In a reminder that the Covid-19 pandemic has not yet ended, the Illinois Baptist State Association Board of Directors met virtually for its fall meeting. Board members heard a report from IBSA Executive Director Nate Adams regarding the network’s efforts to assist churches through changing times, voted to send the 2022 budget to messengers at the Annual Meeting, and made other decisions.
The September 14 board meeting was to have been held in-person at the IBSA Building in Springfield. after some staff members contracted the highly contagious Delta variant of Covid following an August 31 staff retreat, the Board meeting was moved online.
In his report to the Board, Adams discussed how IBSA, like its member churches, continues to respond to the pandemic. IBSA has provided Church Relief Fund grants to 15 member churches requesting assistance totaling over $41,000. Cooperative Program giving through churches is up 5% over 2020, but down 5% from the same time in 2019.
Due to the ongoing effects of the pandemic, Adams described the 2021 goal updates as “a mixed bag.” He noted as many churches and other organizations have reported, IBSA’s online connections are in a somewhat “lackluster phase due to so many people having online fatigue. Not as many people are connected that way as they were the previous year.”
While thankful to have Streator and Lake Sallateeska Baptist Camps reopened with safety measures, he said camp attendance was down by about half. “We’re glad to have camps back, but certainly have taken a hit from the Corona virus,” Adams said. He noted the inability to lead church planting activity and organize mission trips “has hit us hard.” IBSA does have a strong affiliation pool, with at least 10 churches applying for membership at the IBSA Annual Meeting in November.
Adams described IBSA’s work as changed not only by the pandemic, but by what churches are saying they need. Shifting needs are changing “how we’re doing things dramatically.”
IBSA is completing its second year with vision consultation firm Denomineea and its director, Will Mancini. “Churches are telling us they need help moving from where they are to the next step,” Adams said. With Denominee, IBSA staff members who relate directly to churches are working on the idea of next step conversations. That includes “mapping out a process from where they are to the next step in the process, and then help them to execute it,” Adams said.
IBSA staff, starting with zone consultants, will consult with a many church leaders on this in 2022. The goal is “to have a transformational upside-down inside-out approach. It’s not just about what programs we ought to be doing.” It’s about meeting the church leader “where my challenge is, and getting me unstuck from where my problem is.”
Adams stressed, “We are openly, but cautiously trying to customize what we’re hearing from our consultants, because we don’t want to throw out things that are working for our churches.”
Annual Meeting preview
Adams also told the Board, the theme for the November 3-4 IBSA Annual Meeting in Springfield is “Thrive.” The theme “speaks to the season our churches are in while moving from Covid pandemic into new stage of life.”
Lifeway President and Illinois native Ben Mandrell, will speak at the Annual Meeting. He will encourage pastors who are in a season of exhaustion and spiritual depletion. IBSA President Heath Tibbetts will bring the President’s Message and Lincoln Avenue Baptist Church Pastor Jeremey Byrd will deliver the Annual Meeting Sermon.
The meeting will celebrate 50 years since the Association’s relocation from Carbondale to the center of the state. IBSA staff first occupied the new building in September 1971, and the dedication was held in November.
The IBSA Board approved the following motions to be sent to messengers at the IBSA Annual Meeting in November:
- 2022 Cooperative Program Goal of $6,200,000 and a Cooperative Program ratio of 56.5%/43.5% (IBSA/SBC), excluding shared expenses not to exceed 10% of the Cooperative Program Goal, and with Cooperative Program funds received beyond the budget goal to be distributed at a ratio of 50%/50%.
- Amendment for a first reading in the IBSA Constitution, ARTICLE VII, Section 8. To insert the words which appear here in quotes: They (Board Members) shall serve “no” more than two consecutive terms in any “one” elected board office.
- Approved a motion to share possible architectural plans to finish the first-floor renovation of the IBSA building.
Board members also approved a new conflict of interest policy which allows board members to receive honoraria for leading any IBSA function totaling less than $600 per year.
The Board recognized Executive Assistant Barb Troeger for 10 years of service with IBSA.
Adams and the Board thanked the outgoing officers for their service during the 2020-21 term. They are Chair Andy Dewitt, Vice-Chair Tim Rhodus, and Secretary Mike Jameson. Additional members rotating off the Board recognized and thanked were Alma Bonner (2015-2021), Danny Donato (2015-2021), Tim Rhodus (2016-2021), Jacqueline Scott (2015-2021), and Jay Simala (2014-2021)
The Board elected new officers for 2021-2022. They are:
- Chair – Jeff Logsdon, pastor of Island City Baptist Church in Wilmington
- Vice Chair — Bruce Kirk, pastor of Alpha Baptist Church in Bolingbrook
- Secretary – Terry Foster, deacon at First Baptist Church in Metropolis
Board committee officers were elected. They are:
Strategic Planning Committee
Chair Luke Henry
Vice Chair Noah Lee
Secretary Jeanette Cloyd
Resource Development Committee
Chair Bob Dyer
Vice Chair Sherrie Harlow
Secretary Jerry Higdon