The Georgia Baptist Executive Committee closed out 2015 in its Dec. 15 meeting by hearing reports and electing new officers.
Mike Stone, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Blackshear and former vice chairman, was elected chairman to succeed Bryan Alexander, pastor of Sweetwater Baptist Church in Douglasville. Andy Childs, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Toccoa, was elected vice chairman.
The state convention, which will change its name to the Georgia Baptist Mission Board on January 1, reported Cooperative Program receipts are up 1.84 percent year-to-date. That means the convention, eleven months into its budget year, has taken in $631,190.98 more than last year this time … the first increase in about three years.
The 2016 budget will be $40,600,000, a modest $200,000 increase over the current budget and the first increase in nearly seven years.
Emir Caner, president of Truett-McConnell College in Cleveland, announced that the 70-year-old institution would gain university status on May 14. That is the day the college awards its first masters degree – the master of arts in theology.
Truett-McConnell University will join Shorter University as the second of the GBC’s three educational institutions to shed its college status. Brewton-Parker College in Mount Vernon will be the sole college in the GBC network.
The TMC theology degree is the only masters level program that has been approved by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Other degrees in process of seeking approval are masters of arts in teaching, professional counseling, and business administration.
The advanced theology degree will also be offered as an online program in the Fall of 2016, Caner noted.
Evangelism meetings for 2016
In other business, Executive Committee members were reminded of the dates of the 2016 evangelism conferences. The Spring meeting, which had been moved from March due to inclement weather, will be held April 11-12 at Piedmont Baptist Church in Marietta. The Fall strategy conference will be held Sept. 19-20 at a location to be determined. For more information and updates on speakers and location visit gbcevangelismconferences.com.
Legislative Prayer Breakfast, Pastor’s Day at the capital
This year’s Legislative Prayer Breakfast will be held Jan. 27 at 7 a.m. in the Empire Room in the James H. “Sloppy” Floyd Building in downtown Atlanta. Congressman Jody Hice will be the guest speaker.
A related event, Pastors’ Day at the state capital, will be held Feb. 2 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with lunch provided. The annual meeting serves to mentor pastors in ways they can be engaged in the processes of state government.
Index Editor J. Gerald Harris acknowledged the paper’s Board of Directors who voted to disband earlier this year. Earlier this year The Index became a ministry area of the Convention and, as such, no longer needed a board to oversee its business dealings – especially in light of its ceasing its traditional print publication on Dec. 24. It has transitioned to a full online news service and no longer charges access to the website.
New print options for The Index
Harris reminded Executive Committee members that the nation’s oldest continuously published Christian newspaper will offer two versions in the new year.
A four page, black-and-white, twice-monthly PDF can be downloaded free from the website and printed out on standard 8.5 x 11 inch paper. Some churches have agreed to download and print extra copies for distribution through senior adult Sunday School classes or to place in the foyer for individuals wanting a copy to read rather than opting for an online experience.
A 12-page monthly color version of the PDF, with more content, will be available by subscription for $25. Individuals wanting the home-delivered option should call Lonette Godwin at The Index at (770) 936-5592
for more information.
Index board members honored
Harris presented plaques to board members Dan Rosser and Darey Kittle who were present at the Executive Committee meeting. Rosser, pastor of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Ellijay, began his term in 2012 and served as the board’s final chairman this year. Kittle, pastor of Salem Baptist Church in Dalton, began his term in 2014.
Other board members recognized and who will be receiving their plaques include:
• Kimberly Humphries, spouse of Chris Humphries who is pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Austell. Humphries began her term in 2011;
• Janet Jones, spouse of Ken Jones who serves as Baptist Campus Ministries director at the University of North Georgia at Dahlonega. Jones began her term in 2011;
• Danny Cochran, pastor of Holly Creek Baptist Church in Chatsworth, who began his term in 2012;
• Phil Bray, pastor of Fork Creek Baptist Church in Dearing, who began his term in 2013;
• Lane Collins, pastor of Mt. Calvary Baptist Church in Cochran, who began his term in 2013;
• Richard Walker, pastor of Macland Baptist Church in Powder Springs, who began his term in 2014;
• Paul Baxter, associational missionary for Pine Mountain Association, who began his term in 2015;
• and Charles “Chuck” Owens, pastor of First Baptist Church of Valdosta, who began his term in 2015.