JEFFERSON CITY – Want to fulfill part of Acts 1:8? Just drive a few miles north.
If the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) approves the partnership in its Oct. 31-Nov. 2 annual meeting, Iowa will become the new “Judea” partnership for MBC churches.
The MBC Executive Board approved the recommendation in its July 12 meeting, which proposes a four-year partnership with the Baptist Convention of Iowa (BCI) beginning Jan. 1, 2012, with the possibility of an extension through Jan. 1, 2020. The plan already has the approval and support of the BCI board of trustees.
“Jimmy Barrentine [the BCI executive director] has said they don’t want MBC money, they want MBC people for partnership,” Rick Hedger, partnership missions specialist for the MBC, told the Executive Board.
The partnership would have its roots in the past while looking toward the realities future. The MBC and BCI had partnership years ago, which led to many Missouri churches planting new work in its neighbor to the north. The partnership would be particularly valuable to Iowa churches as North American Mission Board resources currently in Iowa will soon be allocated toward more populated centers across the U.S. There are currently 106 Southern Baptist churches in seven associations in Iowa. Their state convention staff has 14 employees, includng ministry assistants and five that also serve as directors of missions. The BCI has a goal to reach 200 churches by 2020.
“They’re asking us to re-engage churches and associations that had relationship in the past,” Hedger said.
The MBC staff would also look at ways to partner with the BCI staff on a personal and professional level.
This is not the first time in recent years Missouri Baptists have looked at cooperating with Iowa churches. Two years ago there was some talk of merging the two conventions and becoming a regional entity. This is not that, Hedger told the MBC board.
BRIAN KOONCE/staff writer