ACM: Celebrating Our Baptist Heritage

Dec 8, 2022

The International Baptist Convention held its 59th Annual Convention Meeting, 24-26 October, at First International Baptist Church, Copenhagen, Denmark, with the theme “Celebrating Our Baptist Heritage.”  From hearing the history of Baptists in Denmark to electing a new president for the convention, the three days were full of business and worship times.

The convention welcomed two new churches as associate members.  River of Life in Frankfurt, Germany, is a church plant of International Christian Fellowship, Oberursel, Germany.  Launched in the midst of the Covid pandemic, the church is led by Pastor Sam Dyer.  The International Church of Wrocław was founded in 2012 by the Polish-speaking First Baptist Church of Wrocław to meet the increasing number of English-speakers in the city.  The church is pastored by Brett Hamilton.

The convention also voted to take two churches off the list of member churches.  The International Baptist Churches of Nice and St. Paul de Vence in France have not actively participated in the life of the convention for a number of years.  Attempts to re-engage them have not been effective.

The convention just completed its second year with the new fiscal year of October-September.  President Erik Nielsen reporting for the Finance Team said that giving for the year was at 82% of the budget.  Expenses for the year were at 93% of the budget.  The Finance Team in conjunction with the Executive Leadership Team proposed a budget of €355,397 with a projected income of €300,000 based on previous years’ giving.  Any deficit would be covered by retained earnings.  The proposed budget was a 1.08% decrease from the previous year.  The budget was approved.

As part of the budget package, the convention also approved several Type 4 grants of the IBC Endowment Fund.  These grants include €15,000 for the IBC Residency Program, €5,000 for outsourcing specialized work, and €5,000 for staff transition needs. It also approved a €10,000 matching grant to replace the furnace at the IBC Office.  During the course of the year, the convention has awarded grants for two projects to Bridges International Baptist Church, Brasilia, Brazil, for renovating its children’s education building and adding bathrooms and a kitchen to another building. They also awarded a matching grant to North Sea Baptist Church, Stavanger, Norway, for bathroom and kitchen renovations.

The convention also approved a $50,000 Type 1 Endowment Fund grant to Bridges International Church for the building of a social ministry center (see related article here).

 The convention also heard presentations from the general secretary (see article here) and the strategy directors concerning their strategy and plans for the coming year.  Darryl Evetts (multiplying churches), Dan Maxton (strengthening churches), and Judith Lynn Maxwell (developing resources) shared their goals for 2022/23.  David Fresch (empowering leaders) and Scott Corwin (building connections) have stepped down from their roles as strategy directors.

The Executive Leadership Team of the convention also presented a new statement on women and men in partnership for the gospel and answered questions on the statement.  The statement was approved by the convention.

During the final business session, Nate Korpi, pastor of LifeBridge International Church in Panama City, Panama, was elected as the third president.  He joins Erik Nielsen, pastor of the First International Baptist Church, Copenhagen, Denmark, and Roland Eskinazi, pastor of the International Baptist Church, Brussels, Belgium, on the Presidential Leadership Team.

During the opening session on Monday evening, Bent Hylleberg, a Danish pastor and historian, shared the history of Baptists in Denmark and how they connected with the wider Baptist family.  He shared four lessons that we could take away:

  • We should seek to fulfil the saying of “each Baptist a missionary,” and God’s kingdom will prosper (Oncken).
  • We should always seek the highest ethical standards, otherwise we will fall (Førster).
  • We should seek to always be ready to overcome difficulties on our mission (Bredahl).
  • Love one another; this is our task (Wümpelmann).

IBC President Nick Howard, pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church, Wiesbaden, Germany, shared about “What Baptists Taught Me” in his message on Tuesday evening.  Nick wove his testimony of faith throughout his message, focusing on three things that being a Baptist taught him:

  • Centrality of Grace: We come to faith by grace, and we must live by grace.
  • Centrality of the Church: Baptist churches are autonomous but interdependent. We need one another; we’re better together.
  • Centrality of Missio Dei: The mission of God is God with us – Immanuel.

He concluded his message with the reminder from 2 Corinthians 9:8:  “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

General Secretary Tim Faulkner concluded the ACM with his message and charge to the churches on Wednesday morning. We need to be communities of conviction.  We need to be gospel communities.  As another Baptist general secretary said, “When I consider the urgent need for the gospel and the significance of a strategic cooperative association of churches, no other international network holds as much potential for kingdom impact as the IBC. The best years for the IBC are directly ahead of you.”

Members of FIBC Copenhagen led in the musical worship times.

Thirty-nine messengers from 25 churches as well as more than 15 guests participated in the meeting.

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