Prayer rally, Holy Spirit theme mark SBTC meeting
AUSTIN, Texas (BP) -- A three-day emphasis on the Holy Spirit concluded with a citywide prayer rally, music led by Christian recording artist Jeremy Camp and the conclusion of a six-part series through Romans 8 during the 2016 Bible Conference & Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.
An interdenominational group of pastors from local churches in Austin led convention messengers and guests in focused times of prayer during the rally and worship service. Prayers focused on repentance, pleas for revival and spiritual awakening, government leaders and healthy churches.
Throughout the course of the annual meeting, six different speakers preached expositional sermons sequentially through Romans 8, emphasizing the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. In the final session, Houston's First Baptist Church pastor Gregg Matte served as the anchor as he preached from verses 31-39 to describe how victory over death gives way to intimacy with God. (A recap of the series is posted by the Southern Baptist TEXAN at http://texanonline.net/archives/5488.)
Messengers passed seven resolutions during the meeting, addressing racial reconciliation; prayer for government leaders and civil discourse; religious liberty; orphan care; meeting needs of those with disabilities; prayer and evangelism; and appreciation to Great Hills Baptist Church for hosting the meeting. (The TEXAN story on the resolutions and their full text is posted at http://texanonline.net/archives/5481.)
Motions, budget, elections
James Jordan, a messenger from Northeast Houston Baptist Church, presented a motion asking the convention to "explore the process and changes which would need to occur in our structures and bylaws in order to permit the use of video venue locations for our annual meeting to include full participation from remote locations around the state, including motions, resolutions, voting and every other aspect of the SBTC annual meeting." The Committee on Order of Business referred the motion to the convention's Executive Board.
Messengers approved a 2017 budget of $28,159,810, a 1.5 percent increase from 2016. This budget is funded by $27,807,810 in Cooperative Program gifts and $352,000 from partnerships with the North American Mission Board and LifeWay Christian Resources.
The convention continues to send 55 percent of its budget to SBC Cooperative Program missions and ministries -- the highest percentage of any Baptist state convention -- while designating 45 percent for Cooperative Program initiatives in Texas.
All three officers were up for reelection and retained their posts without opposition: president, Nathan Lino, pastor of Northeast Baptist Church in Humble; vice president, Dante Wright, pastor of Sweet Home Baptist Church in Round Rock; and recording secretary, Juan Sanchez, pastor of High Pointe Baptist Church in Austin.
Final attendance numbers included 823 registered messengers and 386 registered guests for a total of 1,209 registered in attendance.
The 2017 SBTC annual meeting will be Nov. 12-14 at Criswell College in Dallas, with Steven Smith, vice president and preaching professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, delivering the convention sermon and JR Vassar, pastor of Church at the Cross in Grapevine, as the alternate.