HESSTON, Kan. — Business, preaching, reports and fellowship highlighted the annual gathering of American Baptist Churches of the Central Region — covering Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas — at their conference center in Hesston, Kan., Oct. 17-18.
In a brief business session, delegates elected Ron Smith from Elm Grove Baptist Church in Paola, Kan., as president-elect for the coming year and a list of others who will serve in various board and committee assignments for the coming year. They also approved a $1,021,270 budget for 2015.
President Jo Templin of Woodlawn Baptist Church in Wichita, Kan., underscored the value of the people across the region who help churches work toward the mission of “growing healthy churches to fulfill Christ’s mission.”
The structure of the region is such that many will not have personal, or face-to-face, contact with members of the regional staff or board members, she said. But area moderators keep leaders informed of the praises and the needs of the region’s congregations.
She also commended area committees who plan events and vision teams in areas of administration/finance, Christian education, communications, mission and stewardship, church planting evangelism and transformation and professional church leadership.
“I know there are many other people, partnerships, foundations and organizations; without them, the Central Region wouldn’t be able to carry out its mission,” she said. “We thank all of those who are connected to us and pray for our continued strong ties.”
Citing Paul’s letter to the Colossians, Templin promised that the region’s board would “pray for you in the local church, your knowledge of his will and to God to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding,” she pledged. “The Central Region exists for the local church. The church is still God’s plan for God’s eternal purposes. The church is the main thing.”
She encouraged delegates to encourage each other and urged churches to share resources to aid each other whenever possible.
“I pray that as we seek God’s vision and purpose and abide in his will, we as Central Region will be encouraged today and know that God’s Spirit is with us,” she said. “I know that God has sustained us as a region for ministry through your financial support, through your volunteer efforts, through your participation and partnerships.
“Join me in saying, ‘Be strong Central Region; be strong church, be strong people of God,’” Templin said.
“And now, get to work for the Spirit of the Lord remains with us.”