SBTC board calls ministry staff, grants funds for gospel work

ARLINGTON—The Executive Board of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention elected two ministry associates and approved $650,000 in grants from reserve funds for gospel work in India and Montreal, and dorm expansion at Jacksonville College.

During the board’s spring meeting on April 29 in Arlington, they also approved affiliation requests for 55 churches while removing affiliation for 41 churches, 38 of which have disbanded. Three others disaffiliated.

Through the end of March, Cooperative Program receipts were $6,658,338—$41,044 below budget but comparable to last year through March, Joe Davis, chief financial officer, reported.

The board elected Wes Hinote as minister-church relations (MCR) associate and Lance Beaumont to fill a vacancy as church ministries associate.

Hinote serves as pastor of First Baptist Church of Plum Grove and has served in student and music ministry in other Texas churches. A native of Orange, Hinote will help connect younger pastors with the convention’s work through the SBTC’s Forge ministry among other duties, MCR Director Heath Peloquin told the board.

Hinote holds a bachelor’s degree from Dallas Baptist University, a master of divinity from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary and a master of arts in expository preaching from Louisiana College.

Hinote and his wife Rhonda have two daughters.

Beaumont will fill a vacancy left by Ken Lasater, now serving as music minister at First Baptist Bowie, and will facilitate the needs of churches in worship arts, music education and worship technology. He serves as associate professor of music and worship at Northwest Christian University in Eugene, Ore.

Beaumont has served numerous Texas churches, most recently from 2007-2012 as associate worship leader at Coggin Avenue Baptist Church in Brownwood while serving as assistant professor of music at Howard Payne University. He holds a bachelor of music and a master of music in guitar performance from Texas Christian University and is completing a doctor of music education at Boston University.
Beaumont and his wife Brandy have three children.

MINISTRY GRANTS
The ministry grants include $300,000 to help with construction of new dormitory space at Jacksonville College, an associate degree-granting institution affiliated with the SBTC.

College President Mike Smith told the board the dorms will help accommodate student population growth at the East Texas school. Describing the college as a mission field, Smith told of seven students who made professions of faith during weekly chapel this year and students from all over the world who are hearing the gospel, some for the first time.

Smith said Oklahoma City-based Hobby Lobby purchased nine acres adjacent to the school in December with plans to sell it to the college after one year for $1. The family-owned arts and crafts chain gives away millions of dollars annually, mostly to Christian causes.

The board also approved $250,000 to the Canadian National Baptist Convention for a church multiplication center in Montreal, Quebec, one of the North American Mission Board’s SEND focus cities where former SBTC missions associate Chad Vandiver serves as NAMB’s church planting coordinator.

Vandiver and his Montreal pastor, David Pothier, shared with the board how five new Montreal churches baptized 170 converts last year. Nine churches have been planted in the last two years including La Chappelle Church, where Vandiver is a member.

A year ago the church consisted of four people meeting in a living room. At Easter, more than 700 people worshiped together. The church baptized 100 people in the last year.

SBTC Executive Director Jim Richards told the board his trip to Montreal in December evidenced “a move of God that I haven’t seen since the Jesus movement of the ’70s,” with many young people coming to saving faith.

The goal is to plant, over five years, 50 healthy, reproducing churches throughout seven cities in Quebec, where only one-half of 1 percent is identifiably evangelical.

The mainly French-speaking province is home to nominally Catholic natives as well as immigrants from Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist countries.

A third grant of $100,000 was designated for the Indian Baptist Society of Bangalore, India, to accommodate increased ministry in training and equipping pastors and church leaders. The society’s training center works in concert with International Mission Board missionaries.

FINANCIAL REPORT
Davis told the board that January was strong but CP giving tapered off some since then. All told, CP giving is nearly on budget pace, however. With CP gifts, other income streams and under spending, the net operating income through March was $490,402.

CP receipts through the end of 2013 finished just $4,803 shy of the $25,919,116 budget, and were $708,956 ahead of 2012 receipts, Davis said.

Total net operating income for 2013 was $1,969,289.

EXECUTIVE REPORT
Addressing the board, Richards reminded them that the convention staff serves “at the pleasure of the churches” and the convention is not merely a doctrinal entity but exists to further the Great Commission through the funding mechanism of the Cooperative Program. Through it, Baptist churches collaborate in a state, national and international strategy to reach the nations.

Richards said that while some churches have increased their CP giving, others are pulling back. He said he is “heartbroken” that there are Southern Baptists “standing in line to go overseas” but there is not enough money to send them.

According to the IMB’s latest count on April 7, there were 4,810 missionaries under support—a drop from the previous decade when the force exceeded 5,000.

OTHER BUSINESS
The board amended a longstanding succession plan for the executive director to reflect the current staff structure. Among other things, when the old plan was approved, the board had allocated funds for an associate executive director—a position that was never filled. The funding was eventually reallocated but the succession plan was never updated to reflect current staff.

The amended plan also designates the group that would appoint an interim executive director, who would be elected on a majority vote of the Executive Board chairman, vice chairman, and convention president. An interim executive director would not be eligible for election as executive director.

TEXAN Correspondent
Jerry Pierce
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