The convention currently owns an office unit in a condo-business park in Urbandale in the Des Moines area. Space considerations prompted the need for a move to quarters with larger conference facilities and more storage. Three former church properties, in Waterloo, Davenport and Cedar Falls, also will be sold to finance the purchase and move to a new convention building. Any overage will be designated for church planting efforts.
At present the convention has not obtained a site or a building for purchase and relocation, but Jimmy Barrentine, BCI executive director-treasurer, said it now will have the authority to purchase and sell property as opportunities arise. The primary offices of the convention will continue to be located in the greater Des Moines area.
Ted Keys, pastor of Community Southern Baptist Church in Waterloo, was elected president of the convention after serving as first vice president the past year. Dan Wiersema, the outgoing president and pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Cedar Rapids, declined nomination for the traditional second term due to church and family considerations.
Also elected were Eugene Guthrie, pastor of Crestwood Baptist Church, as first vice president and Eric Schumacher, pastor of Northbrook Baptist Church in Cedar Rapids, as second vice president. Jean Johnson, a member of Rolling Hills Community Church in Ft. Dodge, was re-elected as convention secretary. All officers were elected without opposition.
A ministry plan including a budget of $1,747,785 and anticipated Cooperative Program gifts of $113,288 from Iowa's churches was approved. The budget is up just over .1 percent from the current year and will continue to forward 20 percent of Cooperative Program receipts for SBC causes, with 80 percent to be utilized for Iowa Baptist ministries. Convention officials noted that the convention relies heavily on financial support from the North American Mission Board, LifeWay Christian Resources, GuideStone Financial Resources, Woman's Missionary Union and a partnership with the Tennessee Baptist Convention.
Messengers adopted resolutions in appreciation for faithful pastors and for godly wives of pastors; in appreciation to the Baptist Convention of Iowa staff; and making a fresh commitment to fulfilling the Great Commission and to the new Southern Baptist national evangelism strategy, God's Plan for Sharing. All resolutions were adopted without opposition.
In his presidential address, Wiersema spoke from 2 Corinthians 4:7-15 on "Treasure in Clay Jars." He described the imperfect vessels that God's people are as they carry the possessions and talents entrusted to them by the Lord. Wiersema recounted the day when, as a Texas Baptist church's pastor of senior adults, he turned 40 and a lady said to him, "Preacher boy, I want you to know that from this day forward the pain does not go away, it just moves around." Wiersma said Christians are to "die daily," referencing 1 Corinthians 15:30-31, as they exist in imperfect vessels to always add to God's glory.
"All of our lives we carry all this around in clay vessels or 'leaky buckets,'" Wiersema said. He told of a senior lady who was physically disabled from polio who would walk with a distinctive gait due to her leg braces. He could never remember a time when he did not see her without a smile.
"She had such a way of clunking into the church and spreading joy with her leaky bucket."
Wiersema challenged messengers with the question, "Will you take your leaky bucket and sprinkle around water to give life to flowers along the path?"
Barrentine, in his annual report as BCI executive director-treasurer, recognized employees and wives who have completed milestones in service to the convention: Richard and Rachel Nations, 15 years, and Jon and Mindy Jamison, Roger and Missy Graves and James and Kathy Robinson, 10 years.
Barrentine said he is proud to be an "Iowa Baptist." Commenting on the diversity of churches in the state, he asked the convention to praise God for every size of church, large and small. The diversity in ethnicity and typology of the convention's churches is a joy, he said, surveying the convention crowd and noting Korean, Spanish, Bosnian, Italian, French and German backgrounds among them.
Barrentine also noted that the Lord is giving Iowa Baptists the gift of impatience with what is. He told of finding a germinating seed in an apple he had cut open and planting it in a terrarium. Barrentine said he is hoping to plant the seedling tree so that future generations will be able to enjoy its fruit. He expressed the hope that future Iowans will benefit from the Gospel seeds Iowa Baptists are planting.
In concluding, Barrentine led the convention to observe a moment of prayer in memory of the late Shelba Harmonson and Lois Lamborn, for whom the convention sessions were dedicated. Their surviving husbands, Ross Harmonson and Richard Lamborn, retired BCI missionaries were recognized. Lamborn is the BCI state missions director emeritus and Harmonson is the retired director of missions for the Northwest and Southwest Baptist Associations and currently interim pastor of Ninth Street Baptist Church in Spencer.
Ken Livingston, pastor of First Grace Baptist Church in Sheffield, preached the convention sermon. Reports from SBC entities and several Baptist organizations rounded out the convention sessions.
The credentials committee reported there were 130 messengers from 49 churches and 50 guests. The Baptist Convention of Iowa has 105 churches and missions.
Next year's annual meeting will be Nov. 5-6 in Des Moines at the Holiday Inn and Suites.
Richard Nations is publications editor of The Iowa Baptist, newspaper of the Baptist Convention of Iowa.
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