Utah-Idaho Southern Baptist Convention Exceeds Goals, Plants Many Churches

The UISBC annual meeting drew about 150 people to Calvary Baptist Church in Idaho Falls, Idaho on Oct. 18. Photo by Karen Willoughby

Fifty-six churches have been started in the Utah-Idaho Southern Baptist Convention (UISBC) over the last 5 1/2 years, messengers and guests were told at the Oct. 18 annual meeting of the two-state convention.

About 200 congregations speaking in one of at least 13 languages identify with the UISBC, executive director Rob Lee said. That’s up from 48 churches when the two-state convention was organized in 1964, and includes 188 affiliated churches, church plants, pre-plant Bible studies and core teams developed by planters for Bible studies.

In other news, “We ended the 2018 budget year above budget for the third straight year,” Lee said, adding that it was 5.3 percent over budget. Half of the overage was sent to the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee for distribution to various SBC entities.

Attendance, budget and reports illustrated the health of UISBC, which met at Calvary Baptist Church in Idaho Falls, where Matt McGukin is pastor. McGukin also was president during the annual meeting as well as of the pastors’ conference that preceded it.

A total of 107 messengers from 46 churches — 61 from Idaho and 46 from Utah — and 38 guests participated in the annual meeting that had “Let There Be Light” as its theme, with 2 Corinthians 4:6 as its scriptural reference.

“We have the responsibility for reaching the people here,” said Travis Best, chairman of the UISBC Executive Board, of the two states’ nearly 5 million residents. “We’re working on it. Since Vision 2020 started [in 2014] we’ve baptized 2,600 people.”

Globally, UISBC-affiliated churches have given more than $22 million to missions through the Cooperative Program over the state convention’s history, plus more to seasonal missions offerings, Ashley Clayton told messengers. Clayton is the SBC Executive Committee’s vice president for the Cooperative Program and stewardship.

“For the first time ever, last year the Utah-Idaho Southern Baptist Convention sent more than $200,000 to the SBC for distribution to the International Mission Board, North American Mission Board, seminaries and the ERLC [Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission],” Clayton continued. “Your influence is spreading across the world.”

Clayton brought greetings from Ronnie Floyd, president and CEO of the SBC’s Executive Committee, who, Clayton said, has a passion for seeing people come into a personal relationship with Jesus.

Floyd identified “Five Keys” to transforming the culture in the SBC to further the goal of “reaching the world for Christ, whatever the cost, whatever the risk,” Clayton said. “This worldwide mission thrust must be our priority.” Those keys are:

— Living and breathing Gospel urgency

— Empowering all churches, generations, ethnicities and languages

— Telling and celebrating what God is doing

— Loving others like Jesus loves

— Prioritizing, elevating and accelerating generosity

In addition to good news, messengers also learned of hardship endured by pastors’ families, including an adopted 6-year-old son’s difficulties following a kidney transplant and an 18-month-old suffering from spina bifida. But speakers affirmed that such trials are negated by God’s provision.

“You can suffer well,” preached John Avant of Life Action Ministries at the Pastors’ Conference that preceded the UISBC annual meeting. “Don’t you ever think God isn’t at work. … When your load is heavy, remember: Jesus wants you with Him.”

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Source: Baptist Press