by Jon “Ole” Olsen, Communications Coordinator
God’s good work in Iowa was the highlight of the twentieth Annual Meeting of the Baptist Convention of Iowa which was held in Des Moines on November 7, 2015. Executive Director Dr. Tim Lubinus shared exciting news about 11 church planting projects that received funding in 2015, with several churches launched already and others currently holding preview services. New church planters who were introduced included Cameron & Sarah Scott, Cityscape, Des Moines, Mark & Twila Scott, Live, Love, and Laugh Church Plant, Des Moines, Richard & Amber Crowson, Redemption Hill Church, Sioux City, Matthew & Keeva O’Mealey and Scott & Laura Carter, Vertical Church, Des Moines.
Two churches, Capitol City Church in Des Moines, and Grace Church in Boone were welcomed into affiliation with the Baptist Convention of Iowa further adding to the number of BCI churches in the state. Introducing the newly affiliated churches, Lubinus shared, “During this year I’ve noticed what may be a new trend. In the past some church leaders have been declaring that denominations are not really needed. Now it seems that the idea of working together for fellowship, support, and shared ministry is making a comeback. Churches that have been independent are asking to join us for cooperative ministry.”
Lubinus also noted that concrete plans are in place in 2016 for additional church plants in the Des Moines area, as well as plans for expanding the reach of the Salt Company collegiate ministry to campuses in Grinnell Iowa and Columbia Missouri. You can watch the video of Lubinus delivering his Executive Director Annual Report at bciowa.org/executive-director-annual-report-bci-annual-meeting.
New pastors were welcomed at several existing churches in Iowa including Howard & Dawn Avery at Ninth Street Baptist Church in Spencer and Faith Baptist in Bedford, Jamie & Tasha Cheramie at Calvary Baptist Church in Glenwood, Jim & Charlene Fisher at First Baptist in Lamoni, Ben & Amanda McKim at Calvary Baptist Church in Clarinda and Matt Risting at First Baptist Church in Albia.
North American Mission Board National Collegiate Strategist Brian Frye told messengers that others are watching what God is doing in Iowa through the BCI and through the Salt Company collegiate ministry. Currently, the Salt Company is impacting students at Iowa State University, the University of Iowa, the University of Northern Iowa, Simpson College and Southwestern Community College. Frye noted that leaders from across the country will be gathering in Ames in April 2016 to study how Iowa is training and sending out collegiate church planters. Frye invited Iowa churches to partner with the North American Mission Board for church planting and Send Relief missions. You can watch Brian Frye’s message at bciowa.org/brian-frye-addresses-the-bci-annual-meeting.
Messengers approved a 2016 budget during the meeting of $1.72 million dollars, anticipating a 3 percent increase in Cooperative Program giving by Iowa churches to $618,000, with a continued commitment to send 50 percent of CP giving to the Southern Baptist Convention. Speaking about Cooperative Program giving, Lubinus shared, “Several Iowa churches have significantly increased their financial support to missions through the Cooperative Program. I think it is likely that our decision last year to increase our giving to the executive committee from twenty percent to fifty percent provided us with momentum and incentive to give through the Cooperative Program.”
Dr. Frank Page, President & CEO of SBC Executive Committee addressed the messengers and guests about the powerful effect of Cooperative Program. Page explained what the Cooperative Program does and shared a message about why we work together. You can watch Dr. Page’s message at bciowa.org/dr-frank-page-at-the-bci-annual-meeting/.
Officers elected at the annual meeting were: Ken Livingston, President, pastor, First Grace Baptist Church, Sheffield; Robert Knight, 1st Vice President, pastor New Birth Baptist Church, Ames; Brandon Barker, 2nd Vice President, pastor Westwind Church, Waukee; and Jerome Risting, Secretary, member, Temple Baptist Church, Mason City.
Dr. Jason Allen, President of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary delivered the annual meeting sermon, preaching on “Finishing Well” from 2 Timothy 4:7.
The worship team from Westwind Church in Waukee provided music during the Annual Meeting.
Special guest Rafael Cruz, father of Senator Ted Cruz challenged BCI Annual Meeting messengers and guests to get involved in returning America to the biblical and historical foundations that made this country exceptional. A video of his message is available at bciowa.org/rafael-cruz-challenges.
The 21st Annual Meeting of the Baptist Convention of Iowa is set for November 5, 2016 at the Holiday Inn and Suites Northwest in Des Moines.