Published September 23, 2010
DULUTH — Stewart Simms, vice president of the Georgia Baptist Convention, brought a stirring message from the Old Testament book of Haggai for the Sept. 14 meeting of the Executive Committee at the GBC Missions and Ministry Center.
GBC president Dan Spencer announced that the theme for the November Convention would be “Compelled” based on II Corinthians 5:14. The First Baptist Thomasville pastor pleaded, “I want you to join me in prayer that our annual session will become a signal of a new work of God.
“It will be multi-generational in nature. Bi-vocational pastors will present a theme interpretation at each session. Church planters will be included on our program this year to lead our benedictory prayers. Encourage others to come with you to this year’s Convention. First Baptist Thomasville will take a special offering to help with the expenses of pastors who cannot afford to come to Albany.”
The reports of what God is doing through Georgia Baptists were inspiring.?Through the special offerings of GBC churches $1,518,245 has been given for Haiti relief. A portion of these funds provided the costs related to Georgia Baptists sending 17,000 Buckets of Hope to the earthquake-devastated country. A Bucket of Hope consists of a plastic five-gallon bucket packed with selected foodstuffs. The food contained in a single bucket will feed a Haitian family for a week.
As a result of the horrific earthquake Haiti experienced on Jan. 12, God has been mightily at work. Stuart Lang, Georgia Baptist missionary responsible for the Disaster Relief Ministry, reported that since the earthquake 300 Haitian churches have been started and 154,000 professions of faith have been registered.
Lang announced that Georgia Baptists would adopt the city of Leogane, the epicenter of the disastrous earthquake. Leogane, with a population of 134,000, is a coastal city located about 35 miles west of Port-au-Prince, the capital.
The media reported that the earthquake cost Leogane up to 30,000 lives and that almost all its buildings were flattened. One newspaper reported that a hand-scrawled sign reading “SOS” was seen on the outskirts of Leogane weeks after to tragedy struck. In fact, Leogane, referred to as “a lost town at the Haiti earthquake epicenter,” was one of the last areas to receive any kind of aid.
Lang stated, “We are going to work with pastors to build and rebuild churches and homes using Haitian laborers. We also plan to send a varied number of ministry teams to this city so devastated by this horrible catastrophe.”
Steve Parr, vice president for Evangelism Ministries for the GBC, urged all present for the meeting to “Keep your eye on the ball” or focus on the priority of evangelism. Parr stated that 88 people in Georgia are saved every day and four are saved every hour, but we need to pray for a greater harvest and become more intentional about reaching the lost.
Several Georgia Baptist missionaries, led by Frank Nuckolls, presented a vision for moving Georgia Baptists toward 2020. It was announced that Georgia will experience a 30 percent population growth over the next ten years. It is also expected that 12 primarily urban or suburban counties will experience a growth rate of 75 percent over the next ten years.
Jim Haskell, strategist for Urban Atlanta Church Planting, has designs to plant 100 churches and cell house churches and 75 Bible study fellowships inside the I-285 perimeter by 2014.
GBC Executive Director J. Robert White added, “Everything we do will focus upon lostness.”
Bob Dixon, a layman from First Baptist Church in Vidalia and chairman of the Convention’s Cooperative Program Budget Committee, presented the proposed GBC budget for 2011. The Executive Committee responded to Dixon’s motion by voting unanimously to recommend a budget of $45 million to the messengers at the annual meeting in Albany, Nov. 15-16. The proposed budget represents only a slight (.011 percent or $500,000) decrease when compared to the 2010 budget.
John Waters, pastor of Statesboro’s First Baptist Church, presented a recommendation that the Executive Committee of the Georgia Baptist Convention affirm its support of families and standards of decency throughout the State of Georgia by expressing deep-felt concerns about the presence and future considerations of gambling and gaming venues.
The recommendation called for the gubernatorial candidates in this year’s election to oppose the growth of gambling in the State of Georgia and to state publicly their stance on legalized gambling as evidence of their values and opinions regarding the impact of such items on the well-being of children and families and the standards of living for the citizens of Georgia. The motion was seconded and approved by the Executive Committee.
The Executive Committee approved a motion to recommend to the Convention that Southwest Atlanta Baptist Association be accepted into the Convention and granted representation on the Executive Committee. Bernard Miller, associational missionary; Pozie Redmond, moderator of the association; and Alfred T. Lands, associational vice moderator, were present to express the desire of the association to participate with the Georgia Baptist Convention. Members of the Executive Committee expressed great enthusiasm through their applause as the recommendation was unanimously adopted.
Executive Director White read the words on a plaque regarding the gift previously made from the Georgia Baptist Health Care System in honor of the life and ministry of Louie D. Newton that provided the first floor of the Missions and Ministry Center construction costs, furnishings, sculptures, paintings, pianos, and carpeting. The plaque will be placed under the portrait of Dr. Newton, one of Southern Baptists’ greatest pastors, leaders, and statesmen. The portrait is located to the right of the entrance of Newton Chapel in the GBC Missions and Ministry Center.
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