November 18, 2022
The Southern Baptist Convention of Virginia (SBCV) churches had the privilege to give $50,000 in donations to local pregnancy centers. This was one of many highlights during the SBCV Annual Homecoming at First Baptist Church of Roanoke.
“In a post-Roe world, it’s more important than ever for the local church to care for women facing unplanned pregnancies in our communities,” shared Ryan Holloway, executive director of Care Net Peninsula. “It’s an honor to partner with the SBCV to build a permanent place to care for local moms in Newport News.”
Care Net Peninsula in Newport News accepted $25,000 that will go to building ultrasound rooms as they move to a larger facility. Also, another $25,000 was given to Warrenton Pregnancy Center in Warrenton for an ultrasound machine. This was made in partnership with Psalm 139 Ministries through the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC).
THE LORD IS WITH YOU
More than 1,000 messengers and guests attended the three-day SBCV Annual Homecoming on November 13-15, 2022. Almost 1,300 people were in attendance on Sunday and Monday nights.
“The Lord is with you!” was the theme as those in attendance testified that the presence of God was experienced through worship and special times of prayer.
“Our prayer is that we lead from our knees as pastors, church leaders, and state convention,” said Brian Autry, executive director of the SBCV. “We need more than the blessings of God; we need the God who blesses.”
Autry emphasized in his executive report that there will be an emphasis on prayer in 2023. He promoted a pastors prayer retreat on January 23-24 as well as vision tours for church planting in Hampton Roads on Feb 6-8 and the metro Richmond area on April 17-19.
“The focus on prayer, praise, and the preaching of God’s Word allowed all of us to focus on the great truth that the Lord is with us,” said Stan Parris, SBCV president. “This brought us one step closer to a much-needed spiritual awakening.”
“Psalm 133:1 reminds us of how good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity,» shared Rob Pochek, SBCV executive board chairman. «And that is the best description I can give for the 2022 SBCV Homecoming. We experienced powerful worship, insightful, biblical preaching, and encouraging reports about what God is doing in and around the Commonwealth, all with a palpable spirit of unity. It was a joy to be together at historic FBC Roanoke, who served us as incredibly gracious hosts.»
FOSTER CARE AND ADOPTION
Michelle Chitwood, wife of IMB President Paul Chitwood, joined others for a special time that identified the needs for foster care and adoption in Virginia. Chitwood has been working with the Virginia Governor’s office to develop foster care initiatives. SBCV churches learned ways to adopt a family, adopt a facility, care for foster care families, and identify how to serve in local communities.
“The heart of the churches for the hurting and their desire to take care of the loneliest and most vulnerable in our state was apparent during the Annual Homecoming,” Chitwood said. “It is vital our churches get involved and I am thankful this convention made the need known. The response has been amazing, and I know we will have much good news to report next year as Virginia Southern Baptists live out James 1:27.”
GOD STORIES AND MINISTRY REPORTS
SBCV churches heard stories and reports of God’s hand at work through Disaster Relief, revitalization, church planting, and Hispanic ministries. This included special messages during dinner for women’s ministry, missions, and church planting.
“Church planting is in the DNA of the SBC of Virginia,” stated Eric Thomas, pastor of First Norfolk in Norfolk. “At our annual meeting, we celebrated our church planters advancing the Gospel. The nations are coming to our Commonwealth, and God is raising up a diversity of leaders to reach them. These planters are heroes for God’s Kingdom, and they inspire me to be courageously committed to fulfill Christ’s Great Commission. I’m thankful for this network of churches and pray God continues to call out more pastors and planters to partner together in the fields so ready for harvest.”
A YEAR OF FIRSTS
This year, the first Haitian church joined the SBCV. There is also dramatic growth in the SBCV Chinese Fellowship. At last year’s Homecoming, there were only two Chinese pastors represented. This year, there were two breakout sessions presented in Mandarin, with 28 Chinese in attendance.
Other church affiliation firsts include Oromo-speaking and Swahili-speaking as well as the first Nepali-speaking church planters approved.
“The nations are now our neighbors,” said Matt Gregory, SBCV people groups strategist. “One of every four Virginia homes has someone who speaks a language other than English. While much work remains to ensure every Virginia resident can hear the Gospel in their heart language, we are thankful for these firsts!”
2022 was a record financial year with $9,825,827 given through the Cooperative Program. The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering was $4,059,314, and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering was $1,245,362.
Upon recommendation, messengers approved the proposed Ministry Investment Plan of $10.1 million for the 2023 fiscal year. Of the total adopted Ministry Investment Plan amount, $9.8 million comes from SBC of Virginia churches giving related to Cooperative Program contributions. The adopted plan will be distributed with 51 percent going to national Southern Baptist Convention Cooperative Program ministries and 49 percent distributed to state level SBC of Virginia Cooperative Program ministries. This is the same percentage of allocation as last year.
Sixteen churches requested affiliation with the SBCV and were approved by the messengers of the Annual Homecoming. This brings the total number of affiliated churches to 824.
BREAKFAST AND BREAKOUTS
A tailgate breakfast began the second day of Annual Homecoming. This was provided by SBCV ministry partner, Noble Warriors. That transitioned into 16 back-to-back breakout sessions led by experts on ministry topics like children, multi-cultural congregations, church planting, communication, compassion, evangelism, and Chinese fellowship. Felix Cabrera, director of Send Network Español, shared a breakout for Spanish-speaking messengers and guests on how to lead through the crisis and reach the community after the crisis.
“The SBC of Virginia homecoming was an encouraging reminder of the presence of the Lord,” said Parris. “The SBC of Virginia is truly a fellowship of churches united together to share the Good News to reach our neighbors and the nations for Jesus Christ.”
Current SBCV officers received unanimous approval by messengers for a second term. Stan Parris, pastor of Franklin Heights Church in Rocky Mount, Va., was named president. Joey Anthony, pastor of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Colonial Heights, Va., was named first vice-president. Felix Sermon, pastor of Grace International Christian Church in Springfield, Va., was named as second vice-president. Jason Taylor, pastor of Beulah Baptist Church in Kents Store, Va., was named secretary.
MESSAGES AND WORSHIP
Christian Music Artist Meredith Andrews led worship with some of her Dove-award winning music. Meredith’s music was woven throughout a sermon emphasis on prayer led by Dr. Dave Earley of First Baptist Church in Gove City, Ohio. This was highlighted by a prayer time for pastors and families with hundreds in the front of the auditorium. Worship teams from First Baptist Church of Roanoke and Franklin Heights in Rocky Mount as well as LU Praise and choirs from Liberty University also led praise and worship.
Clint Pressley, pastor of Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, shared God’s Word with messengers on Monday afternoon. H.B. Charles, Jr., pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida, was our keynote speaker on Monday evening. Bruce Frank, pastor of Biltmore Church in Arden, North Carolina, shared on Tuesday Morning. SBCV President and Franklin Heights Pastor Stan Parris brought the message as we closed out on Tuesday morning.
SBCV messengers will meet at The Heights Baptist Church in Colonial Heights, Virginia on November 12-14 for the 2023 Annual Homecoming. Guest speakers invited include Hance Dilbeck, president & CEO of GuideStone, Vance Pitman, president of Send Network, and Noe Garcia, senior pastor of North Phoenix Baptist Church.