The Annual Meeting of the Baptist Convention of Iowa was held on November 1st and 2nd in Des Moines amidst a renewed spirit of cooperation and purpose. Robert Knight, Chair of the Credentials Committee, reported attendance by 145 messengers representing 48 churches, and 21 guests. The Worship Team from Grand Avenue Baptist Church, Ames led by Chris Johnson, Minister of Worship led in worship throughout the meeting. President Dan Wiersema, Vice President Dan Doolin, and Secretary Jerome Risting led the meeting.
President Dan Wiersema presented the 2013 Program Committee recommendation that the 2014 annual meeting be changed from a two day meeting to a one day meeting to be held November 8, 2014, at the Merle Hay Holiday Inn and Suites in Des Moines. Reasons for this recommendation include a cost savings to the convention, with no loss in meeting time compared to previous year’s schedule, and a hope that more lay leadership and bi-vocational pastors will be able to attend a one day meeting. This recommendation was enthusiastically received by the messengers and was approved by a nearly unanimous vote. The date for the 2015 annual meeting was set for November 7, 2015.
Officers were voted in by acclimation, with Lloyd Eaken, pastor of Fairview Baptist Church in Anamosa being elected as President. Ken Livingston, pastor of First Grace Baptist Church in Sheffield was elected as Vice President. Elected to the position of Second Vice President was Ken Kraft, pastor of New Life Baptist Church in Kingsley. Jerome Risting, member of Temple Baptist Church in Mason City, was re-elected as Secretary.
At the close of the Friday evening session an opportunity was given for messengers to greet Mike and Ginny Roberts and celebrate Mike’s transition from the position of Church Planting Catalyst in the Northeast and Great Rivers associations to the position of Director of Missions for Great Rivers association.
On Saturday, Interim Executive Director Tom Law encouraged the BCI churches to raise their giving to the Cooperative Program by 1% a year for the next three years so that by 2016 the BCI Cooperative Program income will be about $750,000, allowing the Baptist Convention of Iowa to stand on its own as a SBC partner and be Iowa strong.
Law expanded on the concept of Multiplying Disciples, Mutliplying Churches (xDxC) that had been introduced by Church Planting Catalyst Roger Graves early in the meeting, and that had been addressed in a testimony by Calissa (Livingston) Holan, who shared about the ministry opportunities that xDxC has brought about in her life. Law stated that 75 years ago Sunday School was the church’s front door, that thirty years ago the worship service became the church’s front door, and that today the living room is becoming the church’s front door. Law explained that the xDxC discipleship process is a way to develop strong healthy churches, and a means to disciple our own people to be able to disciple others. “xDxC is enabling churches to take ownership of their communities as pastors challenge individuals to reach out to the people in their lives,” Law shared. Roger Graves is excited to train more churches and individuals in the xDxC process. We can look for more opportunities to learn about xDxC in the near future.
Law also thanked WMU Director, Joni Wilkinson for her excitement and enthusiasm in planning and promoting the Iowa Missions Offering. Law and Wilkinson presented a certificate to Pastor Roger Vester, New Life Church, Davenport for the largest single contribution of $2,989.05 to the Iowa Missions Offering in 2012. A certificate was presented to Pastor Andrew Estes, First Baptist Church, Albia for the largest per capita giving to the Iowa Missions Offering in 2012.
Dan Doolin, Chairman of the Executive Director Search Team, gave a progress report on the search for Iowa’s next Executive Director. Committee members include Doolin; Mike Carlson, vice-chairman; Jerome Risting; Bob Stout; Ted Keys; Eugene Guthrie; Chuck Spindler; and alternate John Faulkner. The team has received and reviewed many resumes and is seeking to hear God’s voice during this process. Doolin stated that the Search Team is moving into the next phase of the process by identifying the top candidates and beginning to interview those candidates.
The constitutional changes presented at the 2012 Annual meeting were given a second reading and were ratified by a show of ballots. The method of determining messenger representation was changed from numerical and financial to a strictly financial basis. Changes also allow mid-term vacancies to be filled upon recommendation of the Administrative Committee and a two-thirds vote of the Executive Board present and voting. Bylaw changes that were approved included the merger of the Committee on Committees and the Executive Board Nominating Committee into one Nominating Committee, and the elimination of the Baptist State Paper Committee with the creation of a new Media/Digital Team to lead in areas of communication.
Other constitutional changes were submitted for a first reading, including making the position of Second Vice President a convention officer, the elimination of Executive Board standing committees, and a change in nomenclature from “association” to “region” for the election of Executive Board members. These changes were passed by a show of ballots, and will be given a second reading at the 2014 Annual Meeting. The full text of these changes are available at bciowa.org/constitution and were printed in the October edition of the Iowa Baptist.