5 keys for more baptisms
HEARTLAND | When messengers gather for the 109th Annual Meeting of the Illinois Baptist State Association, they will be asked to consider revisions to the constitution and an amended 2016 budget, as well as commitments on behalf of their own congregation to help bring more people to faith in Christ.
“Build Your Kingdom Here,” inspired by a popular Christian song, is the theme for the meeting. It focuses on five commitments local churches can make, with the goal of increasing professions of faith and baptisms.
The Annual Meeting will be held at First Baptist Church of Marion, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, along with three other IBSA churches. There are currently 132 churches in the association founded in 1865 or earlier.
The meeting starts at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 11 and concludes on Thursday, Nov. 12 at noon. It will be preceded by the IBSA Pastors’ Conference, starting at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 10.
Consider the commitments
In the Wednesday evening session, messengers will hear uplifting reports from Illinois churches that experienced the salvation of lost people through evangelistic prayer strategies, effective witness training, outreach events, a renewed focus on Vacation Bible School, and new small groups and classes.
With Lego-style blocks as a visual device, messengers will be encouraged to consider which of these ministries would likely result in additional salvations in their communities. By pinpointing “Here!” on their own mission field, worship attenders may join a corporate prayer asking God to do a new kingdom work starting in the place they call home.
Several items will require action by messengers. A constitutional revision introduced at the 2014 Annual Meeting will require a second vote. The change allows Baptist Children’s Home and Family Services to have its own bylaws, in compliance with Illinois law for non-profit organizations.
A revised 2016 budget will be presented, necessitated by changes in insurance provided by NAMB for some IBSA employees. “It’s unusual to need to consider a revision to the proposed IBSA Budget after the Board has approved it in September,” IBSA Executive Director Nate Adams said, “but in this case IBSA didn’t receive notice until September 24 that NAMB will no longer provide health insurance for jointly funded missionaries, starting in 2016.”
The proposed 2016 budget, as it appears in the Book of Reports, will be replaced by an updated version at the meeting, in an effort to make the revision and vote clearer.
“This decision [about NAMB-provided insurance] and its ramifications have a significant impact on multiple lines of the budget that was approved by the IBSA Board on September 15,” Adams said. “I’m sure both the Board and the messengers will understand and take the necessary actions to help us absorb this latest challenge and change.”
The IBSA Annual Meeting will be augmented by gatherings of IBSA Pastors, Ministers’ Wives, Associational Directors of Missions, Church Planters, and Young Leaders. The Pastors’ Conference includes a Tailgate Dinner on Tuesday evening ($5 per person at the door). The Wednesday evening session of the Annual Meeting concludes with a Fall Festival sweets reception. The schedules are posted at IBSA.org/IBSA2015.