ROACH — Hope was the theme for the Churchnet (Baptist General Convention of Missouri) annual meeting — permeating sermons, music and workshops — April 1-2.
Meeting at Windermere Baptist Conference Center, the Share Hope Summit featured Wallace Hartsfield II, pastor of Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church in Kansas City and director of Central Baptist Theological Seminary's Urban Core Initiative.
Using parables from Matthew 25:14-46, Hartsfield challenged listeners to provide the hope the world needs today. "This world absolutely needs hope," he said. "And the church needs to be that hopeful summit."
The pastor argued that the two parables compare God's economic system with the world's. "Maybe the kingdom of God — his presence, power and provision — is calling us to a new economic model," he said.
Churchnet President Doyle Sager, pastor of First Baptist Church of Jefferson City, encouraged attendees to concentrate on the permanent, not on the provisional.
With Mark 12:28-34 as his text, Sager emphasized God is one. Believers are to love him and to love one another. "The church needs to get over itself to get to the place where the church is loving God and loving its neighbor," he said.
"There is hope in Jesus Christ.... When we start loving God and loving our neighbors, there's hope, there's hope."
Participants heard from Carol Bercian of Guatemala at the Churchnet annual mission banquet on Friday evening. She directs the Tabitha Ministry that reaches out to people living in and on the edges of the city dump in Guatemala City.
The ministry provides a safe environment for at-risk children and offers early childhood education and care. In addition, it serves the children's mothers, providing job skills training and selling products the women produce. The ministry also shares the gospel and offers discipleship training.
Banquet attendees were challenged to reach a $10,000 goal to support Churchnet's training ministry in Guatemala. Any monies received over the goal will go to support the Tabitha Ministry. By the end of the two-day meeting, participants had raised $9,520 in funds and pledges.
In addition, the summit featured three panel-led workshops to share hope through relational evangelism, through congregational-based ministry and through community advocacy. Panel members shared how they and their churches are impacting lives in their communities. The three workshops stressed relationship building as the first key to effective evangelism and ministry.
During a short business session, participants approved changes in the organization's constitution and bylaws, including eliminating a specific dollar amount that an individual or church must contribute to be a voting member. Under the approved change, any church or person who contributes to the budget during the year may vote during annual sessions.
Voting members also approved a $460,000 board of directors budget for 2011-2012 and set a state missions offering goal at $18,000.
(See the April 14 print edition of Word&Way for complete coverage.)