SBC of Virginia (SBCV) Executive Board members met in May for their spring meeting. Board members had the opportunity to take a unique field trip to a city high school.
The focus of the meeting was urban church planting and evangelism. Board members and SBC of Virginia staff met at Thomas Jefferson High School where Richmond City School Superintendent, Dr. Dana T. Bedden, School Board Chairman, Donald Coleman, and Thomas Jefferson Principal, Candace Veney-Chaplin, among others, shared the importance of investing into young people.
The purpose of the event was to highlight how SBC of Virginia churches are committed to reaching the lost across all generations throughout the Commonwealth. The evening included a special prayer for church planters and educators working in local communities and a tour of the historic school building.
The topic of urban and collegiate church planting continued at the SBCV Ministry Support Center in Glen Allen. SBCV church planters and apprentices shared obstacles they face in their daily work, as well as how existing churches can help sponsor and participate their efforts. Church planter apprentice Charles Shannon shared that as an African-American man, he is confident and bold in his association with the SBC of Virginia and values our prayers.
Board members unanimously approved 14 new churches for SBCV affiliation, bringing the total number of churches in fellowship with SBC of Virginia to 650. With an average of 120,000 in worship attendance among SBCV churches, 1.5% of Virginia’s population of 8 million worships somewhere in an SBCV church on any given Sunday!
According to the latest ACP data, SBC of Virginia churches reported gains in the following categories in 2014: membership, new members, worship attendance, small groups, and VBS. A significant gain of 8.4% was reported in missions participation, with more than 61,000 church members having volunteered to serve through mission projects and trips in Virginia and around the world.
Board members unanimously approved Seminarian and Intern Scholarships totaling $92,500. The 2016 goal of $275,000 for Vision Virginia, the state missions offering, was approved. In addition, the 2015 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering goal of $2.5 million was approved unanimously.
The entire Executive Board also paused to honor General T. C. Pinckney, longtime editor of The Baptist Banner. The publication, which was started in February of 1988, stopped production this year. SBCV Executive Director, Dr. Brian Autry, commemorated Pinckney’s commitment to this Baptist quarterly newsletter and handed Pinckney a certificate to acknowledge his dedication to the Lord, his support of the SBCV and the indelible impact he made on the mission field of Virginia.
The meetings also brought news of a change of roles for Brandon Pickett who has served as Communications Director for the last four years. Pickett was named Associate Executive Director and will help lead field missionaries under Autry.
“What a privilege to serve the churches of the SBC of Virginia”, said Pickett. “I am confident that God brought our family back to Virginia to work alongside this great team. I am looking forward to this expanded role, which I hope will use the experience of communicating the stories of what God is doing around Virginia with my love for missions and ministry.”
Pickett has served as Communications Director at the North American Mission Board and held associate pastor roles in several Virginia Baptist churches.
Ishmael LaBiosa was named SBC of Virginia’s new Communications Director. He has worked with the SBCV as both a media specialist and media director for the past four years. LaBiosa said he is looking forward to what God has for the future.
“God is always at work, and there is always a story to tell,” LaBiosa shared. “My goal is for our media team to work effectively together to help churches proclaim God’s Word with the media resources they need. We have exciting work ahead of us.”