BSCM Annual Meeting Highlights
2007 Annual Meeting
GENERAL CONVENTION MATTERS
As of September of this year, the BSCM has 246 churches, 40 chapels, and 25 Bible studies. While there has not been significant growth, there is a pattern of slow, but steady growth.
Financially, things are going well. Although giving has been down due to the difficult financial situation across the state of Michigan, the BSCM is meeting its budget and everything ‘is in the black.’
The director of Bambi Lake, Carey Shin was called up for military duty overseas and assistant manager, John Mulvany is acting as director until his return. Also, in honor of the passing of a worker at Bambi Lake, the convention voted to rename snack shop “J.B’s Place.”
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary established an extension center at the BSCM offices at Fenton. Professors from SBTS are brought up to teach classes for Michigan pastors so that they can more easily earn their Master of Divinity degree or Certificate of Theology. There are currently 18 students. Every year, more students are taking advantage of this program which continues to develop.
Two changes were made to the BSCM constitution. Both came in the section on Membership (Article IV). The first added the sentence: “Among churches not in cooperation with the Convention are churches which act to affirm, approve, or endorse homosexual behavior.”
This was the most debated issue at the meeting. On the one hand, with the messenger who originally proposed this change last year, were those who thought such an addition was necessary because of the militant agenda of some homosexual groups in our country who act to ‘normalize’ their lifestyle in the understanding of the culture.
On the other hand, many messengers believed that the statement was unnecessary. They affirmed the sinfulness of homosexual behavior, but were concerned that this particular sin was to be added to the Convention’s constitution. Why not adultery, drunkenness, abortion, pride, or some other sin? Furthermore, the Convention already holds to the Baptist Faith & Message 200 which states:
In the spirit of Christ, Christians should oppose racism, every form of greed, selfishness, and vice, and all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography. We should work to provide for the orphaned, the needy, the abused, the aged, the helpless, and the sick. We should speak on behalf of the unborn and contend for the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death. (Article XV)
It was thought that such a statement was sufficient. A vote was taken and a 2/3 majority was needed to pass the proposed change to the constitution. The moderator determined there was 2/3 in favor of the amendment. There was then a dispute about the closeness of the number of votes and a ballot vote was requested. However, there was dispute of the proper ordering of motion and the ballot vote was not taken.
The second constitutional amendment came in the same section (Article IV, Membership) and simply wanted to add that in addition to the number of members at a church, “one additional messenger for every $1000.00 contributed through the cooperative program of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan.” This change was intended to balance what may be an inequality in the number of possible messengers between larger churches that give less than smaller churches. This way, it is possible to still be equally represented at the BSCM annual meetings. The amendment passed without question.
REPORT OF THE INTERNATIONAL MISSION BOARD
One of the real highlights of the annual meeting was the Internal Mission Board (IMB) report, given by the president of the IMB himself, Jerry Rankin. It was a real treat to have him come in person and not only share the IMB report, but also offer the meeting’s closing sermon.
The statistical information was amazing and encouraging.
- In 2006, IMB missionaries began over 25,000 new churches.
- There were over 600,000 baptisms of new Christians.
- This past year, the IMB commissioned 800 new missionaries. 3000 more are candidates in process.
- All of these missionaries are supported by us – through our cooperative program giving!
Though even we support over 5400 missionaries sent beyond North America, that number represents less than 1% of Southern Baptists! How many more should be heeding God’s call to take the gospel to the ends of the earth.