HBC is excited to hire Nick Lees as their next Director of Discipleship & Welcome Ministries. Nick and Micaela have 4 daughters and are moving to Grimes, IA from Indiana to join the work of the Gospel there. Nick acquired his MDiv at Faith Bible Seminary in Lafayette and has been serving as Pastor of College Ministries at Faith Church, also in Lafayette. Following HBC’s desire to make disciples throughout Iowa, Nick will be serving at Harvest for 3 years before, Lord-willing, planting a church somewhere within Iowa in the end. We appreciate prayers for God’s direction in this way in the years to come.
By Pastor Willie Campbell
We write to say thank you for the financial gift towards our outreach project. We had an amazing event on November 19th. Through your support, we were able to feed almost 100 people during our “We are God’s Family” dinner and give away turkeys and hams to families in need. I’m most excited that 2 new members who are candidates for baptism gave their life to Christ and joined our church.
I am excited by the work that God is doing for us and through us at the Crystal Cathedral of Faith Southern Baptist Church in Waterloo. We’re a small church with a big heart for God and His people.
Thank you and God bless!
By Pastor Noel Gandy,
October and November in Iowa sees the conversation be dominated by one thing: the harvest. Harvest time is something special because you get to see the hard work that so many have done over the course of the past year pay off. Many who have had scant work or were without now have an abundance of work. Many who placed so much of their resources into the dirt are able to recover and turn a profit. It definitely is a unique experience to behold.
I write to exclaim how the harvest has not only been of corn and beans in Southwest Iowa these last two months. The Lord of the Harvest has blessed and blessed abundantly at Christ Point Baptist Church. Over the course of the past two months, we have had six baptisms. This makes 10 for our yearly total! We’ve had our highest average monthly attendance with successive weeks topping out at 57 and 62 respectively. Lives are being changed. Families have seen their entire family groups accept Christ. It truly is a blessing to be in the middle of where God is working.
I shared an illustration regarding Acts 16 yesterday where we could be a church who’s sign outside reads “All are welcome, come on in,” or a church who places the sign on the inside which states, “You are now entering the mission field.” We certainly want to take the model Paul and others used and actively pursue the lost rather than wait for them to come to us. That’s why projects like Operation Christmas Child are so important. In a time where so many of our own families are hurting financially, it was special to see 13 boxes be brought in to send to those who are in need of the gospel. I’m happy to have partnered with the Gideon ministry these past few weeks to send Bibles to the world. I’m looking forward to our children blessing the patrons of the local nursing homes in December. Those who belong to Christ are called to serve within their capacity. Friends, there is no time to sit on our laurels and wait for the Kingdom to come. There are those in immediate need of the gospel right under our nose if we’ll take time to recognize them.
Thank you for your blessings to see this ministry succeed. Partnerships with like-minded believers truly help us thrive. We certainly need your continued support.
By Mike Carlson
During our recent call out to Liberty, Texas we were able to minister so many people. It seemed like everyone we met said, “Thank you for coming to help, we can’t thank you enough.”
One lady stands out, she lived with her 87-year-old mother who was confined to a wheelchair. I entered her home with the Blue Cap after it had been closed up for over 50 days. The odor and mold made my eyes water. There was mold covering the walls, the ceiling, and the floors; not to mention everything in her home. The Blue Cap from Virginia and the Blue Cap from Minnesota/Wisconsin stood with me and the other Chaplain from Iowa to tell her that her home was a total loss and the best thing would be for her to have it bulldozed down. All of the Disaster Relief workers fought back tears with sad faces.
She said to us don’t be sad for me, God will take care of me. She told us that someone from FEMA had told her to trust the government, but she said to him that she would trust God instead.
Over and over we heard, “Thank you for coming to Texas to help us!” Our God is an awesome God! We had 30 people that came from Virginia, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa to minister people around Liberty, Texas. We came to help, to bring hope, and provide healing.
Mike Carlson is pastor at New Bridge Church in Winterset and the Iowa Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Co-Director.
The 2017 Baptist Convention of Iowa (BCI) Annual Meeting was held on November 4th at Cornerstone Church in Ames. The annual meeting was held in conjunction with a “For the Church” Micro Conference in Partnership with Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary(MBTS). Four hundred participants attended the two-day Conference. The speakers at the “For The Church Conference” included Dr. Jason K. Allen, president of MBTS, Jared Wilson, director of content strategy at MBTS, Jeff Dodge, lead pastor at Cornerstone Church of Ames, and Rechab Gray, teaching pastor at Cottage Grove Church of Des Moines. 111 messengers and 55 Guests from 51 churches participated in the 2017 BCI Annual Meeting.
Tim Lubinus, BCI executive director, reported that worship attendance has increased 14% for the second year in a row at Baptist Convention of Iowa churches, topping 15,000 worshipers each week for the first time.
Two new churches have started so far in 2017. Casa de Gratia began gathering as home Bible studies in February. Church planter Arnaldo Achucarro is focusing this work on reaching Hispanic people in West Des Moines. Life Change Church launched on October 1. This church, led by planter Steve Christiansen, is focused on reaching the diverse peoples of East Des Moines. Their Sunday services take place in the Maytag Building on the Iowa State Fairgrounds. BCI continues to partner with NAMB to provide three church-based church planting catalysts for our work in Iowa. Geoff Safford, New Heights, Indianola; Donovan Santamaria, Redeemer Church, Cedar Rapids; and Todd Stiles First Family, Ankeny are leading each of their churches to develop and send church planters with a goal of seeing each church plant at least one new congregation each year. Additionally, a growing number of churches are active as supporting churches for our church plants. These churches are praying for, providing financially for, and even partnering with planters through short-term mission projects. Cornerstone Church, Ames began a partnership directly with NAMB called The SALT Network. Their focus is to start churches and collegiate ministries in university cities around the Midwest. In 2017 the various churches of the SALT Network worked together to start the Salt City Church in Minneapolis, MN and Wellspring Church in State College, PA.
New Pastors recognized during the Annual Meeting included Neal McRae, Crest Baptist, Creston; Bob Allen, New Life Davenport; Joey Weber, Stonebridge, Boone; and John Harrell, Shiloh Baptist, Waterloo.
A budget of $1,651,778 was adopted for 2018 marking an increase of less than one percent from 2017 and includes $640,000 in anticipated CP receipts from churches, $730,000 from the North American Mission Board (plus providing one full-time Lead Church Planting Catalyst position) and $60,000 from LifeWay Christian Resources.
The Baptist Convention of Iowa will continue to forward 50 percent of CP receipts to SBC missions and ministries, no change this year. The budget does not include any shared ministry expenses with the SBC.
In the last five years, BCI churches have increased their Cooperative Program giving by 30 percent. Because of the convention’s decision to increase the percentage of giving to the national SBC entities up to 50% in 2014, the increased giving has resulted in a projected 223 percent increase in the 2018 budget from five years ago. In addition, the projected BCI office budget is 91 percent lower than it was five years ago after moving to a mobile office strategy.
Messengers approved a budget that allocates $100,000 to the Iowa Ministry Fund consisting of 10 percent of BCI Cooperative Program receipts and 50 percent of the Iowa Missions Offering with the balance to be made up from reserves and foundation investments. The Iowa Ministry Fund normally distributes $10,000 to a selected ministry organization in each of ten ministry categories. This fund seeks to support organizations and ministries that offer God’s mercy, love, and truth to those who are among the most vulnerable across the state.
Messengers voted to change the convention by-laws concerning the Executive Board by changing the number of Executive Board members from four members from each of the five geographic regions to one member from each region, reducing the Executive Board from twenty-four people to nine (one member from each of five regions plus four officers).
Regional Representatives elected at the annual meeting were Tom Nesbitt, Central Region; Stephen Wolfe, Northeast Region; Howard Avery, Northwest Region Tammy Proenneke Southeast Region; and Jim Parker, Southwest Region.
Officers elected at the annual meeting were President Robert Knight, pastor of New Birth Baptist Church, Ames; First Vice President Jack Owens, Stonebridge Church, Boone; Second Vice President Todd Stiles pastor of First Family Church of Ankeny; and Secretary Jerome Risting, Temple Baptist Church, Mason City. All officers ran unopposed this year.
The BCI is offering a new initiative to help existing churches review their ministry and develop a plan for the future. A three-day worship called StratOp from the Patterson Center is available to help key church leaders get perspective on their strategic, operational, and financial aspects of their church. The workshop will help bring unity to the church when they work together to evaluate their current situation, clarify which direction to head, and develop a customized plan to know what to do next.
The Baptist Convention of Iowa is 112 like-minded churches with over 15,000 worshippers each week who have organized together for greater ministry impact, focusing in the areas of church planting, church development, and community transformation. The BCI pools resources for extending ministry into new areas and population segments within Iowa and around the world, provides mutual support, and develops the next generation of Baptist leaders.
The 2018 annual meeting of the Baptist Convention of Iowa will be held on Nov. 10 at Hilton Garden Inn, West Des Moines.
By Brandon Blessman
One of the moments this semester in which God worked in ways we would never have expected took place at our first ever, on-campus Night of Worship. Our hope for the evening was that the Spirit of God would work and move in the hearts of our students during a time of worship through singing, prayer and Scripture readings on campus at UNI. The fact that an evening like this took place on campus made all the difference as no one could deny the evangelistic nature of our gathering. As we stood in a circle without any stage, there was a shared excitement that what was happening was taking place on secular turf!
The time we spent together that evening was intentional, as our desire for the night was not that we would come together just to sing our favorite songs and leave, but that God would move in such a way that every student would leave knowing two things. One, our worship has direction and purpose. As we walked through a four-part liturgy that night, we experienced worship through the themes of Adoration, Thanksgiving, Anticipation, and Commission. This order to the gathering reoriented our hearts to the reality of what is really going on when we gather together to sing. Simply put, God is working to mold and shape us into a certain kind of people that look more and more like Jesus. And two, proper worship is always fully known and expressed within community. As we stood in a circle, purposefully setting up the room in order that we might look into the eyes of our brothers and sisters, we were distinctly reminded that worship is never done in a personal vacuum, but is always done in the community of God’s family.
The following is one of the stories we’re celebrating at Salt Cedar Falls this semester. Alicia, a Salt student, shared this story as part of her baptism testimony at Candeo:
My name is Alicia and this is my testimony of how I came to know Jesus and how he saved my life.
I had a very traumatic childhood. I was exposed us to drugs, alcohol, sex, and domestic violence at a young age. I experienced a lot of neglect and abuse and was often abandoned. My mother would leave without much warning and be gone for days or weeks at a time. This meant that at a very young age, I was having to learn how to cook and take care of myself. In my childhood, I can remember a lot of arguing and fighting in our house that made police involvement necessary. I began to clearly see sin and the only thing I knew about God is that He is real and He loves me very much.
When I was 6 or 7, my mom told my sisters, my brother, and I that we would be moving in with a family member until she came back. My first response was fear as much of the neglect and abuse I had experienced had come from this place. I began to believe that I would be punished for anything I did wrong. I can remember comforting my siblings day by day in the middle of all that was happening. I really did love my uncle we were living with. He took us under his wing, cared for us, and made sacrifices. He became our caretaker – taking us to the doctor, feeding us, taking us on vacations, and making us laugh. Although I loved him, I also had a lot of bitterness inside of me. During this time, I began to pray to God every single night for help. I prayed that we could live at school and never have to come home. I always had this weird hope that things would start to become better, that we would be stronger and healthier together. Despite the hope I had, I had become someone who was angry, had low self-esteem, and trust issues. I started to hurt those around me that I loved – including my siblings who I’d spent so much time caring for.
Around 12 or 13, my siblings and I were split up. I moved around from house to house until I was placed in foster care at 14 years old. From here, I started to notice my life changing for the better. I attended a baptist church where I learned about who Jesus was. I loved learning and hearing the Gospel. It brought me hope, joy, and comfort. I learned that Jesus loved me very much and is always with me. I was still confused at why I still experienced pain and questioned how I would ever get over my past. I was also living in a lot of sin – I was constantly in sexually immoral relationships, sneaking out of the homes I lived in, smoking, and fighting. At age 17, I entered the independent living program at. I learned how to pay rent, grocery shop, and budget.
At 20 years old I began to finally feel a deeply-rooted peace inside of me. I found a job and a place of my own. I started college and began taking psychology classes. I went in knowing nothing about psychology and was opened up to so many concepts on how we learn and behave and can change from abuse. It began to click — this could happen for me with Jesus. I can learn new things, recover, and be fully loved by Jesus Christ. I had heard the gospel several times and I was ready to live my life for Christ. I recognized that I needed Jesus and I prayed aloud to Him admitting my need and asking Him into my heart. I had often felt remorseful for my sin, but I wanted to be forgiven for my sin and repent.
Over time, I have seen how God has carried me through my entire past. I can see the purpose in all of it and how it has shaped me into the person I am today. I still struggle daily and am walking through psychological disorders that make it hard to love and trust others. I know that a life lived in Christ is better than anything I could do apart from Him. I am learning how to forgive because I am forgiven. I am learning how to love, because I am loved. Today I’m being baptized to symbolize outwardly what Jesus has done for me inwardly. I am dead to my sin and alive in Christ, who died for me so that I might have life through him.
Cornerstone Community Church
120 Northwestern Ave.
Chariton, IA 50049
Information & Registration: cornerstonecommunitychurch.net/men
First Family Church
317 SE Magazine Rd.
Ankeny, IA 50021
First Baptist Church
3593 Middle Rd
Bettendorf, IA 52722
By Dakota Jackson
This month God did some incredible things through our ministry here at The Salt Company Des Moines. At the start of the month we had our annual fall retreat. We saw over 50 students give up their weekends in order to come out and learn more about the incredible Fatherhood of God and to grow deeper in community with one another! We had the honor and privilege of having Pastor Rechab Gray lead us during the retreat going through Luke 15 and the story of the prodigal son. Rechab gave some incredibly inspiring and convicting messages that resulted in some great conversations from the students and their small groups. We had many students express to us how much of an impact the messages had on them and the weekend as a whole.
One of the most encouraging things coming out of the weekend was the fact that many of the groups are now much closer than they were at the beginning of the year. The retreat was a great time for some people to get vitally connected to a group that they may not have attended since the beginning of the semester. Much of this community building came from the small group times, led by our fantastic leaders, but I would say most of it came from the time that our students got to spend together, making some really strong memories and bonds. There were dodgeball and volleyball tournaments happening, late night glow in the dark capture the flag, and some great spontaneous games that broke out during free time. These are things that really build relationships when paired with the authenticity that comes from being at a fall retreat together.
One of the biggest ways that God showed his grace to us during this fall retreat weekend was to be able to celebrate one of our students coming to know and accept Christ as his Lord and savior! This student’s name is Austin and he has been involved with Salt DSM for a while but expressed that he always came to church because it was something that he could do to fit in and make connections in his circle of friends. The gospel and the amazing love that God has for us as his children became so evident to him while we were on our Fall Retreat that he gave his life to Christ and is already showing the fruit of now being connected to the true vine.
Austin is now planning on being baptized this upcoming month and will get to celebrate with Salt Company through this public declaration of his faith and trust in Jesus. We are so encouraged by the work that God is doing in his heart and in his life that we cannot wait to see him take the step of obedience in being baptized. There is no greater joy in all of ministry than seeing somebody who was dead in their sin understand the life and love that is theirs in Christ. We are praising God for his incredible work in Austin!
The first step in following Jesus isn't to be more righteous, but admit you need God's mercy. “It is not those who are well who need a doctor, but those who are sick. I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2:17
Iowa pastors: Mark your calendars and register now! The BCI Ministry Life Retreat (April 19-21) will be an encouraging and restful recharge for you and your ministry. https://t.co/dwx4fNSksM
As followers of Jesus, we should initiate courteous conversations while sharing a meal with even people very different than ourselves, "many tax collectors and sinners were eating with Jesus and his disciples" Mark 3:15