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Northwest Baptists increase CP giving

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
EUGENE, Ore. (BP) -- Northwest Baptist Convention messengers elected Oregon pastor Steve Schenewerk as president, welcomed 11 churches into affiliation and approved a $5.1 million budget for next year that eliminates 13 staff positions but increases funding for Southern Baptist Convention causes worldwide.

With "Courage, Call & Community" as its theme, the convention's 64th annual gathering drew 302 messengers and 73 visitors to Eugene, Ore.

Schenewerk, pastor of Community Baptist Church in Winston, garnered a slim majority of the 150 ballots cast for president over two other nominees -- Walt Kellcy, pastor of First Baptist Church in Lakewood, Wash., and Dale Jenkins, pastor of Airway Heights (Wash.) Baptist Church.

Messengers then elected Jenkins first vice president and Dale Braswell, pastor of LifePoint Church in Lynwood, Wash., second vice president.

Without discussion, messengers approved next year's budget, which represents a 4.85 percent decrease from the current year's budget. The 2012 budget anticipates $2,840,000 in Cooperative Program gifts from Northwest churches. The CP gifts comprise almost 56 percent of the spending plan.

Additional revenue for the overall 2012 NWBC budget includes nearly $1,729,000 from the North American Mission Board, nearly $64,000 from LifeWay Christian Resources and another $467,000 from the convention's regional offering and other budgeted sources.

The reductions in NWBC staff positions -- 10 of them jointly funded missionaries -- result primarily from reduced financial support from NAMB and restricting it mostly to church-planting ministries.

"Some of the changes we are making are not of our choosing but they are changes we had to make," Bill Crews, the convention's executive director, said. He noted that NAMB in the past provided financial support for broader ministries such as evangelism and church health but the entity plans to shift its focus to church planting.


With further cuts expected from NAMB, Crews said, convention leaders needed to find a way to continue funding convention personnel for the broader scope of ministries. In the new budget, NWBC will solely fund four staff positions focused on church health.

"In order to live up to the mission -- helping churches attain spirit vitality and in church planting -- we need some people on our regional staff qualified to assist churches that need help," Crews said. "In order to do that, it means we're going to lose some of the people on our staff."

In all, 13 jointly funded field staff positions and support staff positions at the NWBC's Vancouver, Wash., office were eliminated in the 2012 budget.

While the 2012 budget is lower than the current year's, it increases by 1 percent the CP funds percentage forwarded to the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee for disbursement to SBC ministries worldwide. The SBC will receive 26.5 percent ($752,600) of NWBC CP funds. Another $178,800 of the Cooperative Program portion of the budget will support operation of the Pacific Northwest Campus of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Vancouver, Wash.

Messengers also approved a $140,000 goal for the convention's regional mission offering in 2012. Gifts to the Sylva Wilson Mission Offering, named in memory of one of the Northwest's early Woman's Missionary Union leaders, will be allocated evenly between church planting efforts and leadership development ministries.


In other business, messengers approved 11 churches in Washington and Oregon for affiliation with the convention and adopted 10 resolutions.

Among the resolutions were statements affirming the convention's mission and goals; urging prayer for the new president of the International Mission Board; supporting U.S. military personnel and their families; highlighting the need to pray for political leaders and forthcoming elections; acknowledging God's provision in the midst of the country's economic downturn and the need for faithfulness to biblical stewardship; appealing for political involvement and advocacy for biblical values in public policy related to religious liberty, pro-life and traditional family concerns; and pledging prayer support for longtime NWBC ministry leaders experiencing significant health concerns and for churches without pastors.

During his final message as president, Scott Brewer of Meadowbrook Church in Redmond, Wash., emphasized the importance of boldness in ministry "as God does a moving thing among us, across the Pacific Rim and the world."

With a quick survey of the history of Christianity, Brewer noted the importance of sharing the message of Christ with others, of making time to serve people outside of church activities, of giving financially to support the church's evangelistic efforts and of praying for "God's Kingdom to come down in our midst" so people can see God's activity among them.


"It's our time, it's our day," Brewer said. "While we draw breath, let's see God do everything He purposes to do in our time."

During the convention sermon, Jon Fredricks of Discovery Community Church in Tacoma, Wash., urged leaders to wait on God to "get in on the inside" of what He is doing.

Referring to Acts 8, Fredricks said Simon saw God working in the lives of others and tried to "buy the Spirit of God" and copy what others were doing.

"It doesn't happen that way," Fredricks said. "You cannot want it in; you have to wait it in."

He urged messengers to wait on God in four ways: in close relationship with Him, in loving ways toward others, with endurance and with hope.

"When God wants to move in a generation, a city, a church, He looks for men who wait close," Fredricks said. "Relationship with the Father should be so close."

Fredricks cited 1 Corinthians 13 as an example of the qualities leaders should exhibit: "God looks for men who wait with love to transform a city, a church."

Waiting on God through tough times and hard work allows leaders to play a role when others experience difficulty, he said.

"There'll be a time when your neighbor is soft to the Spirit," Fredricks said. "Will you be there? Will you have clocked in the hours when your city goes through a tragedy?"

He also noted the importance of hope in ministry.

"As pastors and leaders we are the bearers of a precious commodity -- it's called hope," he added. "When people show up in your life and church, they're looking for hope. They want to look in your eyes and believe there's a reason they are a part" of what's happening in ministry.


Next year's annual meeting will be Nov. 13-14 at a yet-to-be-selected location.

Cameron Crabtree is editor and Sheila Allen is managing editor of the Northwest Baptist Witness, (, newsjournal of the Northwest Baptist Convention.

Copyright (c) 2011 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press

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