Ohio Baptists add a day for family Bible conference

SANDUSKY, Ohio (BP) -- A first-ever Bible Conference on the Family sponsored by the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio preceded the convention's annual meeting in Sandusky.

Elected as officers of the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio during the Nov. 7 annual meeting were (from left) Ryan Strother, pastor of Central Baptist Church in Marion, president; Reginald Hayes, pastor of United Faith International Baptist Church in Columbus, first vice president; Jeff Woolum, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Perrysburg, second vice president; Annett Dessecker, a member of Lincoln Heights Baptist Church in Mansfield, assistant recording secretary; and Faye Rodgers, a member of Northside Baptist Church in Newark, recording secretary.
 
The Nov. 6 sessions led by Geoff & Sherry Surratt of Ministry Together aimed to minister to all families, especially those of pastors and church staff.

On Nov. 7, SCBO president David Starry, lead pastor of First Light Church in the Dayton area, gaveled the convention's 65th annual meeting to order at the Kalahari Convention Center. Carl and Heather Cartee provided music for both meetings.

In his presidential address, Starry emphasized the 2018 theme "Mission Ohio: Reach Ohio One Person, One Family, and One Community at a Time" from Acts 16:25-34. He challenged Ohio Southern Baptists to engage the Mission Ohio Vision of reaching 1 million believers in 2,020 congregations by 2020 by focusing on sharing the Gospel one person at a time. He offered as a model and pattern for reaching Ohio the biblical account of the conversion of the Philippian jailor, his family and the prison community in Acts 16.

David Frasure, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in South Lebanon, preached the annual sermon. From Ephesians 3:14-21, he encouraged pastors to experience "A Ministry of Abundant Blessing." He outlined the requirements and the results of a ministry yielded to the Holy Spirit and abiding in Christ, resulting in great usefulness to God and reaching the next generation.

Jack Kwok, the convention's executive director, addressed the 2018 theme from John 4:1-42, illustrating how Jesus' encounter with the woman at the well provides a guide to reach Ohio one person, one family and one community at a time. When the woman responded to the offer of living water, Kwok noted, Jesus changed her life, which built a bridge of influence for her dysfunctional family and disbelieving community to experience for themselves the Christ, the Savior of the world.

More than 720 congregations comprise the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio. For the 2018 annual meeting, registered messengers totaled 164 from churches in all 15 associations.

Ryan Strother, lead pastor of Central Baptist Church in Marion, was elected as the convention's president for 2019. Strother served as first vice president in 2018 and second vice president in 2017. Reginald Hayes, pastor of United Faith International Baptist Church in Columbus, was elected as first vice president, having served as second vice president in 2018.

Jeff Woolum, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Perrysburg, was elected as second vice president, and Faye Rodgers, a member of Northside Baptist Church in Newark, and Annett Dessecker, a member of Lincoln Heights Baptist Church in Mansfield, were elected to another term as recording secretary and assistant recording secretary, respectively, along with Jack Kwok as historian.

Messengers approved the 2018—2019 budget which follows a fiscal year of Dec. 1 to Nov. 30, adding $10,041.00 to the current $4.41 million budget, without raising the amount of anticipated contributions of the churches through the SCBO Cooperative Mission Program. During the 2016 annual meeting, messengers approved the 2016-2017 budget which moved the Cooperative Mission Program distribution from 59.9 percent for Ohio causes and 40.1 percent for SBC causes to a 50—50 ratio without any shared or preferred expenses. Messengers to this year's annual meeting voted to maintain that ratio.

Among four resolutions, messengers voiced support for the Cooperative Program which encourages churches to support every level of Southern Baptist cooperative missions. The resolution affirmed churches that give sacrificially to the Cooperative Program for missions and acknowledges the action of the 2016 messengers which moved Ohio Baptists to send 50 percent of all Cooperative Program gifts to ministry beyond Ohio.

Other resolutions reaffirmed the dignity of every human being and the importance of moral leadership and expressed appreciation for convention leadership.

The 2018 annual meeting occasioned the completion without opposition of the required two-year process to revise the convention's constitution and bylaws, in which the term Mission Council replaces Executive Board and a number of related adjustments are made.

Kwok presented a globe to Terry Robertson, executive director of the Baptist Convention of New York, and his wife Elizabeth commemorating the celebration of their jubilee year as a convention. Prior to the Baptist Convention of New York's organization as a state convention on Sept. 25, 1969, Southern Baptist churches in New York affiliated with the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio, and Ohio Southern Baptists helped start hundreds of churches in New York.

Messengers and guests also received information on how to obtain legal and physical protection for their churches and attendees. Mission Ohio churches can receive legal assistance from Alliance Defending Freedom and security provision assistance from Protect the Faith.

Greg Jackson, pastor of First Southern Baptist Church in Camden, received the Darty and Dot Stowe Award, now in its 24th year of being given to a pastor or minister "who has served faithfully, perhaps never recognized like those in the larger, more visible churches, but leaving a legacy and serving in the spirit of 1 Thessalonians 2:3-12."

Jackson has led First Southern, known as the Corner of Hope, for 25 years. The church, which is free of debt, built a 500-seat worship center in 2004 and has planted churches in Ukraine, Las Vegas, Dayton and Carlisle, Ohio. First Southern gives 13 percent of its undesignated receipts to the Cooperative Program and is a yearly leader in giving to the Ray Roberts State Mission Offering.

The Darty and Dot Stowe Award is provided through gifts to Georgetown College in Kentucky from members of the Stowe family. The couple began their ministry with Mission Ohio in 1954, with Darty serving as director of missions for the greater Cincinnati area. A year later he became state director of missions and then associate executive secretary, working closely with state executive secretary Ray Roberts. The Stowes served in Ohio until his homegoing in 1981. Dot accepted a position as director of a women's residence hall at Georgetown College in 1983, where she influenced many young women. She moved back to Ohio in 1989 and stayed until her passing in 2000.

Rolling Hills Baptist Church in Fairfield was selected to host the 66th SCBO annual meeting, Nov. 4-6, 2019. Messengers elected Stephen Owens, pastor of Mt. Calvary Baptist Church in Cleveland, to preach the annual sermon and Kirk Kirkland, pastor of Revive City Church in Cincinnati, as the alternate.

"Our Lord's Great Commission compels us to take the Gospel to the whole world," Kwok said after the meeting. "Ohio Southern Baptists through the Cooperative Mission Program enable every participating church to obey the Great Commission from Ohio to the ends of the earth. Let's press toward that mark."

Reported by the staff of the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio.
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