Celebrating Our Heritage, Pursuing Our Mission
The International Baptist Convention, in its 54th Annual Convention Meeting, held 23-25 October in Oberursel, Germany, featured the 500th anniversary of the Reformation through the theme “Celebrating Our Heritage, Pursuing Our Mission.”
The convention welcomed Frontline City Church, Kaiserslautern, Germany, as an associate member. Frontline City is a church plant of Frontline Community Church in Ramstein, Germany. The church plant is two years old.
The convention approved a 382,829.82€ budget for 2018. This budget is a 9.5% increase over the 2017 budget. The budget is in line with the projected giving for this year.
The convention also approved the awarding of the Missions Endowment Fund for 2017 to Bridges International Church, Brasilia, Brazil. The church will use the funds to develop property that they just received which will increase their useable space by 800%.
The convention also heard presentations from each of the strategy directors concerning their strategy and plans for the coming year. Darryl Evetts (multiplying churches), Gary Preston (strengthening churches), David Fresch (empowering leaders), Scott Corwin (building connections), and Judith Lynn Maxwell (developing resources) shared their vision for 2018. General Secretary Jimmy Martin reported on his work during the past year and challenged everyone to find a place where they could serve. “We need everyone in order to reach our vision,” he said. “We all need to do a part.”
During the final business session, David Packer, pastor of the International Baptist Church, Stuttgart, Germany, was elected president. Richmond Ofori, pastor of Hope International Baptist Church, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, was elected 1st vice-president. Tim Faulkner, pastor of Il Faro International Baptist Church was elected 2nd vice-president. Each will serve a one-year term.
During his presidential challenge to the convention, Packer described various types of pastor. A fellowship of churches will mirror those pastor types, he said. We need pastors with a passion for the glory of God. We need those with the right spirit instead of right answers.
The evening sessions were worship services celebrating the convention’s heritage with a focus on the Reformation and its impact. Special “guests” for the services were Balthasar Hubmaier’s wife Elizabeth, Menno Simons, and a new believer from John Smyth and Thomas Helwys’ church. Roland Eskinazi, pastor of the International Baptist Church, Brussels, Belgium, spoke on the 5 Solas of the Reformation and asked if they were as relevant as they were 500 years ago. We are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, revealed in the Word alone, for God’s glory alone. Carston Lotz, IBC president and pastor of host church International Christian Fellowship, Oberursel, Germany, spoke on some of the Baptist distinctives that came from the Reformation, especially the priesthood of the believer. Jimmy Martin spoke on “Is the IBC in Need of a Reformation?” The text of Martin’s message and highlights from Eskanizi’s and Lotz’s messages are found on pages 2 -6. Video recordings of the messages are available here.
Each of the business and worship services featured “Stories of What God is Doing.” The convention heard from Taylor Whitley (Stuttgart), David Stevens (Jurbise), Dave Bollenbacher (Brasilia), Parker Windle (Paris), and David Martin (Cologne). Music during the morning sessions were led by Dave Sims of Jurbise, Belgium. Music during the evening sessions were led by teams from ICF, Oberursel.
Sixty-six messengers representing 35 churches, along with 19 guests, were part of the business sessions. Messengers also enjoyed tours to Mainz to visit the Gutenberg Museum and to Worms to visit the site of Martin Luther’s diet.
Next year’s ACM will be held in Madrid, Spain.