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Evangelism, missions, membership discussed at Executive Committee meeting


DULUTH — Jerry Speer, pastor of Northside Baptist Church in Columbus, presided over his first meeting as chairman of the Executive Committee on March 11. Convention President and First Baptist Vidalia pastor Bucky Kennedy, who was out of the country, greeted the committee members via a taped video message and urged them to attend the annual convention meeting to be held at First Baptist Church in Jonesboro, Nov. 10-11.

In addition to attending to the business of the Convention and the president’s message, Kennedy announced that Steve Parr, GBC vice president for Evangelism and Open Groups, would proclaim the missionary sermon and Fred Evers, pastor of Northside Baptist Church in Tifton, would preach the doctrinal sermon.

Evangelist Jay Strack will be the preacher for the Sunday evening rally on Nov. 9 and Jonathan Falwell, pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Va., is scheduled to deliver the closing message on Tuesday evening.

Georgia Baptist Convention Executive Director J. Robert White introduced Steve Parr to give a report of the recent regional Evangelism Conferences.

Parr indicated that 2,183 attended the four regional conferences in February, representing a 41 percent increase over the 2007 conference attendance. Next year’s Evangelism Conference will be held at Blackshear Place Baptist Church in Flowery Branch, Feb. 23-24.

White called upon Vice President for Operations Michael Williams to report on the signing of the permanent loan document for the new Georgia Baptist Missions and Ministry Center. Williams stated that the permanent loan of $27,407,367 was signed on Jan. 30 with SunTrust Bank at a most favorable interest rate.

Beth Ann Williams reported on the “Coats for Christmas” campaign that provided more than 9,000 coats for North Korean children. There were 30 collection sites established across the state in 55 associations with 167 churches participating. Williams stated, “We had 97 volunteers collecting, sorting and packing coats 8 hours a day for 8 days.”


Missions giving

Michael Williams, who had recently returned from North Korea, showed pictures of beautiful Korean children who were formerly malnourished, but are now healthy and physically vibrant. Williams noted that their wellness is largely attributable to a bread factory, which Georgia Baptists have provided, that produces 50,000 loaves of bread daily for one section of North Korea.

In his report White also announced that through the influence of Executive Committee member Phil Bettis, the GBC Internet Radio network had received a grant from the Benjamin F. Brady Foundation to completely underwrite the Internet radio ministry for the second straight year. It was also noted that the Brady Foundation had given $500,000 to Shorter College for student housing renovation.

Following the Constitution provisions, the Administration Committee requested the Executive Committee to affirm Tony Dickerson to hold the interim position of Jerry Speer on the Administrative Committee and Wayne Marcus to replace Mike Everson on the Administrative Committee. Both men were affirmed.

Fred Evers of Northside Baptist Church in Tifton presented the report from the Task Force on GBC Institutions. Evers indicated that each Georgia Baptist institution and agency has been asked to agree to seven principles relative to the Convention being named as the sole member of each separate entity or corporation.

Evers indicated that before the year (2008) is over all institutions and agencies will be in compliance.

Dr. White announced that Cooperative Program receipts through February indicated a 1.13% or $67,875.26 increase over the same period last year. Georgia continues to be the leader in Cooperative Program dollar giving among all states in the Southern Baptist Convention – a true champion in missions and in equipping the called to fulfilling their calling.