Strong churches with a bold commitment to the Great Commission

Annual Homecoming 2010 a Revival

The SBC of Virginia 2010 Annual Homecoming was held November 7-9 at Hyland Heights Baptist Church, Lynchburg and featured speakers Mark Becton, Jeff Crook, J.D. Greear, Bobby Welch, and Vance Pitman.

Downloadable resources from Annual Homecoming can be found in the attachments at the bottom of this article.


by Brandon Pickett

Messengers to the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia Annual Homecoming unanimously approved two resolutions calling for continued convention-wide support of the Cooperative Program as well as increased CP commitment from its churches during the 14th annual meeting November 8 – 9 at Hyland Heights Baptist Church in Lynchburg.

Dr. Jeff Ginn, SBCV executive director, says the SBCV annual meeting is called a “homecoming” for a reason.  “It is not primarily a ‘business’ meeting; it is a revival. It is a rally around the Great Commission that our Lord has given us.  Our churches spoke resoundingly through their messengers that we intend to continue cooperating together for the extension of our Lord’s Kingdom.”

The SBC of Virginia has been a “50/50” CP convention since its inception in 1996. At last year’s meeting, messengers voted to approve a special Vision 20/20 report that called for a 10-year increase of 0.25% each year of Cooperative Program funds to the Southern Baptist Convention.  Early estimates indicate this will result in an additional $1.2 million for national and international ministries by the year 2020. This year, chairman of the Executive Committee, Rev. Carl Weiser, pastor of the host church (Hyland Heights Baptist), presented the final Vision 20/20 report. Messengers were asked to make a commitment to both pray for and lead their church to sponsor a new church plant, discover and take the next step to church health, engage actively in the Acts 1:8 network, and make a commitment to increase CP giving. 

The first approved resolution encouraged churches to give at least 10% of their offerings to the CP for the furtherance of God’s Kingdom upon the face of the earth. The second approved resolution affirmed the Great Commission Resurgence and challenged SBCV churches to increase their CP giving by 0.25% yearly until the year 2020 (this would be in line with the SBC of Virginia’s already approved commitment).

Attendance showed more guests were present this year than messengers—540 messengers came from 182 churches along with 637 guests for a total attendance of 1,177.  Messengers elected by acclamation Dr. Mark Becton, pastor of Grove Avenue Baptist in Richmond, to a second term as SBCV president.  Rev. Gordon Ellsworth, pastor of VA Beach Beacon Baptist in VA Beach, was also elected to a second term as secretary. Other officers elected were Rev. Stewart McCarter, pastor of Southside Baptist in Suffolk as 1st vice president, and Dr. Rick Ewing, pastor of Pleasant View Baptist in Lynchburg as 2nd vice president.  Becton says the Annual Homecoming is about much more than a business meeting: “Annual Homecoming is a celebration. We praise God for allowing us to see lives changed, believers mobilized, and new churches birthed. When you have a convention of churches praying and working together to start 400 new churches in 10 years, there’s an excitement about doing the impossible with God. I’m thrilled to be a part of it.” 

Messengers unanimously approved a $9 million ministry investment plan for 2011, which is a 2-percent decrease. This includes the forwarding of 50.5% to the SBC while retaining 49.5% for SBCV missions and ministries.  Almost 50% of the money kept in state will be invested in church planting. The Multiplying Churches Team has a Vision 20/20 goal of assisting SBCV churches to plant 400 new churches by the year 2020.

The theme for the Annual Homecoming was “Transforming Lives” from Romans 12:1-2.  Many of the convention speakers tied their messages to this theme. Speakers included Mark Becton, Jeff Crook, J.D. Greear, Bobby Welch, and Vance Pitman. SBCV pastors Jonge Tate, Banks Swanson, Tim Piland, Brian Autry, and Wendell Horton also brought thoughtful challenges wrapped around the main theme.  Special singers included Leo Day, music minister of Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, FL; Charles Billingsley who sang with the Liberty University Center for Worship Choirs; LU Praise; the Hyland Heights Baptist choir; and a mass choir from churches in the area.

Ginn recognized top churches in CP giving and baptisms. The Macedonia Award for CP giving went to First Baptist of Roanoke (total giving) and Matoaca Baptist in Matoaca (per capita giving). The Pentecost Award for Baptisms went to Highlands Fellowship in Abingdon (total baptisms) and Discipleship Baptist in Buena Vista (per capita).

Longtime Women’s Ministry strategist, Sue Sawyer, was honored after announcing her retirement. Sawyer has led Women’s Ministry for SBCV since 1998. She will stay on part-time with SBCV as associate church mobilization strategist for projects.

Messengers and guests once again had the opportunity to attend a variety of breakout seminars. A special Women’s Ministry dinner featured Cheryl McGuinness, widow of one of the American pilots whose plane was hijacked on September 11, 2001. 

The 2011 SBCV Annual Homecoming will be November 13–15 at Grove Avenue Baptist Church in Richmond.


Brandon Pickett is the Director of Media Services for the SBC of Virginia.