STATE CONFERENCES: Tennessee, BGAV | Baptist Press

TBC messengers elect officers, start Acts 2:17 initiative

By Lonnie Wilkey and David Dawson/Baptist and Reflector

CORDOVA, Tenn. (BP) – Messengers of the Tennessee Baptist Convention have adopted a $35 million budget for 2022-23, approved a second-reading constitutional amendment, renewed a missionary partnership with Guatemala, and came up with a multitude of resolutions among a multitude dealt with business conducted November 15-16 during their annual meeting at Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova.

Attendees gather at the altar for a time of prayer during Sunday evening worship at Bellevue Baptist Church, Cordova. The service was part of the “opening night” events for Summit (the annual gathering of Tennessee Baptists). Photo by James Wilson

The theme of the meeting was “Across the Streets, the States and the Seas”.

Messengers also received a final report from the Tennessee Baptist Sexual Abuse Task Force and a resource entitled, “Serving Good Service: Best Practices and Resources Related to Sexual Abuse Prevention and Response.”

The convention attracted 843 messengers and 104 visitors from 444 churches. Last year’s annual meeting at Brentwood Baptist Church, Brentwood, attracted 943 messengers. The last annual meeting in West Tennessee (2018, West Jackson Baptist Church, Jackson) attracted 934 messengers).

budget

Presenting the 2022-23 budget, Jeff Bowden, chairman of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board’s budget and service committee and associate education pastor at Forest Hills Baptist Church, Nashville, noted that the co-operative program’s giving started strong last year, but is trending returned the end of the year.

The committee decided to recommend the same budget of $35 million as last year with the same allocation percentages — 52.5 percent for TBC purposes and 47.5 percent for Southern Baptist Convention purposes.

Acts 2:17 Initiative

The Acts 2:17 initiative was officially launched during Tuesday afternoon’s (Nov. 15) session of the Tennessee Baptist Convention annual meeting. The initiative will provide an opportunity for Tennessee Baptists across the state to provide input on future state convention priorities.

Ahead of the summit, Randy C. Davis, president and executive officer of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, wrote that the initiative “may become the most momentous process in TBC’s recent history, centered on our working together to seek God’s goodness in the future for our church network.”

TBC President Clay Hallmark, who was re-elected for a second term, called the Acts 2:17 initiative “a turning point in our history. We have worked and prayed for this day,” he said.

officers

Messengers departed from tradition by re-electing Clay Hallmark, pastor of First Baptist Church, Lexington, for a second term as TBC president.

Hallmark ran unopposed and was re-elected by acclamation.

Joel Pigg, senior pastor of Salem Baptist Church, Trenton, was elected vice president and Gene Nelson, senior pastor of Russellville Baptist Church, Russellville, was elected second vice president. Pigg and Nelson both ran unopposed and were elected by acclamation.

Since 1942, TBC presidents have generally served only one year on a rotating basis in the state’s three major regions, although there have been two exceptions. Hallmark ran unopposed and was re-elected by acclamation.

Joel Pigg, senior pastor of Salem Baptist Church, Trenton, was elected vice president and Gene Nelson, senior pastor of Russellville Baptist Church, Russellville, was elected second vice president. Pigg and Nelson both ran unopposed and were elected by acclamation.

constitutional amendment

Tennessee Baptist messengers voted by a two-thirds second reading to amend the constitution to allow a church to donate messengers at the annual meeting that go only to the TBC portion of the cooperative program.

David Worley, chair of the Constitution and Bylaws Committee and pastor of Mount Gilead Baptist Church, Cedar Grove, reminded the ambassadors that the amendment does not redefine the cooperative program. “It affirms the autonomy of the local church,” Worley said.

During the discussion, Bartlett Pastor Fred Shackelford of Ellendale Baptist Church expressed support for the change, noting that the change “better reflects the Baptist community,” but encouraged Tennessee Baptists to remember that ” collaboration is important. That’s at the heart of the cooperative program,” he said.

serve well

During the afternoon session on day one, the TBC Sexual Abuse Taskforce presented its report and presented Messengers with the booklet, “Good Office: Best Practices and Resources Related to Sexual Abuse Prevention and Response.” The task force was authorized by messengers during last year’s annual meeting and appointed by TBC President Clay Hallmark.

Hallmark noted that the task force was formed with the goal of “proactively helping victims, churches and Baptists deal with the hurt, pain and challenges of sexual abuse, allegations and harassment.”

In a letter included in the pamphlet, Hallmark added that the task force’s goal “is not just to resource Baptists in Tennessee, but to equip them.”

The messengers also approved resolutions professing opposition to Tennessee casinos, sexual abuse, revival, biblical sexuality and gratitude.

The 2023 Tennessee Baptist Convention Annual Meeting will be held November 1-15 at the Chattanooga Convention Center in Chattanooga.


BGAV elects new CEO at 199th Annual Meeting

HAMPTON, Va. (BP) – The 199th Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV) meeting, held at the Hampton Roads Convention Center, ended Wednesday morning with a message of hope from Wayne Faison, the newly elected executive director of the BGAV. Shortly after being elected to the position, Faison said, “God called me to BGAV to keep hope alive! If we are able to see God for what He is, then we can keep hope alive.”

(Left to right) Adam Tyler, Wayne Faison, Carmen Faison, Allen Jessee.

Faison, who was introduced as a candidate by the executive director’s search team the morning before, said his ascension to the role was “a concurrence of appeals. As the Lord worked with the Executive Director’s search team, the Lord worked with me as well.”

He thanked the group of 476 registered participants, 314 of whom were messengers from BGAV communities, and an online virtual audience. “I don’t take that honor for granted,” he said.

This year’s annual meeting was the first in a hybrid model, with hundreds of people physically present and many others attending virtually through the BGAV’s own ChurchPoint app and event website. Personal messengers voted in Wednesday’s business session to pass an amendment to the bylaws/bylaws that will allow those who attend online in the future not only to view and participate, but also to vote remotely.

Messengers approved a 2023 budget of $8,209,800, down slightly from last year’s total of just over $8.6 million.

Also in Wednesday’s business session, messengers elected new leadership for next year. Herbert Ponder, senior pastor of Mount Tabor Baptist Church in Richmond, was elected president, succeeding outgoing President Ron Gravatt, who chaired most of the meeting.

Becky McKinney, a member of Chatham Heights Baptist Church in Martinsville, was elected first vice president. She was also honored at the event as the outgoing Chair of the BGAV Board.

Mark Hughes, pastor of West End Baptist Church in Dinwiddie, was elected second vice president. Nathan Taylor, executive director of the Virginia Baptist Historical Society, was also elected secretary for the next year.

Highlights of the event included inspirational messages from bestselling author Carey Nieuwhof, who spoke to the group twice on Tuesday. Freddy Villarreal, senior pastor of Freedom Life Church in Hampton, was also a well-known preacher. Villarreal spoke twice on Tuesday and led a segment during Wednesday’s concluding worship session.

The BGAV will celebrate its bicentenary next year at the 200th Annual Convention on November 13-15, 2023 at Mount Vernon Baptist Church in Glen Allen.

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