Posted: 11/15/18 at 11:52am
Glen Allen, VA — The Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV) held its 195th Annual Meeting from Monday, November 12, through Wednesday, November 14, at Mount Vernon Baptist Church. George Fletcher presided throughout the meeting. Six hundred seventy-six messengers attended along with 283 guests and exhibitors for a total of 959 meeting participants.
Josh Franklin, pastor of Mount Vernon Baptist Church, extended a warm welcome and brought greetings. He then offered the invocation and shared a passage from 1 Corinthians 15:58, challenging the BGAV to “remain steadfast and immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.”
Monday afternoon and evening featured Missions Monday, a time during which participants could learn about and become involved in a variety of BGAV missions endeavors. More than 200 people attended breakout sessions related to missions that afternoon.
Monday evening, over 300 people gathered at Gayton Baptist Church for a missions-themed dinner and a TED-talk-style discussion led by David Bailey of Arrabon, Elijah Brown of the Baptist World Alliance, and Valerie Carter of Woman’s Missionary Union of Virginia (WMUV).
On Tuesday, the first session was called to order and began with spirited worship, led beautifully by BGAV’s Uptick Artists. Two BGAV preachers were the featured speakers that morning: Allen Jessee of Highlands Fellowship and Kristin Adkins Whitesides of First Baptist Church of Winchester.
The morning business session included reports from several committees and also featured the Treasurer’s Report by David Washburn, in which he cited that the BGAV’s 2019 budget includes projected Cooperative Missions gifts of $9.1 million and additional revenue through designated gifts and new initiatives that total an annual budget of $21 million.
Resolutions of Appreciation were passed for Jim Ailor, J. Scott Burhoe, Wayne Hannah, and Fred Anderson.
One of the highlights of the morning was John Upton’s Executive Director report, during which he shared many of the ways the BGAV is “Living the Story,” which was the theme of this year’s meeting. He focused on how BGAV continues to live out its story, which began in 1823 for two main reasons: to focus on the local church, and to be “movemental”—to engage the local church in a movement of some kind—in order to help each local church accomplish more than what that church could do by itself.
Tuesday afternoon, meeting participants attended regional meetings followed by two sessions of breakouts. They returned that evening and gathered for worship. The evening session began with a memorial service, which honored those who had recently passed away after years of previous service in important roles within BGAV life.
Two BGAV preachers were featured that evening: Valerie Carter of WMUV and Chuck Warnock of Chatham Baptist Church.
On Wednesday morning, worship continued with the Uptick Artists and Keynote Speaker Tod Bolsinger, noted speaker, author, and vice president/assistant professor at Fuller Theological Seminary. Bolsinger challenged meeting attendees to be open to new ways of doing things while retaining core values.
Wednesday’s business session included the election of officers for 2019: Richard Martin of Huguenot Road Baptist Church (Richmond) as President, Adam Tyler of Grace Hills Baptist Church (Appomattox) as First Vice President, Jay Lawson of Warrenton Baptist Church (Warrenton) as Second Vice President, and Herbert Ponder of Mount Tabor Baptist Church (Richmond) as Secretary.
Also in the business session, the motion to approve the 2019 budget was overwhelmingly approved.
To conclude the meeting, Bolsinger brought the second part of his keynote address, in which he stated, “When we are on mission, the church is at its best,” and he encouraged participants to embrace new ways to reach people for Christ in a changing world. “God is taking you into uncharted territory to transform you,” he said.
Next year’s meeting will be held November 11-13, 2019, at Bonsack Baptist Church in Roanoke, VA.
The Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV) is a cooperative missions and ministry organization that consists of over 1,400 autonomous churches in the Commonwealth of Virginia, as well as churches from Seoul, South Korea, Toronto, Ontario, the District of Columbia, and the states of California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and West Virginia.