Springfield | The September 15 IBSA Board of Directors meeting was a mix of encouraging news about ongoing ministries and challenges facing Baptists in the state.
IBSA Executive Director Nate Adams encouraged the board to invite their fellow church members to attend the IBSA Annual Meeting and Pastors’ Conference November 1-3 in Broadview, a suburb of Chicago. The theme of this year’s conference is “Cross Culture,” which will explore the multitude of cultures and gospel opportunities available not only in Chicagoland, but also the rest of Illinois.
“We’re trying to illustrate how diverse we really are,” said Adams. “To encourage us all to cross culture, not just to understand one another, but to take the gospel into neighborhoods where we don’t usually take it. We hope this will encourage us to greater evangelism endeavor and to take the gospel to people who are not like us.”
Adams hopes the meeting will “highlight and focus on how culturally diverse Illinois Baptist churches really are…But also to inspire greater missionary efforts to encourage people to reach out to other cultures.”
Describing church planting as “perhaps the steepest uphill climb we have,” Adams reported IBSA hopes to have planted 16 new churches by the end of the year, which is nine short of the goal. “But even though we don’t have the quantity…that doesn’t mean there are not quality church plants doing some great things in our state,” he said.
“To be effective in the work we do as Illinois Baptists we could fall over to the danger of compromise,” he cautioned. “The other danger is the danger of complacency. As we seek to plant new churches we have the danger of compromise…things you see other Christian groups doing that are attracting more people like accepting homosexuality, that is a danger.”
Even with those dangers around us, he said, “What makes it worth it is the people you’re doing it with. What makes it worth it is the end of the journey.”
He also shared about significant updates to Streator Baptist Camp saying, “If you haven’t been to Streator Baptist Camp lately, you haven’t been to Streator Baptist Camp.” More than $90,000 in improvements have been made to the camp. The old bunk house has been gutted and is currently undergoing renovation.
Adams told the board the association’s newspaper, the Illinois Baptist, was named the Best Christian Newspaper in 2016 by both the Baptist Communicator’s Association and Evangelical Press Association. “No other paper has ever won these awards in the same year,” he shared.
In other business:
Members elected Mark Davis (Woodland Baptist, Peoria) to serve as Board Chair, Cliff Easter (First Baptist, Metropolis) to serve as Board Vice Chair and Luke Raczykowski (First Baptist, Carmi) to serve as Board Secretary.
Six board members ending their terms of service were presented with small thank you gifts (pictured).
Esther Eggley, ministry assistant for the Church Planting Team, was recognized for her upcoming retirement after 15 years of service.
Doug Devore, executive director of Baptist Children’s Home and Family Services, reported $266,000 was raised for the Mother’s Day Offering. The 2016 goal was $260,000. Devore, who is retiring in January after 44 years with BCHFS, also introduced his replacement, Dennis Hydrick. Hydrick began working alongside Devore Aug. 15, and will take sole responsibility for the role Jan. 15, 2017.
The board approved a new cooperative agreement with the Baptist Foundation of Illinois. The agreement provides $116,901 through the 2017 IBSA budget in the form of staffing, office space, and support services, to assist in BFI operations. BFI no longer requires additional support for travel, promotion, and other operational assistance from IBSA.
The board approved two overspends. The first, for up to $10,000 to be allowed for the properties budget related to the maintenance of the HVAC units and damaged windows at the IBSA Building. The second, for up to $40,000 due to a significant increase in the number of IBSA children’s camps (two additional week-long sessions) and the number of participants (more than 100 students) this summer, compared to the amount originally budgeted.
The board approved the 2017 Cooperative Program budget of $6.3 million, the same as in 2016. If approved by messengers at the Annual Meeting in November, IBSA will forward 43.5% of Cooperative Program monies to the Southern Baptist Convention, an increase of a quarter-point, with 56.5% remaining for missions work in Illinois.