Iowa Baptists Cast Vision for Reaching the State Through Ministry

The 2018 Baptist Convention of Iowa (BCI) Annual Meeting was held Nov. 10 at the Hilton Garden Inn in West Des Moines. A total of 121 messengers and 33 guests represented 52 churches at the meeting.

Keynote speaker Wes Searcy, president of Next Worldwide, urged messengers to pursue authenticity and accountability in their leadership roles and to become “World Christians.” What does it mean to be a “world Christian”? Searcy challenged messengers to focus on their ministries and what God is doing in Iowa, but also to keep their eyes toward all “ethne” at the same time. Searcy asked messengers, “Are you ready to surrender to God whatever he asks of you?”

BCI Executive Director Tim Lubinus announced that BCI churches increased weekly attendance 50 percent over the last five years and that BCI churches baptized more than 1,000 people over the last year. Lubinus stated that Cooperative Program giving has been strong, with a 400 percent increase over the last five years, from $99,000 in 2013 to $401,000 in the year ending Sept. 30, 2018.

Lubinus also reported on staff changes this year to increase BCI impact in supporting pastors, developing pastor peer learning groups, communication systems, communication support for churches and BCI organizational support. Kari Minter joined the BCI staff this year as planter spouse care advocate to encourage and support church planter’s wives.

Lubinus informed messengers about a new initiative in overseas ministry through the Daniel Project. The goal of the Daniel Project is to recruit, train, and send near-culture Christians to engage in evangelism and church planting in difficult areas, predominantly in Central Asia. The new initiative invites Iowa pastors and church leaders on a one-week vision trip and to support the ministry as a church partner with monthly giving.

Chase Abner, lead church planting catalyst told the messengers, “I always say that church planting in Iowa is necessary, exciting and possible, but we need local churches to see that the next generation of planting leaders are sitting in their pews today.”

Abner also noted that BCI churches have started 18 new churches together over the past five years but that there is still much work to be done. Abner challenged local churches to “raise up the next generation of church planting leaders.”

The Executive Board approved a grant at the September board meeting to use a significant portion of BCI reserves for new projects in developing new leaders as church planters in the state. The projects would support and encourage pastors and help better mobilize and support cross-cultural missionaries sent from BCI affiliated churches.

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Source: Baptist Press