them."
Hunt, senior vice president of evangelism and leadership at the North American Mission Board (NAMB), spoke at both pastors' conference and annual meeting, as well as a question and answer dinner for lead pastors.
Other annual meeting and pastors' conference speakers included Jeffrey Bingham, dean of the School of Theology and professor of theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; Jeff Canterbury, WVCSB pastors' conference president and pastor of First Baptist Church Hinton, W.Va.; Paul Harris, WVCSB president and pastor of Abundant Hope Baptist Church, Barboursville, W.Va.; and Adam Goodwin, pastor of Huntington Community Church, Huntington, W.Va.
Music was led by Mercy Hill Worship from Mercy Hill Church in Greensboro, N.C. Catherine Renfro from NAMB and Alana Opdahl from Oasis of Hope led the Ministers' Wives Gathering prior to the annual meeting.
WVCSB interim executive director-treasurer Cledith Campbell reported for the first nine months of 2019 W.Va. Southern Baptist churches have given $1,016,128.40 to mission work outside of the state including:
-- $522,680.36 through the Cooperative Program
-- $275,105.54 to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering
-- $11,295.30 to world hunger ministry
-- $204,223.38 to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering
-- $2,823.82 to hunger ministry in North America
Campbell assured messengers that during this transition period before a new executive director is named, the state office directors are "working diligently to set up the new state executive director and our convention for success in the unique opportunities that God is calling us to."
Messengers approved a 2020 budget totaling $2,296,543, representing a decrease of 5.6 percent from the 2019 budget.
The new budget allocates a total of 41.5 percent to the Southern Baptist Convention's Cooperative Program. Anticipated funding sources include $938,994 from NAMB and $59,996 from LifeWay Christian Resources.
Messengers also approved for affiliation New Vision Baptist Church in Berkeley Springs, W.Va., and adopted a resolution thanking the annual meeting host church, Church at Martinsburg.
Newly elected officers are president Mason Ballard, pastor of Resurrection Church in Charleston; first vice president Larry Garrison, pastor of Open Door Baptist Church in Weirton; second vice president Jason Spade, pastor of Fairlawn Baptist Church in Parkersburg; and recording secretary Chuck Morrow, associational administrator for the Upper Ohio Valley Baptist Association.
The WVCSB 2020 annual meeting and 50th anniversary celebration will be Nov. 5-6 at Good Shepherd Baptist Church in Scott Depot, W.Va. Kevin Ezell, NAMB president and Paul Chitwood, International Mission Board president, will be speaking at this milestone event.
Annual meeting sermons and related downloadable items are available at http://wvcsb.org/49.