During their Baptist Convention of Iowa annual meeting in Des Moines, messengers voted to increase the percentage of Cooperative Program funds forwarded to national Southern Baptist Convention causes from 20 percent in 2014 to 50 percent of all CP receipts in 2015. This represents an increase from $99,000 given to the SBC CP in 2014 to $300,000 in 2015.
Messengers approved a 2015 budget during the meeting of $1.75 million dollars, anticipating a 21 percent increase in Cooperative Program giving by Iowa churches to $600,000.
More than 200 messengers and guests representing 51 churches attended the Nov. 8 meeting. Worship music was provided by Nick Powell, Dirk Wiese, and Jordan Prescott from Redeemer Church in Cedar Falls.
Executive Director/Treasurer Tim Lubinus told messengers during his address, “Next year our convention will be 20 years old. We want to continue to do our part in reaching the world for Christ. A sign of this maturing of our convention isn’t measured by our independence of our national mission agencies, but by the strength of our support for them.
“Because of this we would like our 20th year to become the year that we become a 50/50 convention and increase our support for national mission agencies from 20 percent to 50 percent of our receipts,” he said. “These funds go to the International Mission Board, North American Mission Board, our six seminaries, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, and other vital ministries.
While the dollar amount may not be as large as many state conventions, Lubinus acknowledges, he hopes the 50/50 split shows Iowa Baptists’ commitment to supporting national and international missions.
He noted the Baptist Convention of Iowa (BCI) is moving away from funding its staff for church planting and moving toward funding church planters. BCI has reduced funding for church planting BCI staff from 36 percent of the church planting budget to 13 percent. Lubinus noted this frees church planting funds up for where the need is greatest: new churches. These changes will allow the BCI to increase the church planting budget by 25 percent in 2015, increasing church planting funds from $400,000 to $500,000.
In 2014, nine church planters were approved for church planting funding across the state, with church planting initiatives on the move in another nine locations. “We are grateful for the progress in church planting in Iowa and pray for continued growth in 2015” he said.
During the annual meeting, Lubinus said creating a system to support and encourage pastors was his first priority when he started in his role March 2014.
“We now have around 18 groups of pastors meeting across the state to encourage, support, pray and learn from one another,” Lubinus said. “John Shaull announced his retirement effective September 30th, but I asked him to continue on staff to support pastors on the western half of the state. Ed Gregory returned to Iowa, and is on BCI staff to support pastors on the eastern half of the state.”
The BCI intends to add a new staff position to specifically support churches’ discipleship and small group ministries. This position will be the third staff position that will directly relate to supporting, developing and encouraging churches.
Discussing other BCI ministries, Lubinus shared with the messengers and guests that Frank McCrary was hired as the state’s disaster relief director with the task of strengthening and expanding the Iowa disaster relief program. Lubinus also showed photos of a 21-foot shower trailer that has been purchased to help give Iowa Baptists an additional option in responding to crisis and need.
Lubinus also encouraged churches to get involved with the ministries of the Friendship Baptist Center.
“The Friendship Baptist Center is located in an area in Des Moines that is heavily impacted by poverty,” he said. “In a neighborhood overrun by drugs, gangs, unemployment and a lack of adequate English skills, the center meets the physical needs of area residents while displaying the love of Christ.”
Lubinus noted that Jon and Mindy Jamison are now employed by the BCI to help Iowa churches develop or expand their own community ministries.
Officers elected at the annual meeting were: Lloyd Eaken, president, pastor, Fairview Baptist Church, Anamosa; Ken Livingston, first vice president, pastor, First Grace Baptist Church, Sheffield; Ken Kraft, second vice president, pastor, New Life Baptist Church, Kingsley; Jerome Risting, secretary, member, Temple Baptist Church, Mason City.
Messengers recognized new pastors and their wives during the annual meeting. Those recognized included Cory and Carla Gonyo, First Baptist Church, Bettendorf; Scott Hill and Anita Hill, Heartland Baptist Church, Stuart; Cody and Kim Hinton, Redemption Church, Council Bluffs; John and Terri Janke, Northbrook Baptist Church, Cedar Rapids; Tom and Kara Ogston, Redeemer Church, Cedar Falls; Ricky and Melanie Rohrig, Crossroads Community Church, Red Oak; Donovan and Aubrey Santamaria, Redeemer Church, Cedar Rapids; Garrett and Hannah Warfield, Redeemer Church, Cedar Rapids; David and Gayle Williamson, First Baptist Church, Dunkerton.
BCI Executive Director Emeritus Jimmy Barrentine delivered the annual sermon preaching from John 14:1-6.
The 20th Annual Meeting of the Baptist Convention of Iowa is set for November 7, 2015 at the Holiday Inn and Suites Northwest in Des Moines.
Jon “Ole” Olsen is communications coordinator for the Iowa Baptist News of the Baptist Convention of Iowa.