By Brandon Pickett
November 20, 2014 | Colonial Heights, VA (BP) – One of the loudest cheers of affirmation at the 2014 SBC of Virginia Annual Homecoming was heard after a resolution reaffirming Biblical marriage was read to the messengers and guests.
Almost 1,000 messengers and guests attended the annual meeting, which was held at The Heights Baptist Church in Colonial Heights, VA. The theme was Strong Churches with a Bold Commitment to the Great Commission.
“We were challenged, encouraged, and built up in the Lord,” said host church pastor, Dr. Randy Hahn. “Oh, and we got some business done also. So grateful for the SBC of Virginia and its leadership that gives us opportunity to be so blessed in coming together for the work of the Lord. Annual Homecoming is a revival!”
This theme was woven through every session of the meeting, including sermons by keynote speakers Dr. Alistair Begg, Dr. Eric Geiger, Dr. Grant Ethridge, and Dr. John Marshall.
Begg, speaking from 2 Timothy 3:14-17, spoke of how Timothy was not about magnifying himself. “He was like a styrofoam cup which has significance only in that which it contains. It is disposable. It will be gone in a moment. It only has benefit on the strength of that which is in it.“
Begg also spoke to 128 church planters and sponsors during a special dinner where he reminded them of the importance of staying true to the Word of God. And later that evening to the entire convention, he reminded attendees that the task of pastors is one of a constant reminder … just like parents do with their children. “When the Spirit of Truth comes He will guide you into all Truth. We are people of The Book. People become convinced by the Scriptures. Only God can soften hearts and give hearing to the deaf and sight to the blind.”
Dr. Brian Autry, SBC of Virginia Executive Director, took messengers and guests on a virtual missions tour around the Commonwealth in his report on Monday night. He highlighted the effort to reach Muslims in the Washington DC metro, a focus on urban outreach in the Southeast, and then called on everyone in attendance to gather around church planters for a special time of prayer.
“Our Annual Homecoming was totally about the business of being boldly committed to the Great Commission,” Autry said. “From celebrating disaster relief volunteers, to praying over church planters and partner churches, to encouraging churches in the midst of revitalization, our focus is on honoring and proclaiming Jesus Christ as Lord.”
Autry highlighted the story of Pastor Don Paxton and how he and a mission team from Rosedale Baptist Church partnered with a church planter in Northern Virginia to bring physical help along with the Gospel to around 10,000 people at an Arab festival.
Four resolutions were approved unanimously by the messengers in attendance. These resolutions are: Gratitude to the Lord and The Heights Baptist Church, Appreciation for Congressman J. Randy Forbes, Reaffirmation of Biblical Marriage, and Gratitude to the SBC of Virginia Disaster Relief Team. (see full resolutions below)
Mission Service Corps missionary couple, Matt and Susan Clonch, were officially commissioned on Monday evening to reach hikers on the Appalachian Trail. Representatives from their sponsor church, Fincastle Baptist, and the Missions and Communications Committee of the Executive Board prayed over them.
Messengers approved a 2015 Ministry Investment Plan in the amount of $9,000,000, the same amount as 2014. The SBC of Virginia treasurer, Eddie Urbine, shared that this budget allocates 51% for SBC ministries and promotion and 49% for SBC of Virginia ministries. Since the inception of the SBC of Virginia, $116,374,396 has been given through the Cooperative Program.
Dr. Frank Page, President and CEO of the SBC Executive Committee, encouraged messengers in the tremendous work they were already doing for the Lord through the local church and the SBC of Virginia. But he also exhorted them to increase their missions giving to see even more Kingdom impact.
Messengers unanimously re-elected Dr. Grant Ethridge, senior pastor of Liberty Baptist Church in Hampton, as president of the SBC of Virginia.
“The reports of what God is doing in church planting and church mobilization to reach different people groups in Virginia were nothing short of miraculous! God is moving and I have never been more proud to be a part of the family called SBC of Virginia,” Ethridge said. “But the annual pep rally is over. Now is the time to be bold in our praying and preaching. Now is the time to be bold in our living and giving. Now is the time to cry out to God for revival in the church and spiritual awakening in our nation.”
Other SBC of Virginia officers were also unanimously elected. They include: 1st Vice President Rev. Brad Russell, senior pastor of Old Powhatan Baptist Church in Powhatan; 2nd Vice President Rev. Brent Vickery, senior pastor of Ramoth Baptist Church in Stafford; and Secretary Rev. Matthew Kirkland, senior pastor of Good Shepherd Baptist Church in Christiansburg.
On both Monday and Tuesday afternoon, hundreds attended special luncheons. Monday’s lunch celebrated Disaster Relief volunteers with guest speaker, Congressman Randy Forbes. Tuesday’s lunch highlighted SBC of Virginia’s Acts 1:8 Network with missionary and author, Nik Ripken.
Autry was thankful for the atmosphere of highlighting missions throughout the entire three days, “Seeing pastors and church leaders representing various nations and generations at our Annual Homecoming serves as a reminder that we are living in the midst of a harvest field. We must work together to bring in the harvest.”
The 2014 Annual Homecoming also featured a hands-on mission opportunity. Almost 1,500 backpacks from more than 40 churches were loaded onto a North America Mission Board (NAMB) tractor trailer to be delivered just in time for children in need at Christmas.
Jerry Daniel, Love Loud Team Leader for the North American Mission Board, spoke of the importance of local churches connecting to this mission project, “It’s a way for people to express generosity and compassion. A lot of churches enjoy encouraging their children to be a part of packing the backpacks because they get to talk about sharing and be concerned for those who have needs.”
Rev. Scott Bullman and the Sounds of Liberty from Liberty University led worship throughout the meeting. On Sunday evening, The Heights praise team, orchestra and choir led worship. On Monday evening, recording artist TaRanda Green joined the Sounds of Liberty and a combined choir from multiple SBC of Virginia churches for a special time of worship.
Liberty Baptist Church in Hampton, Virginia, will host the 2015 SBC of Virginia Annual Homecoming November 8-10. Keynote speakers include Ronnie Floyd, Vance Pittman, K. Marshall Williams, and Dennis Swanberg.
ON GRATITUDE TO THE LORD AND THE HEIGHTS BAPTIST CHURCH, COLONIAL HEIGHTS
WHEREAS, The 2014 Annual Homecoming of the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia has been a time of edification, encouragement, and equipping; and
WHEREAS, We recognize an event of this magnitude requires diligent preparation and planning; and
WHEREAS, We acknowledge the warm and gracious hospitality of the people of The Heights Baptist Church, Colonial Heights; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the messengers to the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia meeting in Colonial Heights, Virginia, November 9-11, 2014, express heartfelt gratitude to the Lord and to all those He has used to bring about an Annual Homecoming characterized by a wonderful spirit of unity and cooperation focused on the Great Commission.
OF APPRECIATION FOR CONGRESSMAN J. RANDY FORBES
WHEREAS, Congressman J. Randy Forbes, since elected to Congress in 2001, has set his key priorities to protect and defend our nation; and
WHEREAS, Congressman J. Randy Forbes “founded and chairs the Congressional Prayer Caucus and has led this group of bipartisan Members in national efforts to protect prayer and our nation’s spiritual history”; and
WHEREAS Congressman J. Randy Forbes has expressed public appreciation and recognition for the SBC of Virginia’s disaster relief volunteers and response efforts, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that we the SBC of Virginia express our love and gratitude to God for the life and work efforts of Congressman J. Randy Forbes; and be it finally
RESOLVED, that the SBC of Virginia would pray the Lord’s blessing on Congressman J. Randy Forbes’ continued service in our nation’s Congress.
ON A REAFFIRMATION OF BIBLICAL MARRIAGE
WHEREAS, we the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia, believe that the Holy Bible is the inspired and inerrant Word of God, and is the lens through which we see and understand God’s gracious and loving design for marriage, (Gen 2:24) and
WHEREAS the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia and its affiliated Churches reaffirm the historic and biblical definition of marriage, and the need for it in our society; and
WHEREAS we affirm Article III section 1 of the Southern Baptist Convention Constitution which states, “Among churches not in cooperation with the Convention are churches which act to affirm, approve, or endorse homosexual behavior” and
WHEREAS some within our current culture, and judicial system, promote and recognize alternate definitions of marriage in an increasing number of states, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Virginia, Be it
RESOLVED that we affirm that the term “marriage” has only one meaning: marriage, as instituted by God, is the joining of one man and one woman in a single, permanent, exclusive union. (Genesis 1:27; 2:24-25; Matthew 19:4-6) God intends sexual intimacy to only occur between a man and a woman who are married to each other. God has commanded that no one engage in intimate sexual activity outside of a marriage between a man and a woman. (I Corinthians 7:1-9) Be it further
RESOLVED that we, affirm that declaring God’s Word and warning people of the consequences of their sins, including sexual sins, is an act of loving concern (James 5:19-20). God’s Word remains true and His prohibitions–including those on sexual sins–cannot be changed by any human government. (Acts 5:29) Be it finally
RESOLVED that we, affirm God’s offer of redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. (Romans 10:9-13) We believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity. (Ephesians 4:29-32; I John 4:20-21) Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual, including those involved in sexual sin, are not in accord with Scripture nor the doctrines of the church and are to be repudiated. (Colossians 3:12-14; 1 Peter 3:8-12)
ON GRATITUDE TO THE SBC OF VIRGINIA DISASTER RELIEF TEAM
WHEREAS, SBC of Virginia disaster relief team has provided the messengers and guests of the 2014 Annual Homecoming at The Heights Baptist Church in Colonial Heights, Virginia, with an outstanding meal, demonstrating their ongoing ministry in meeting the Spiritual and Physical needs of people in times of crisis.
WHEREAS, the SBC of Virginia disaster relief team has made sharing the Gospel their primary passion and objective in training and in practice
WHEREAS, we affirm the Ready Church initiative that enables churches to prepare, connect, and respond to the needs in their own Jerusalem. Let it be
RESOLVED that we express heartfelt gratitude to our SBC of Virginia disaster relief staff and volunteers.
Brandon Pickett is SBC of Virginia Director of Communications & Mobilization.