Sanctity of Human Life Sunday is fast approaching and we have some wonderful tools to help the Body of Christ celebrate God’s gift of life and to commemorate the many lives lost to abortion, and to renew our commitment to protecting human life at every stage.In preparation, today I just reread President Ronald Reagan’s proclamation he issued on January 22, 1984 making it the first National Sanctity of Human Life Day. (January 22, 1973, was the day the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion-on-demand in all 50 states.)
It once again fired me up to keep sharing the message that “life is valuable” and to keep up the good work of saving and changing lives with the love of Christ.
If you would like to celebrate Sanctity of Human Life Sunday in your church you can download bulletin inserts HERE. (Churches usually recognize the third Sunday in January as Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, but you can use this bulletin insert at any time.)
Check out this amazing video that highlights the life-saving work that Informed Choices is able to do because of support from you and church. You can download the video HERE.
Also if you would like to have someone from the Informed Choices staff come and talk to a Sunday school class or do a missions update about the work we do, we love to share, just ask!
Thank you for all your support!
Informed Choice is a recipient of an Iowa Ministry Fund Grant for 2016-2017.
By Jon Olsen, BCI Communications Coordinator
Messengers and guests from across Iowa met on November 5th, 2016 for the 21st annual meeting of the Baptist Convention of Iowa(BCI). 142 messengers from 57 churches were seated for the meeting following a recommendation and report from Roger Vester of the Credentials Committee. Pastor Darin Ulmer and his wife Sarah, from Community Baptist Church of Marion provided worship music throughout the meeting.
Trevin Wax, Bible and Reference Publisher for LifeWay Christian Resources, was the guest speaker for the Annual Meeting, speaking from 1st Peter 2:11-17 about what it means to live as God’s Kingdom People in our secular world.
Executive Director Tim Lubinus shared an update on Church Planting stating that the BCI partnered with six new church starts in 2016, and that they have a goal of planting ten additional churches in 2017. The BCI and NAMB have entered a partnership with four Iowa church planting churches to develop, place, and support one new church start a year. These churches are Redeemer Church in Cedar Rapids, First Family Church in Ankeny, New Heights Church in Indianola, and Cornerstone Church in Ames. Soon after starting the program, Cornerstone Church began partnering directly with NAMB to focus beyond Iowa to start churches and collegiate ministries in university cities in the Midwest.
The six new church starts in 2016 were:
Church planters Andy Norris, Noel Gandy, Coel Deike, and Cody Hinton participated in a Church Planting Panel, where they discussed the joys and challenges of planting churches in the cities, college campuses and rural towns of Iowa.
Iowa Ministry Fund
In order to better reach our state for Christ, to help the hurting, and to provide more opportunities for service, the Baptist Convention of Iowa established the Iowa Ministry Fund. This fund seeks to support organizations and ministries that offer God’s mercy, love, and truth to those who are most venerable across our state. Some of these ministries help population groups among us that require more attention and skills than our church members or even churches can normally provide.
Messengers approved a budget which allocates $100,000 to the Iowa Missions Fund consisting of 10% of BCI Cooperative Program receipts and 50% of the Iowa Missions Offering with the balance to be made up from reserves and foundation investments.
The Iowa Missions Fund will distribute $10,000 to the best ministry in ten ministry categories in 2017. For more information about the Iowa Ministry Fund go to bciowa.org/iowa-ministry-fund.
Budget, 50/50 CP Split
Messengers voted to continue to send 50% of Cooperative Program receipts to the Southern Baptist Convention for support of world missions through the International Mission Board and North American Mission Board, support of Southern Baptist Seminaries, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, and other SBC ministries.
Messengers approved a 2017 budget during the meeting of $1.64 million dollars, anticipating a 1% increase in Cooperative Program giving by Iowa churches to $625,000.
Lubinus noted the transition of the BCI to a mobile office. He stated that the new mobile structure has allowed the Convention to redirect administrative costs towards ministry uses and allows BCI staff to be more available to support churches and church planters around the state.
John Shaull, BCI Pastor/Church Support was honored for his sixteen years of service. John has been one of the longest serving BCI staff and is well known and appreciated by pastors in central Iowa and beyond. John has announced that he will retire from the BCI at the end of the year. Tim Lubinus thanked John for his many years of service saying, “We are grateful to God that John has such a legacy of service with BCI churches.”
BCI President Ken Livingston gave the annual sermon speaking from Ephesians 5:18-19, exhorting the messengers and guests to live “Under the Influence” of the Holy Spirt, rather than under worldly influences.
Officers elected at the annual meeting were President Robert Knight, pastor of New Birth Baptist Church, Ames; Vice President Brandon Barker, pastor of Westwind Church, Waukee; 2nd Vice President Jack Owens, Stonebridge Church, Boone; and Secretary Jerome Risting, Temple Baptist Church, Mason City.
Pastor Robert Knight’s Acceptance Speech and Closing Prayer
The Baptist Convention of Iowa has partnered with Hispanic Church Planters Gilmer Mauricio and Arnaldo Achucarro, adding them as BCI Staff this year to support Hispanic pastors and churches in the state and to develop additional leaders. The first Hispanic Conference for Pastors and Leaders was held prior to the BCI Annual Meeting with pastor Luis Manuel Mendoza and nearly 30 individuals in attendance. Achucarro stated that he is honored to serve as part of the BCI staff to help develop more Hispanic leaders and church planters for our state. He also added his thanks to pastor Luis Manuel Mendoza for the challenging sermons.
Over 130 Iowa pastors, pastoral staff and their spouses gathered for a banquet Friday night prior to the Annual Meeting for a time of fellowship and worship. Trevin Wax spoke during the banquet addressing the challenges and opportunities facing the evangelical church today.
The 2017 Annual Meeting of the Baptist Convention of Iowa will be held on November 4
Check out these reports from the 2016 BCI Annual Meeting
By Tim Lubinus, BCI Executive Director/Treasurer
2016 was another strong year for the Baptist Convention of Iowa (BCI). We partnered to start six new churches in Iowa and helped start another in Columbia, Missouri. We also welcomed three additional churches to the BCI. For the second year in a row, the BCI was a leader for percentage increase in Cooperative Program giving among state conventions in the SBC, increasing 36% for the year ending September 30, 2016.
Our primary areas of ministry are church starting, church development, and community transformation. Each of these has a full report in this document.
The church starting report is below, but here I’ll mention that in cooperation with the North American Mission Board (NAMB) we created new staff position in Iowa that is being multiplied in other state conventions: the church based church planting catalyst. We have observed that healthy churches plant healthy churches and want to work with and through local churches. To get started, we selected four BCI affiliated churches that have recently started a church and partnered with them to start another church each year. The churches are Redeemer Church in Cedar Rapids, First Family Church in Ankeny, New Heights Church in Indianola, and Cornerstone Church in Ames. Soon after starting the program, Cornerstone Church began partnering directly with NAMB to focus beyond Iowa to start churches and collegiate ministries in university cities in the Midwest. Shane Kelley is on staff with the BCI to coordinate leadership development. Chase Abner coordinates collegiate ministry.
Gilmer Mauricio and Arnaldo Achucarro began work with the BCI this year to support Hispanic pastors and churches in the state and to develop additional leaders. They have hosted a number of events and we are looking forward to even stronger ministry among Hispanics in Iowa in the future.
To strengthen churches, Chris McRae, Ed Gregory, and John Shaull have been tireless this year in meeting with churches and pastors to support, encourage and pray for these churches. They are also working hard to develop associational structures so that churches and pastors near one another can connect for encouragement and shared ministry. This year we especially want to thank and honor John Shaull for sixteen years of service and fifteen years as pastor in Winterset. John has been one of the longest serving BCI staff and is well known and appreciated by pastors in central Iowa and beyond. We are grateful to God that John has such a legacy of service with BCI churches.
In addition, we’re excited that we’ve begun funding the best organization in each of ten categories through the Iowa Ministry Fund. The Foundation Committee uses criteria like doctrinal alignment, years of proven effectiveness, statewide impact, broad ministry scope, connection with local churches, evangelism and discipleship emphasis, and desire to partner with the Baptist Convention of Iowa churches to select the ministries. We intend to give an additional ten percent of our Cooperative Program income and half of the Iowa Mission Offering to the Iowa Ministry Fund each year. More information is in the Foundation Committee Report below.
The Friendship Baptist Center’s directors Jon and Mindy Jamison began their transition to become an independent ministry. The Center is still loved and strongly supported by the BCI, but we believe will be more effective with its own board of local supporting churches.
With the resignation of Frank McCrary, the BCI disaster relief ministry’s leadership is transitioning to a partnership with Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention (WMBC). Dave and Jeanne Wedekind will direct the disaster relief ministry for both BCI and WMBC.
“Under the hood” we made a number of other structural changes in the BCI including transitioning to a mobile office. This included closing the sale of our office building in Urbandale in August and moving two full-time administrative positions to part-time positions. Sandy Guthrie resigned in January, Bobbie Thies transitioned to a part-time contract position, and Mandy Stenberg joined our staff in August as ministry assistant. Jon Olsen has done a great job with communications and the newsletter and Joni Wilkens continues to serve as WMU coordinator.
In all, we had a very encouraging year and look forward to 2017. We are grateful to be in partnership with nearly 15,000 Iowans who gather each week in BCI affiliated churches to honor Jesus and to make His name known in our state.
By Tim Lubinus, BCI Executive Director/Treasurer
Last Saturday our executive board met and finished the final annual review of Baptist Convention of Iowa’s three major ministry areas: Church Starting, Church Support, Community Transformation. We are due for a mid-year update: six months after our annual meeting and six months before our annual meeting. Much has happened. I am grateful to our president, Ken Livingston and the full executive board for their leadership and service. Below are some examples:
I’d say we’ve had a good start to this year. I’m looking forward to seeing what God does during the second half!
As always, we welcome your input, suggestions, and questions. Contact me directly at TLubinus@BCIowa.org.
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Celebrating with #NewHeights Church today. Worshipping on newly purchased land, soon to start to build. Also baptisms today! @huskergeoff