By Allen Palmeri
RAYTOWN—Messengers approved a smaller budget and re-elected a president/moderator for the first time in 34 years as the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) gathered at First Baptist Church here for its 175th annual meeting Oct. 26-28.
A $15.05 million budget with an alternative giving plan was approved for 2010. The budget, which passed with opposition, is down 9.2 percent from the 2009 budget of $16.3 million but consistent with the amount that is being collected this year.
Bruce McCoy, pastor, Canaan Baptist Church, St. Louis, was re-elected president Oct. 27. He defeated Jody Shelenhamer, layman, First Baptist Church, Bolivar, 654-205. McCoy is the first MBC president to ever be re-elected and the first leader to achieve that distinction since Hugh Wamble was re-elected moderator in the 1975 Cape Girardeau annual meeting.
“I pray we make a difference for the cause of Christ,” McCoy said.
Attendance was up from last year’s annual meeting in St. Louis. There were 1,200 messengers and 222 visitors for a total of 1,422 people. Most notably, the number of participating churches rose 11.6 percent from 436 to 505.
“Beginning with the Listening Sessions earlier this year, and through promotional materials coming from our MBC Communications office, we have been encouraging Missouri Baptists to come the convention, voice their concerns and vote their convictions,” said MBC Executive Director David Tolliver. “I am thrilled that they did. I continue to pray for the day when those who participate in our annual meetings and do the business of our convention are a true, representative cross section of who we are as Missouri Baptists.”
A special installation service for Tolliver as executive director on Oct. 26 preceded his address that evening (see story, p. 10). Tolliver became executive director Feb. 3 after serving nearly 22 months in an interim capacity. The installation concluded with his pastor, Monte Shinkle, of Concord Baptist Church in Jefferson City, praying over him.
“Father, may he be a Missourian in whom there is no guile,” Shinkle prayed.
Tolliver preached his vision statement for Missouri Baptists, that they would be a people who are spiritually healthy Christians, coming together in healthy churches, going to an unhealthy world with the healing Gospel of Jesus Christ. He also introduced messengers to the 2010 MBC theme of “Moving Forward—In Christ—For Health—On Mission.”
Missouri Baptists are looking to a new year when a new logo with Cooperative Program colors will brand them as “strategic mission partners.” A bold new strategy was unveiled Oct. 27. It will take Missourians on Acts 1:8 adventures that will carry the Gospel to Northern Illinois, Northern Ontario Canada, El Salvador, and West Africa. Three of the four partnerships are new; only El Salvador is a renewal.
Messengers approved a new partnership with the Western Gateway Cluster of the Sub-Saharan African Affinity Group (Senegal, Gambia, Mali, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Cape Verde) starting in January for three years with an option to add two more years as the partnership progresses. A five-year partnership with the Canadian National Baptist Convention starting Jan. 1 was also approved. In the United States, the MBC will be entering into a partnership with the Associations of Northern Illinois starting in January for three years with an option to continue for two more years. Also, messengers reaffirmed their partnership with El Salvador through Dec. 31, 2011 (see stories, pp. 8-9).
The MBC, in keeping with recent tradition, increased the budget amount designated for Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) causes. It rose from 36.5 percent in 2009 to 36.75 percent for 2010. In addition, messengers approved spending the first three-fourths of one percent of the 2010 budget for Cooperative Program missions education and promotion.
McCoy’s historic re-election led to another convention first. All four officers were re-elected.
John Marshall, pastor, Second Baptist Church, Springfield, was re-elected first vice president. He defeated Jesse Cass, pastor, Jamesport Baptist Church, Coffey, 324-202.
Mitch Jackson, pastor, Miner Baptist Church, Sikeston, was re-elected second vice president. He defeated Danny Decker, pastor, First Baptist Church, Warsaw, 281-226.
Jamie Hitt, laity, First Baptist Church, Winfield, was re-elected as recording secretary without opposition. The last time the MBC had an uncontested race was 2006, when McCoy was part of a slate that ran unopposed.
The number of candidates running for office was down considerably from the 13 who ran last year at St. Louis; only seven ran at Raytown.
Should McCoy, Marshall and Jackson finish their terms, they will have served a total of 11 years in office. Jackson and Hitt are on record saying they will not run again. McCoy is termed out, but Marshall is on record saying he plans on running for president the next two years.
In his president’s address, McCoy preached that learning how to convince, rebuke and exhort at the proper time is the difference between a life of regret and a life of reward (see story, p. 10).
Featured speakers at the convention included: Paige Patterson, president, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Ft. Worth, Texas (see story, p. 11; Chuck Kelley, president, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (see story, p. 11); and Rick Hedger, partnership missions specialist, MBC (see story, p. 8).
Only two resolutions were submitted and recommended for adoption by the Resolutions Committee; both passed.
The first was the customary courtesy resolution to express appreciation to local officials and others who helped make the convention possible. The second, by Paul Purvis, messenger, First Baptist Church, Forsyth, pledged prayer support for the work of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force in the SBC.
The 2010 budget sets a goal of $4 million for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions as well as a $2 million goal for the Annie Armstrong Offering for North American Missions and $300,000 for the World Hunger Offering.
A special offering Oct. 27 for partnership missions yielded $4,402.
Micah Fries, pastor, Frederick Boulevard Baptist Church, St. Joseph, delivered the convention sermon (see story, p. 14). Randy Johnson, pastor, Calvary Baptist Church, Republic, was selected to preach the 2010 convention sermon, with Aaron Weibel, pastor, New Site Baptist Church, Monett, chosen as the alternate.
Messengers also reaffirmed their commitment by any and all means, including the legal process, to do what is right and pleasing in the sight of the Lord as they pursue a just recovery of five breakaway agencies.
Constitutional changes regarding the percentage of messengers allowed per church and the filling of vacancies among officers were approved (see story, p. 15).
For the third consecutive year, the MBC meeting was preceded by a Solemn Assembly where people could pray and focus on repentance and unity. A total of 50 participated Oct. 25 at First Raytown (see story, p. 3).
Messengers approved the Hyatt Regency Crown Center in Kansas City as the site of the 2013 annual meeting of the MBC Oct. 28-30. Next year’s annual meeting will be Oct. 25-27 at the University Plaza Convention Center in Springfield. In 2011 the annual meeting will be held Oct. 30-Nov. 2 at Tan-Tar-A, a resort in Osage Beach, and in 2012 the gathering will be Oct. 29-31 in St. Louis at the Millennium Hotel.
An amendment to change the 2013 annual meeting to Cape Girardeau failed.