Baptist General Conference Annual Meeting

The BGC is a fellowship of like-minded churches who are banded together in a “United Mission for Christ.” At the annual meeting four weeks ago in San Diego 23 new churches were added to this fellowship to bring the number to 793. The budget that was passed by the delegates (including 11 from Bethlehem) looks like this:

World Mission $2,764,300 46.30%
Bethel College/Sem. 1,148,400 19.24%
Home Missions 1,130,800 18.94%
Christian Education 379,000 6.35%
General Secretary’s Office 287,000 4.81%
The Standard 76,000  1.27%
Planning Giving 102,300 1.71%
Communications Debt Service 82,500 1.38%
  $5,970,300 100%
World Relief  $175,000  

1,513 delegates and visitors at the meeting heard Lee Eliason from Bethel Seminary and Earl Radmacher, president of Western Conservative Baptist Seminary, preach at the morning and evening worship services. The messages that stood out to me were Rev. Eliason’s word about how Jesus treated people differently according to their need (Peter the failure was restored; Mary the clinger was admonished to let go; Thomas the doubter was given evidence), and Dr. Radmacher’s word from John 13:34-35 on how powerful is the witness of a loving community of believers.

Bernie Travaille was the moderator at the annual meeting and Virgil Olson will fill that post next year in Kalamazoo, Michigan. There was a resolution to recommend a bilateral nuclear arms freeze. Instead of voting on it the resolution was tabled (where it died).

At each of the two annual meetings that I have been to since coming to Bethlehem we have had a special Bethlehem get-together. These are delightful times. The idea was tossed out that maybe we should build on this in Kalamazoo next year and have a scheduled luncheon for everyone in the Conference with roots at Bethlehem Baptist Church. We could provide the lunch and present our current ministry and have a happy reunion. What do you think? It would be a BGC first, I think.

Good to be back,

Pastor John

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