With the theme "Living Abundantly," messengers heard from David Uth, pastor of First Baptist Church in Orlando, who preached from Acts 27 on the need for pastors to stay focused.
The Oct. 1-2 annual meeting was preceded by a Pastor's Conference led by Curtis Crow, pastor of The Bridge in Belgrade, Mont., and Sal Sberna, pastor of Metropolitan Baptist Church in Houston, Texas. Sberna told how shifting his church ministries to center on biblical discipleship helped heal him and his church after he suffered from personal burnout and depression.
A pastors' wives luncheon was well-attended. Guest speaker Mary Belcher, who has been in ministry with her husband more than 50 years, encouraged wives on how to endure the ups and downs of ministry.
During the annual meeting, messengers adopted a 2014 budget of $1,054,000, an increase of $81,000 over the current year. The new budget anticipates $499,000 in Cooperative Program giving from Montana Baptist congregations, and the state convention will forward 24 percent to national and international missions and ministries, an increase of 1 percent.
Bruce Speer, pastor of Crosspoint Community Church in Missoula, was elected president of the convention, with Steve Young, pastor of South Hills Baptist Fellowship in Montana City, elected as vice president.
"I am honored to serve our churches of Montana. Our annual meeting was a real success, and we enjoyed a great spirit of unity," Speer said.
Mark Arbaugh was recognized for 25 years of service at the Baptist Campus Ministry at Montana Tech in Butte.
Tom Hellams, a vice president at LifeWay Christian Resources, announced the opening of LifeWay's first retail outlet in Montana, made possible by LifeWay Christian Stores' recent purchase of the Berean Bookstore chain, including a store in Billings.
Frank Page, president of the SBC Executive Committee, offered encouragement and challenged each Montana Baptist church to increase Cooperative Program giving by 1 percentage point of their budget.
Messengers also heard from representatives from the North American Mission Board, International Mission Board and GuideStone Financial Resources.
Next year's annual meeting will be Oct. 7-8 in Billings.
Based on information provided by the Montana Southern Baptist Convention staff.
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