NW Baptists welcome 19 churches
Messengers, those elected by convention-affiliated churches to vote on business items, convened Nov. 12-13 in Yakima, Wash., the convention's 66th annual meeting, but the first with new executive director Randy Adams. The two days of inspiration, reports and business -- under the theme of "Forward Together" -- drew more than 400 messengers and visitors.
Elected to serve alongside Jenkins for a one-year term were Bryan Toll, pastor of Smith Rock Community Church in Terrebonne, Ore., as first vice president, and Frank Johnson, pastor of Chestnut Street Baptist Church in Ellensburg, Wash., as second vice president. All three ran unopposed.
The 19 newly-affiliated congregations bring the total number of Northwest Baptist Convention (NWBC) congregations across Oregon, Washington and northern Idaho to more than 450.
The Washington churches approved for affiliation were: Agape Baptist, Renton; All Nations Community, Kirkland; Asian International Bible, Edmonds; One in Christ Baptist, Edmonds; Parkland House Ministries, Spanaway; EagleWing Fellowship, Everett; Fil-Am Christian Fellowship, Bellingham; Global Mission Church of Greater Seattle, Lynwood; Japanese International Baptist, Tacoma; Living Spring Fellowship, Des Moines; Maranata Baptist, Vancouver; New Hope Community, Kennewick; Reliance, Auburn; Sarang Baptist, Renton; The Hallows, Seattle; The Way, Seattle; and Vietnamese Lifeway SBC, Lakewood. Two newly-affiliated churches from Oregon include: Faith & Reason Ministries, Roseburg, and Vietnamese Revival Baptist, Portland.
Speaking twice during the convention, Adams emphasized the importance of sharing the message of Christ with others in a loving way and authenticating it by a willingness to suffer hardship.
"Jesus suffered betrayal and loneliness … because he loved his enemies," Adams said. "If we stand in opposition to our community, we won't have much standing with them. We can talk tools and packets, but that's not nearly as important as the heart. If we are going to reach the Northwest we are going to reach those who despise us."
He noted some churches today try gathering crowds with "a comedian and pretty people," but "the Gospel message is authenticated" through suffering.
"We must have a walk with Jesus that takes us into the power and the suffering, as they come together," said Adams, citing the New Testament letter to the Philippians. "The Lord never called us to anything we can do without Him. You and I have a greater story to tell, a story that deals with every human being on the face of the earth. When our story is authenticated in the suffering of Jesus Christ, I do believe He wants to do so much in and through us. The big thing is the heart -- when the heart is right, we're there."
Next year's $5,177,000 spending plan anticipates $2,785,000 in Cooperative Program gifts from NWBC churches, a $55,000 decrease in CP gifts from the current year's budget. The percent of CP gifts forwarded to the Southern Baptist Convention's Executive Committee for disbursement to overall SBC causes remains at 27 percent. However, the "Northwest Ministries" section of the budget includes another $178,000 in CP gifts for Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary's Pacific Northwest Campus, founded in 1980 to help prevent pastoral leaders from leaving the Northwest for theological education and subsequent local church ministry.
The remainder of CP gifts supports church planting, evangelism, church health, leadership development ministries and administrative support in the Northwest.
While CP gifts make up the largest share of revenue for the convention's 2014 ministry budget, the North American Mission Board provides another $1,864,000 -- an increase of almost $144,000 from the current year's budget -- to further support church planting and evangelism in the Northwest. The partnership funds from NAMB provide 86 percent of the financial support for jointly funded missionaries, with the NWBC providing the remaining 14 percent.
Another $64,000 in support is expected from LifeWay Christian Resources, $132,000 from previous Sylvia Wilson Mission Offering gifts and more than $361,000 from other sources.
In other business, messengers approved a 2014 Sylvia Wilson Mission Offering goal of $110,000 to be split between the convention's church planting efforts and leadership development ministries. It will be the third straight year for those two categories, although the goal is reduced from the $140,000 goals set for 2012 and 2013.
Cameron Crabtree is the editor of Northwest Baptist Witness.