Messengers attending the Northwest Baptist Convention annual meeting welcomed eight churches into the multi-state network, adopted a $4,088,000 budget for 2024, approved a $150,000 goal for next year’s Northwest Impact Mission Offering and elected three Oregon pastors to serve as convention officers next year.
Convening Nov. 13–15 at the Great Wolf Lodge near Centralia, Washington, participants celebrated 75 years of cooperative ministry since the convention’s founding.
Speaking to the convention meeting’s theme — “Proclaim Jesus from Generation to Generation” — Randy Adams, NWBC executive director, paid tribute to Baptist leaders in the Northwest who sought to reach a diverse, growing population.
“Our convention began with a missionary effort,” he said. “Our convention was not formed by outsiders telling us what we ought to do, but by pastors and churches in the Northwest seeking ways to reach the Northwest, understanding that they needed to cooperate together to do it best.”
Messengers elected Bryan Bernard of Redemption Church in Corvallis as president. He succeeds Dan Panter of Mckenzie Road Baptist Church in Olympia, Washington, who had served as president for two terms. Messengers also elected Michael Crisp of Chehalem Valley Baptist Church in Newberg as first vice president and re-elected Chad Harms of Pathway Church in Gresham as second vice president.
In addition to 327 registered messengers — the term used for those eligible to vote on convention business items by virtue of being elected by NWBC churches — 122 adults registered as visitors participated in the three-day gathering. Together, participants represented 171 of the NWBC’s 500-plus partnering churches across Washington, Oregon, north Idaho and northern California.
The approved spending plan for next year is up $188,000 from the $3.9 million budget for 2023. It anticipates $2.7 million in Cooperative Program gifts — a reduction of$90,000 from the 2023 anticipated Cooperative Program gifts — and $300,000 in Missions NW gifts from churches. Missions NW is a relatively new revenue stream from churches designating missions giving for work in the Northwest.
Of the $2.7 in expected Cooperative Program gifts from Northwest Baptist churches, 20% of that amount — $540,000 — will be forwarded the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee for disbursement to SBC entities for missions and education causes in North America and around the world. An additional $100,000 in the budget is designated for Gateway Seminary of the Southern Baptist Convention to support work of the school’s Pacific Northwest Campus.
Funding support from the North American Mission Board next year is $100,000. That amount is for grants the NWBC requests for evangelism projects at local Northwest Baptist churches. The grants are subject to NAMB approval based on criteria established by the two entities.
The 2024 budget includes $80,000 from General Fund reserves to balance the budget, down from the $109,000 in General Fund reserves to balance the 2023 budget.
Besides the NAMB evangelism grants, Missions Northwest funds and reserves, revenue sources for next year include $150,000 from the Northwest Impact Missions Offering, more than $110,000 in restricted funds and about $647,000 from sources such as endowment earnings, investments and fees.
Following testimonies and stories highlighting key ministry efforts in Northwest Baptists’ history over the past 75 years, Bernard emphasized the need to take greater responsibility for discipling the next generation in the years ahead.
He cited an Old Testament story, in the early part of Judges 2, as a warning against failure to pass down biblical faith.
“Judges 2:10 is a terrifying verse because a generation failed to pass the faith to the next generation,” he said. “There is a challenge embedded in Scripture from Genesis all the way through Revelation — do whatever it takes to pass the faith.”
He illustrated its importance by noting each member of a running relay team must “pass the baton” effectively to win a race: “The issue for Joshua and his generation was not their faithfulness, it was not their love of God – it was the handoff.”
Living in a ‘Judges 2 moment’
Leading ministries with future generations in mind is imperative, Barnard said, pointing to recent survey data and religious statistics showing fewer and fewer young adults attending church and an increasing number leaving the church.
“We are living in our own Judges 2 moment,” he declared. “There is a generation coming and your legacy is not just in how you served this generation but how you prepared for the next and maybe your greatest contribution to kingdom of God won’t be an accomplishment today but a path forward for the generation for tomorrow.”
He urged churches and ministry leaders to answer three questions about influencing a future generation toward life with God: What’s the win? Who will you invest in? What part will you play?
In other business, messengers elected new members of the NWBC Executive Board and the Northwest Baptist Foundation board of directors. Among the eight churches welcomed into the network, those from Washington were: Grace Church Tri-Cities in Pasco, El Buen Pastor Vancouver, Yesuan Korean Baptist of Seattle, Valleypoint Marshallese in Spokane Valley, West Plains Marshallese in Medical Lake, Marysville Christian Fellowship in Marysville and West Seattle Church 35th & Cloverdale. The Oregon church welcomed into the network was Go Church PDX in Portland.
Messengers approved two resolutions offered by this year’s resolutions committee:
Resolution 1: “In light of increasing social policies that diminish the importance of family and the increasing cultural attacks on a biblical framework of family, we resolve to strongly support efforts to promote a biblical view of family as the ideal framework for raising children.”
Resolution 2: “Whereas there is continuing conflict and loss of life in Israel and the Middle East, we resolve to pray for peace in Jerusalem and throughout the region through the spread of the gospel and the powerful work of God.”
Next year’s annual meeting is Nov. 11–13 at the same location.
EDITOR’S NOTE — This story was written by Cameron Crabtree of the Northwest Baptist Convention.