Uniting around a theme and common purpose of “Reaching the Northland,” Baptists from Minnesota and Wisconsin gathered for their 36th annual meeting Oct. 25-26 at Highland Crest Baptist Church in Green Bay, Wis.
The annual meeting registered 94 messengers from 66 of the convention’s 204 churches. Including 52 guests, total attendance was 146.
Jonathan Woodyard, second vice president of the Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention, set the tone for the meeting with a Bible study on Philippians 1:1-5, emphasizing the themes of joy and partnership that are found throughout that letter and pointing out that MWBC is “a Gospel partnership.”
“The partnership is what gives rise to the joy,” said Woodyard, who is pastor of Northfield (Minn.) Community Church.
Woodyard said he finds convention and other denominational meetings exciting because he sees them as gatherings of church leaders who are seeking to link arms to accomplish a mission.
“Why do we get together for associational, state and Southern Baptist Convention meetings?” he asked, then answered, “The partnership is for the purpose of an advance of the Gospel.”
Messengers once again increased the percentage of Cooperative Program gifts forwarded to the SBC, this time from 35 percent to 36 percent. They approved a 2020 budget of $1,520,175, a 2.3 percent increase over the 2019 budget of $1,486,075.
MWBC anticipates receiving about 38.8 percent of its budget — $590,000 — from the churches through the Cooperative Program. Other sources of income include the North American Mission Board, LifeWay Christian Resources, special missions offerings, designated gifts and interest.
Of the money received through the Cooperative Program, MWBC will forward 36 percent ($212,000) to the Southern Baptist Convention. For several years MWBC has been increasing the percentage forwarded to SBC. The percentage was 35 percent in the current 2019 budget, 32 percent in 2018, 22 percent in 2017, 20 percent in 2016, and 17 percent in 2015.
Ashley Clayton, vice president of the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, reported to the messengers that through the years MWBC has given more than $15 million through the Cooperative Program.
All current officers were re-elected: president Chris Heng, pastor of TwinCity Hmong Baptist Church in St. Paul, Minn.; first vice president Bob Stine, pastor of Midvale Baptist Church in Madison, Wis.; second vice president Jonathon Woodyard, pastor of Northfield Community Church in Northfield, Minn.; recording secretary Wes Shemwell, member of Midvale Baptist Church in Madison, Wis.; and assistant recording secretary Jim Gress, member of Southtown Baptist Church in Bloomington, Minn.
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Source: Baptist Press