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9/26/2011 Archive

IBSA board elects officers
Marty King
SPRINGFIELD | The Illinois Baptist State Association (IBSA) Board of Directors elected officers for next year, passed a proposed 2012 budget, and reviewed a new IBSA strategy to move staff closer to member churches.

Meeting at the IBSA building Sept. 13, the board re-elected Jim Rahtjen, pastor of Glenfield Baptist Church, Glen Ellyn, as board chairman. Duncan Locke, senior pastor of Lincoln Avenue Baptist Church, Jacksonville, was elected vice chairman, and Bob Dyer, a lay member of Bethel Baptist Church, Bourbonnais, was elected secretary.

The board will recommend to the IBSA Annual Meeting November 2-3 a 2012 budget of $9.2 million, a 2. 9 percent decrease from the current year’s budget. The primary difference in anticipated income from 2011 to 2012 is a reduction in funding from the North American Mission Board (NAMB) of more than $265,000.

If approved, the amount of Cooperative Program funds IBSA sends on to national and international missions through the Southern Baptist Convention will remain at 43.25 percent – the fourth highest percentage of all state Baptist conventions. This year, CP giving by Illinois Baptist churches has been consistently behind the previous year. National CP giving is down more than 2 percent.

IBSA Executive Director Nate Adams explained a complex series Of decisions resulting from NAMB’s funding cuts that will affect associational directors of missions who are jointly funded by NAMB and the state convention.

“NAMB’s new strategy means that, here in Illinois, the associational directors of missions role will no longer be funded as a NAMB missionary,” Adams explained. “However, directors of missions were given the option of transitioning to a different ‘Church Planting Catalyst’ role that serves a wider region of the state.” Adams continued, “IBSA is not able to pick-up NAMB’s two-thirds portion of the support for those who remain in the director of missions role, especially since IBSA’s funding from NAMB Was reduced by $265,000 for 2012. However, IBSA has budgeted the same amount of associational support in 2012 as we provided alongside NAMB in 2011, to assist affected associations and their ADOMs in transition.”

Adams explained that, “Without the benefit of NAMB funding, those associations may need to make adjustments in how they operate and provide associational staff, whether full-time or parttime.” He also said IBSA is available to consult with associational leaders on those options.

Adams also updated board members on implementation of a new initiative intended to “be closer and More available to our churches and associations.” Referring to IBSA’s “zone strategy,” Adams said ten geographic zones have been identified, and a current IBSA staff member assigned as IBSA’s primary contact with associations and churches in each zone.

“The assigned staff will continue to perform their statewide ministries such as church planting, strengthening and missions, but will also spend about one day a week working with directors of missions and churches in their zone to identify needs and help bring SBC and IBSA resources to meet them,” Adams explained.

The new initiative will be rolled out over the next few months.

Adams also reported to the board that progress on ten of the agency’s twelve 2011 goals are “green,” which means they are on track to be accomplished, while two goals are “yellow,” meaning they may not be fully met.

The church planting goal of starting 30 churches this year was one that was “yellow.” Adams said IBSA would probably help start 23 or 24 new congregations by the end of the year.

In other business, the IBSA Board of Directors:

- Approved 10 new board-wide goals for 2012 including a 3 percent increase in baptisms, 25 new churches, 350 churches involved in missions events, and a 2 percent increase in CP giving.

- Approved three individuals to fill open unexpired terms on the board. Calvin Reynolds, Maranatha Baptist, Rock Falls, will complete a one-year term; Darryl Williams, Elkville Baptist, two years; and, Mark Roath, Anna Heights Baptist, will serve three years.

- Approved an annual cooperative agreement with the Baptist Foundation of Illinois including mutual goals, commitments and financial projections showing a reduction in IBSA’s subsidy of BFI from $103,000 this year to less than $90,000 in 2012, and less than $40,000 by 2013.

- Recognized outgoing board members Stephen Farish, Crossroads, Grayslake; Gary Houdek, Golf Road, Des Plaines; Mike Malone, FBC Marion; Tim Rhodus, Cross Church, Carlinville; Bill Smith, Woodland, Peoria; and Terri Thompson, Calvary, Edwardsville.

- Recognized staff member Esther Eggley for ten years of service to IBSA, and James Sok who has retired after 14 years in church planting.

- And, heard a progress report on remodeling of the IBSA building. All Springfield-based staff will be moving to the third floor of the building by the middle of October. Board members toured the renovated offices following their meeting.

IBSA Pastors’ Conference features discipleship and evangelism specialists
Meredith Day
SPRINGFIELD | Illinois Baptist pastors will explore “The Certainty of Christ in an Age of Unbelief” during their annual Pastors’ Conference Nov. 1-2 at First Baptist Church, O’Fallon.

The conference theme is based on Jude 1:24-25.

The conference precedes the IBSA Annual Meeting, which also will be held at First Baptist O’Fallon, Nov. 2-3.

This year’s speakers, including two leaders from the North American Mission Board and an Idaho pastor with a passion for discipleship, will focus on the ways God is working where they’re serving, said Bob Dickerson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Marion and president of the Pastors’ Conference.

“Sometimes we go to conferences That only tell us how bad things are,” Dickerson said. “Those coming to speak this year were enlisted with the task of sharing with us where positive things are happening and how we might apply them where we serve.

“Under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, we hope God will reveal to us how we might be encouraged to serve the Lord with fervor, and enlightened with insight on how God could use us for such a time as this.”

Thomas Hammond leads the North American Mission Board’s Personal Evangelism team. He also has served as director of missions for the Metrolina Baptist Association in Charlotte, N. C., and as minister of evangelism at Hebron Baptist Church in Dacula, Ga. Hammond’s messages will focus on evangelism.

Jim Putman is founder and senior pastor of Real Life Ministries in Post Falls, Idaho. The church began as a small group in 1998 and has grown to a membership of more than 8,000, with 90 percent of its membership active in small groups. Putman is the author of two books: “Church is a Team Sport” and “Real Life Discipleship.” His messages will focus on discipleship.

Larry Wynn is vice president for Evangelization and Leadership Development at the North American Mission Board. Before serving at NAMB, Wynn was pastor for 33 years at Hebron Baptist Church in Dacula, Ga. Under his leadership, the church recorded more than 10,000 baptisms. Wynn’s messages will focus on leadership.

The speakers will each share a message in all three sessions: Tuesday afternoon beginning at 1:45 p.m.; Tuesday evening beginning at 6:15 p.m.; and Wednesday morning beginning at 9 a.m.

Worship during the conference’s Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning sessions will be led by Illinois Baptist church planter Chad Ozee and his wife Rachel, who are serving at Journey Church in Bourbonnais.

On Tuesday evening, FBC Marion’s Celebration Choir, under the direction of Minister of Music Brian Summers, will lead in worship.

Additional information

First Baptist Church, O’Fallon, is located at 1111 E. HWY 50, O’Fallon, IL, 62269.

The convention hotel is The Drury Inn and Suites of O’Fallon, IL (3 miles from FBC), which is located at: 1118 Central Park Drive, O’Fallon 62269. To make overnight reservations call (800) 325- 0720 or go to DruryHotels.com and ask for the Illinois Baptist State Association block of rooms, group #2078546. The rate is $82.99 per night for two queen beds or one king. A complimentary breakfast is provided.

Childcare during the Pastors’ Conference and annual meeting will be provided at no cost, but pre-registration is preferred. To pre-register, call Kendra Jackson at (217) 391-3111 or e-mail KendraJackson@IBSA.org.

For more information about the Pastors’ Conference, go to IBSA.org or contact Dickerson at (618) 997-9386 or pastor@fbmarion.org.

IBSA expands ministry through social media
SPRINGFIELD | The Illinois Baptist State Association has gone social. IBSA now has a Facebook page to “like” and a Twitter account to “follow.” In addition, IBSA has launched a weekly e-newsletter – eConnection.

IBSA plans to use social media to keep its members informed about the latest happenings in Illinois Baptist life. “Our goal is to provide Illinois Baptists with relevant, useful information and resources,” said Lisa Sergent, IBSA director of communications. “We’re seeking to provide pastors and church members with ideas and information that will help them minister and share Christ in their daily lives.”

The Facebook and Twitter pages went live within the last few weeks, while the first eConnection was sent out in mid- August. The eConnection is sent each Wednesday to all pastors and church leaders who have provided their e-mail address to IBSA.

“We’ve already begun receiving positive feedback regarding these new communication efforts,” Sergent said. “Several Illinois Baptists have commented on articles they have enjoyed from eConnection or about Facebook posts.” Articles available through the eConnection have included ministry helps such as overcoming the fear of witnessing, planning a church budget during difficult economic times, major church trends, Sunday School planning and more. Information about upcoming IBSA training events for churches is also included.

Sergent said she has already used Facebook and Twitter to communicate breaking news to Illinois Baptists. “When an Illinois disaster relief volunteer was injured while serving on the east coast, we were immediately able ask Illinois Baptists to pray for his well-being and the safety of other team members through posts on Facebook and Twitter. We received the information on a Wednesday afternoon and informed Illinois Baptists in time to Share the prayer request during their church’s midweek services.” The social media effort follows on the heels of the redesign of IBSA’s website, IBSA.org. Additional information on the topics covered through social media and eConnection are often available at IBSA.org, although ministry helps are shared from a variety of evangelical Christian sources.

The Facebook page can be accessed at facebook.com/Illinois Baptist or by going to IBSA.org and clicking “Like us” on the left side of the page. IBSA’s Twitter account is @IllinoisBaptist and may be accessed at twitter.com/ IllinoisBaptist. Visit IBSA.org or IBSA’s Facebook page to subscribe to eConnection.

Other IBSA ministry areas also share information regularly through Facebook and e-newsletters.

Find out more at IBSA.org. For additional information, contact LisaSergent@IBSA.org or call (217) 391-3119.

Stimulating stewardship
Nate Adams
It’s been almost six years since I first began talking with the IBSA Executive Director Search Committee about returning to Illinois from my role at the North American Mission Board. One of the affirmations in my mind that God was leading me here was the simple, compelling list of priorities the IBSA Board had already identified: Strengthening Churches, Starting Churches, and Sending Christians from here in Illinois on mission to the world.

I was, and still am, excited about working on those important, spiritual priorities, and about doing so with Illinois Baptists. At the same time, I suggested early on that we add another key priority, one that undergirds the other three. “Stimulating Stewardship” is now the phrase we use to communicate that generous missions giving is also essential if we are going to increase our capacity to strengthen churches, start churches and send Christians.

To be frank, Southern Baptist leaders have been fretting for some time now over the trajectory of churches’ missions giving through the Cooperative Program, which has gradually declined from a nationwide average in 1998 of 8.1 percent (of total undesignated gifts) to just 5.9 percent in the Most recent report. IBSA churches have fared slightly better, averaging 7.1 percent in 2010. But even that is down from our churches’ 9.3 percent in 2000.

I don’t believe we can adopt the attitude that “that’s just the way it is,” or that younger Christians simply don’t have the cooperative missions commitment that their parents or grandparents had. Nor can we just blame the economy, or the lack of missions education, or the multitude of causes that now seem to compete with cooperative missions giving. Instead, we must stimulate stewardship!

We must constantly communicate to and through our churches that giving through the Cooperative Program is still the most productive, effective and trustworthy system of advancing the Great Commission that’s available today. Regardless of your church’s size, location, age or strength, you can be part of a worldwide missions strategy that supports Baptist missionaries, Baptist theological education, and all kinds of Baptist ministries. Through the Cooperative Program, you reach lost people and make disciples and start new churches here in Illinois, throughout North America, and literally to the ends of the earth.

Because I believe in the effectiveness of the Cooperative Program, I am Asking the Lord to give Illinois churches, both pastors and church members, the faith they need to reverse the current trend in CP giving, starting with next year’s budgets. And I believe I know where we can start.

At the IBSA Annual Meeting November 2-3, SBC Executive Committee President Frank Page will be our keynote speaker during the Wednesday evening worship service. Dr. Page is currently seeking to “stimulate stewardship” as well, with a simple challenge for SBC churches to consider increasing their Cooperative Program giving by one percentage point. I am enthusiastically joining him in presenting that challenge to our churches here in Illinois.

I find the “one percentage point challenge” compelling for a couple of key reasons. First, it meets every church right where they are, and gives them a simple step of faith that can move them slowly but surely toward stronger Great Commission obedience.

Second, it is a challenge that’s not so much about dollars as it is about shared, proportional sacrifice. That’s the kind of giving we want our church members to understand in the biblical practice of tithing, and I believe it’s the Kind of giving that God commends and really blesses.

I am not overly concerned if a down economy or high unemployment results in lower income and lower offerings in IBSA churches, and that in turn results in lower Cooperative Program giving. Paul wrote to the Corinthian church that they should give according to what they have, not according to what they don’t have (2 Cor. 8:12).

When church members give to their church in proportion to what they have, and churches give to missions in proportion to what they have, I believe God provides all we need to do what He’s called us to do. It’s when we give less generously than we’ve received that I worry we’ll miss out on what God wants to do.

As your church prepares its next year’s budget, will you prayerfully consider increasing your Great Commission giving through the Cooperative Program by just one percentage point? I know that only the Holy Spirit can truly stimulate stewardship that is from the heart, cheerful, and pleasing to God. And I know it won’t be easy to reverse the current trend and increase the overall percentage of CP giving across the state. But with God’s help, if anyone can do it, Illinois Baptists can.

Nate Adams is executive director of the Illinois Baptist State Association and may be contacted at NateAdams@IBSA.org.

ILLINOIS BAPTIST VOICES:  Putting the ball in His court
Jim Rahtjen
I remember walking off the plane that day shaking my head in amazement at what God did when I put the ball in His court.

I often faced a dilemma whenever I’d fly by myself. Many of us have experienced the drama of this moment. On one hand, I knew I’d have an opportunity on the airplane to sit with someone I’d never met and be a witness. On the other hand, I felt the pressure of the situation. I’d tell myself, “You HAVE to witness to this person. God’s given you the opportunity… DON’T BLOW IT!” So I’d sit there searching for that perfect moment to give my seatmate a gospel nugget. I imagined God standing over me, arms crossed, waiting for me to make my opening move, and disappointed if I let the opportunity pass.

But on this particular flight, something changed. As I waited to board the plane, I prayed. “Lord, I’m willing to share my faith today, but please open the door. If You open the door, I’ll share. The ball is in Your court.”

Walking down the aisle, I spied my seat between two women: a grandmother in the aisle seat and a young woman by the window. I situated myselfBetween them and said, “Hi,” to the young woman by the window. Startled, she turned away and looked out the window. Clearly she didn’t want to talk. Again, I sent a prayer heavenward, “Lord, open the door and I’ll share.”

Five minutes into the flight, the grandmother began working on a project she was making out of yarn. I asked her, “Are you knitting or crocheting?” She answered, “I’m knitting a blanket for a new granddaughter.” She told me about her tradition of making a blanket for each new arrival in her family. This was the fifth blanket she had made this year. Before long, I had pulled out some pictures of my family, telling her about my five children. And then something wonderful happened.

The young woman to my right, who had turned away from me when I sat down, asked, “How do you do it?”

“Do what?”

“How do you manage five children? I only have one and I’m overwhelmed. I’ve been away for a week and I’m terrified of going home because I don’t know how to be a good mother. I’m so depressed; I don’t know where to turn. What should I do?”

Not surprisingly, that morning I was praying through a passage of Scripture that directly addressed the questions she was facing, as if God was saying, “Thanks for asking for the open door.

I prepared you to walk through it when we met this morning! The ball’s in your court, let’s do this together!”

The next 90 minutes flew by as I told Sharon (yes, I learned I was sharin’ with Sharon) what it means to know Jesus, how to grow in a relationship with Him, and how to find a good Bible-based church. I learned that she actually knew the Lord, but had left a good church, assuming she couldn’t go back until she fixed her problems. Engrossed in our discussion, I was unaware of my surroundings until the plane landed. I prayed with Sharon as the plane taxied to the gate and promised to pray for her as she went home.

When the plane stopped at the gate, the grandmother next to me spoke up. “I love the way you shared your faith so naturally!” I turned, unaware she had been listening. A man in the row in front of me turned and said, “Absolutely! That’s great!” All three people in his row were smiling and nodding in agreement. Then a man in the row behind me said, “I was thinking the same thing. Your faith seems to be an active part of your life. That’s very intriguing to me.” The seatmates in his row were nodding in agreement.

I had no idea my prayer would result in an opportunity to share with eight people seated around me. I just smiled and shook my head in amazement at what God did when I put the ball in His court.

Jim Rahtjen is pastor of Glenfield Baptist Church, Glen Ellyn, and is serving as chairman of the IBSA Board of Directors.

SBC President Wright announces task force to study possible SBC name change
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) | An Illinois Baptist has been named to a task force assigned by Southern Baptist Convention President Bryant Wright to study the prospect of changing the 166-year-old convention’s name.

Michael Allen, senior pastor of Uptown Baptist Church in Chicago, will serve on the task force Wright announced during the opening session of the SBC Executive Committee's Sept. 19- 20 meeting in Nashville, Tenn.

Wright said he believes the study will be helpful for two main reasons.

“First, the convention’s name is so regional,” he said. “With our focus on church planting, it is challenging in many parts of the country to lead churches to want to be part of a convention with such a regional name. Second, a name change could position us to maximize our effectiveness in reaching North America for Jesus Christ in the 21st century.”

Mattingly to join IBSA church planting team
SPRINGFIELD | John Mattingly, who currently serves as director of missions for Sinnissippi Baptist Association, will join the staff of the Illinois Baptist State Association January 1, 2012.

Mattingly, whose association recently implemented a multi-faceted church planting strategy for their region, will serve as IBSA’s Northwest Region Church Planting Director.

“John’s tenure as DOM in Sinnissippi Baptist Association has been marked by church planting activity,” said Van Kicklighter, IBSA associate executive director, church planting. “Not only has he helped the churches of the association in their efforts to be stronger and more effective, he has helped them extend the reach of the Gospel through new churches being planted in new communities.

“He also brings real experience in planting churches in rural settings. That expertise will help him as he seeks to plant churches all over the northwest corner of Illinois, and also in other rural environments around our state where we need new churches.”

Mattingly and his wife Jacki will continue to live in northwest Illinois.

“Northwest Illinois has been my home since I was five years old,” he said. “We have many communities that have little or no Gospel witness from a local church. In order to reach them, we are going to need willing churches in the region and partnering churches within the state to take the next steps to be planting churches.”
The announcement led some Executive Committee members to express concern over the possibility of a name change and of the task force being asked to serve without convention approval. Some also said the issue could be divisive. Wright responded by saying any proposed name change must be approved by messengers.

Motions to study a name change Have been presented to the convention on numerous occasions. The convention was asked in its 1999 annual session in Atlanta to conduct a “straw poll” to consider a name change. The “straw poll” was defeated on a floor vote. A motion at the 2004 annual meeting in Indianapolis to authorize the SBC president to appoint a committee to study a name change was defeated on a ballot vote (44.6 percent yes; 55.4 percent no).

Wright said he believes Southern Baptists would benefit from another ook at the question, noting, “I am going to ask this task force to consider four questions: 1) Is it a good idea, hat is, is there value in considering a name change? 2) If so, what would be a good name to suggest? 3) What would be the potential legal ramifications of a name change? 4) What would be the potential financial implications?”

Wright said he is hoping the task force will be able to provide an interim report that he can share with the SBC Executive Committee during its Feb. 20-21 meeting, with the possibility of a final report in time for the SBC annual meeting June 19-20, 2012, in New Orleans.

Any proposed name change, as well as other legal implications involved in a name change, would have to be approved by a majority of messengers at two consecutive SBC annual meetings, according to the convention’s constitution.

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