EUGENE, Oregon - Northwest Baptists allocated $3 million in funds to the Cooperative Program as part of their missions-minded initiative, during their annual convention, Nov. 11-12. The gift came as a landmark in their 56-year history, proving once again, the immense power of a generous spirit within the Christian community.
"The $3 million Cooperative Program budget is a significant milestone," said Jeff Iorg, executive director of the Northwest Baptist Convention "In a time when many other conventions and other organizations are cutting back, we are experiencing record mission giving and expansion because of the generosity of Northwest Baptists."
The NWBC leaders expressed their appreciation to the affiliated churches for their financial support during the annual meeting; nearly $2.3 million came from Southern Baptist Convention entities.
The Cooperative Program is the Southern Baptist Convention’s system of supporting missions and ministries across the United States and around the world. Nearly a third of the anticipated Cooperative Program funds, 32 percent, will continue to be forwarded to SBC missions and ministry initiatives.
In addition to the financial budgeting of missions, the 527 delegates and guests to the convention held plenary sessions on “Kingdom Growth Now,” highlighting Northwest Baptists’ involvement in regional and global missions.
“The Kingdom Growth Now testimonies were great examples of effective Northwest ministry," Iorg noted. "The meeting was a celebration by Northwest Baptists of what we do best -- focus on expanding God's Kingdom."
Speakers to the conference including seminarians and pastors, challenged the Northwest Baptists to take practical steps toward achieving Kingdom growth.
"How do we reach a generation that is so different from the one we grew up in?" asked Roy Fish, professor of evangelism at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. "Building relationships with people is the ultimate key to evangelism today,” he answered.
Ioan (John) Brisc, pastor of the second-largest Romanian church in the United States located in Portland, asked his audience to consider their part in the Kingdom of God. Brisc outlined his concern that Christians today don't know who they are, where their loyalties belong and what their priorities should be.
"The heart of the problem is a problem of the heart," said Brisc.
During the convention’s final session, Iorg spoke via telephone to several Northwest missionaries serving around the world.
As Iorg contacted Brent and Jennifer Waldrep in Brazil, the audience listened and viewed slides of the Waldreps’ ministry.
"God is teaching us about his love for every person in our region," Brent said.
Iorg also talked via satellite phone with the most recently appointed Northwest missionaries, David and Julie Yngsdal, who fielded the call while in the air en route to South Africa.
In other business, the delegates elected Stan Hughes, pastor of Richland Baptist Church, to a one-year term as president, and Tim Foster, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Dalles, Ore., as vice president.