OSAGE BEACH – Only church gifts to the Cooperative Program will count when determining the number of messengers a congregation can send to a Missouri Baptist Convention annual meeting.
Messengers to the MBC's 177th annual meeting at Tan-Tar-A Nov. 2 were asked to allow "Great Commission giving" to be counted. Because the term was not clear, the committee on continuing review amended the proposal to allow churches a messenger for every $2,500 given through CP or to MBC ministries or agencies.
"But how long can a church be part of the fellowship and not give to CP?" James Mc_Cullen of Piedmont asked.
David Krueger of Linn, author of the original proposal, explained it was intended to make Missouri consistent with the Southern Baptist Convention that, through its Great Commission Resurgence, accepts other giving options.
"But we are also living in a time when churches contribute to MBC agencies but not through CP," Krueger said.
Christian Abernatha of Warrenton argued that permitting other giving forms could allow special interest groups and individuals who only give to one entity to vote on all issues.
Also, it would open the door to a spirit of competition rather than a spirit of cooperation, John Vernon of Sikeston said.
In other action, the committee on order of business referred the only motion offered during miscellaneous business to the MBC Executive Board.
The motion, submitted by Kent Cochran of Republic, asked that the MBC president discover the status of a partnership between the MBC and Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary to fund a chair of evangelism at the institution.
The MBC had given $100,000 each year for five years that the seminary was to match. The convention needs a word from the seminary to know if the money had been used for the chair, Cochran said.
Messengers approved a Cooperative Program allocations budget of $14.5 million, with half estimated to come from giving plan A that includes the agency restoration fund to cover costs of litigation as a line item and half from giving plan B that does not include the ARF.
They approved a $750,000 budget for the Rheubin L. South Missouri Mission Offering to be distributed in 2012.
They also approved a goal of $3,750,000 for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions, $2 million for the Annie Armstrong Offering for North American Missions, $250,000 for the World Hunger Offering and a goal of $675,000 for the Missouri Mission Offering, which will be distributed in 2013.
Current convention officers were reelected to another term, including John Marshall, pastor of Second Baptist Church of Springfield, president; Wesley Hammond, pastor of First Baptist Church of Paris, first vice president; Micah Fries, pastor of Frederick Boulevard Baptist Church of St. Joseph, second vice president; and Jamie Hitt, a member of First Baptist Church of Winfield, as recording secretary.
Messengers approved a recommendation from the Committee on Convention Preacher to name Kenny Qualls, pastor of First Baptist Church at Arnold, to preach the annual sermon at the 2012 convention. Tim Cowin, pastor of The Rock Church, St. Louis, is the alternate.
Nine hundred nine individuals served as messengers to the annual meeting, with 364 visitors for a total attendance of 1,303 people representing 419 churches.