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Utah-Idaho Baptists decrease budget

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
JEROME, Idaho (BP) -- Messengers to the 47th annual meeting of the Utah-Idaho Southern Baptist Convention celebrated the theme "Building for the Future" based on Nehemiah 4:13-20 and approved a decreased budget.

A total of 144 messengers from 52 churches gathered at Northridge Fellowship in Jerome, Idaho, Oct. 25-26.

Rob Lee, Utah-Idaho's executive director, was honored for 20 years of service on the state convention staff. As a US/C-2 missionary from 1987-90, Lee was director of Baptist Campus Ministries at Utah State University before becoming director of ministry to students for the convention in 1991.

In 1996, Lee became the convention's religious education consultant, and in 2008 he was promoted to executive director. In recognition of his service, Lee was given a book of letters and cards of appreciation as well as a plaque. There was a break in the evening program for cake and personal thanks from those in attendance.

Messengers approved a 2012 budget with a decrease of 13.74 percent, from $2,480,080 in 2011 to $2,139,317 for 2012. The budget reflected a decrease of $300,000 from the North American Mission Board for joint ministries.

Cooperative Program receipts from Utah and Idaho churches are budgeted at a decrease of 9.63 percent, from $915,136 in 2011 to $826,977 in 2012. The two-state convention will continue to forward 25 percent of Cooperative Program receipts to national and international missions and ministries.


Kirk Baker, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Idaho Falls, Idaho, was elected president; Jim Panagoplos, pastor of First Baptist Church in Roy, Utah, first vice president; and Steve Winters, interim pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Hyrum, Utah, second vice president. Arie Sparkman, a member of Desert Streams Fellowship in Kuna, Idaho, was re-elected recording secretary. All were elected by acclamation.

Ergun Caner, provost and vice president of academic affairs at Arlington Baptist College, spoke at the pastors' conference and twice during the annual meeting. He said believers are to love the sheep, convert the goats and kill the wolves in churches.

Steve Bass, regional vice president for the North American Mission Board's West Region, reminded messengers that everyone comes from a church that was planted at some time. He challenged churches to send out their best for missions.

O.S. Hawkins, president of GuideStone Financial Resources, preached from Acts 9:31 on "Being Multiplied," noting that believers today have so many more resources than those in the early church. Those believers, though, did so much more with so little while having peace and walking in the fear of the Lord.


James Gregory, pastor of First Southern Baptist Church in Mountain Home, Idaho, and president of the convention, challenged messengers to build for the future with Jesus as the foundation, always preaching the cross.

The sole resolution approved by messengers expressed appreciation to the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma for sharing their people, resources and prayers throughout a five-year partnership "to the increase of God's Kingdom in Utah and Idaho."

Next year's annual meeting of the Utah-Idaho Southern Baptist Convention will be Oct. 23-24 at Canyons Church in Salt Lake City.

Bill Pepper is director of business services for the Utah-Idaho Southern Baptist Convention.

Copyright (c) 2011 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press

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