Celebrating the Work of the IBC
The International Baptist Convention held its 60th Annual Convention Meeting, 23-25 October, at the International Baptist Church, Stuttgart, Germany, with the theme “Celebrating What Matters Most.” The meeting also marked the 65th anniversary of the Convention and celebrated God, family, unity, and church (see related articles on pages 3-9).
The convention welcomed two new churches. Grace Baptist Church in Grafenwoehr, Germany, joined as a full member. Founded in 2001, the church is pastored by Mark John Bennett and ministers primarily to military personnel and their families who are assigned to that area. Coronado Baptist Church, Panama City, Panama, joined as an associate member. CBC is the second IBC church in Panama City and is currently seeking a pastor. The church began in 2008, primarily ministering to expat retirees and “snow-birds,” but the pandemic brought a radical shift in their ministry as younger families with children permanently relocated to Panama.
At the 2022 ACM, the Finance Team in conjunction with the Executive Leadership Team, proposed a €55,000-deficit budget but at the same time asked the Convention to watch to see how God would work. This year, the team reported that God worked in a wonderful way and giving to the Convention was at 123% of the projected income and 103% of the approved expense budget – a wonderful reason to celebrate.
For the 2023-24 fiscal year, the Finance Team in conjunction with the ELT proposed a budget of €397,592 with a projected income of €370,000 based on previous years’ giving. Any deficit would be covered by retained earnings. The proposed budget was a 11.7% increase 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 €34,150 for the IBC Residency Program, €19,820 for outsourcing specialized work, and €10,000 for staff travel to the 2024 ACM in Panama City. During the course of the year, the Convention has awarded a grant to IBC Stuttgart, Germany, for repairing the roof of their building. They also awarded a matching grant to North Sea Baptist Church, Stavanger, Norway, for septic tank cleaning and general repairs.
The Convention also heard presentations from the general secretary (see article on pages 10-11) and the strategy directors concerning their strategy and plans for the coming year. Darryl Evetts (multiplying churches), Brian Kirby (strengthening churches), and Judith Lynn Maxwell (developing resources) shared their goals for 2023-24.
David Martin, pastor of IBC Cologne, was elected as the new strategy director for Multiplying Churches. He will begin the role in January 2024.
During the final business session, Keith Lategan, pastor of IBC Stuttgart, Germany, was elected as the third president. He joins Roland Eskinazi, pastor of the International Baptist Church, Brussels, Belgium, and Nate Korpi, pastor of LifeBridge International Church in Panama City, Panama, on the Presidential Leadership Team.
General Secretary Tim Faulkner in his three sermons spoke on Paul’s appraisal, approach, and acquaintances found in Romans 15 and 16. What was Paul’s appraisal of the situation in Rome? Gospel potential produces hope for each person’s progress. We often dismiss what God is doing in other people, forgetting how He worked in our own spiritual journey. There is God-sized potential in every person/disciple in the church. Greater than anything we do is what God does to further His Kingdom.
Looking at Romans 15:23-33, we can see how to connect deeply and contribute widely. What was Paul’s approach? He created a team, he completed the priorities first, he cultivated unity, and he covered it all in prayer.
Who were Paul’s acquaintances listed in chapter 16, Faulkner asked in his concluding message. Some were people he knew by reputation, others he knew personally; they were men and women, slave and free, Jews and Gentiles. Each was known by God to make God known. That is why numbers need stories. In IBC churches diversity is normal. In IBC churches, people find a home and become family. In IBC churches, we make Jesus the hero through disciple-making.
Members of IBC Stuttgart led in the musical worship times.
Fifty-three messengers from 29 churches as well as more than 30 guests participated in the meeting.