Hampton, VA – The first business session of the 194th Annual Meeting of the Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV) opened at 8:45 am with President Stuart Crow presiding.
Donnie Tuck, Mayor of the City of Hampton, extended a warm welcome and brought greetings, thanking the BGAV for convening in the city. Nancy Stanton McDaniel offered the invocation, and Stuart Crowe continued with presidential remarks.
Several reports were offered, including those from the clerk and program committee. Nominations were made for boards and committees.
Coastal Community Church’s praise band led in praise and worship songs, including some original compositions, as attendees joined their hearts and voices together.
The Religious Liberty Committee presented a Resolution on their determination that churches need to do a better job of educating Virginia Baptists about religious freedom, to not take religious freedom for granted, and to nourish and to cultivate it.
In his treasurer’s report, David Washburn reviewed the current BGAV budget and expenditures. He explained that even though Cooperative Missions giving has declined somewhat, Virginia Baptists continue to be effective in carrying out missions and ministries because of good fiscal management and resources generated outside of Cooperative Missions giving.
Under Carl Johnson’s leadership, reports were offered from the Executive Board regarding actions, observances, and special offerings. John Upton presented resolutions of appreciation for Fred Anderson, who retired as executive director of the Virginia Baptist Historical Society, and Ron Crawford, who retired as president of Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond.
Partnership covenants were signed between the BGAV and the McAfee School of Theology at Mercer University and also between the BGAV and Woman’s Missionary Union of Virginia.
David Washburn, BGAV Treasurer, presented the proposed 2018 budget of $10 million—the same amount as last year. The budget was discussed in an afternoon breakout session.
After an intermission, attendees joined together in worship, led once again by the praise band of Coastal Community Church.
John Upton gave the executive director’s report, focusing on how Virginia Baptists continue to respond to the challenges and storms of life. “The church is going to be just fine,” he said. “Churches have always had challenges.” He cited specific examples of tremendous growth in numbers of church planters and in the great amount of resources Virginia Baptists have recently sent to places like Texas, Puerto Rico, and Ghana.
Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, gave an inspiring and informative keynote address centered on how God calls Christians to exhibit mercy—offering help and hope to all others regardless of who they are or where they are from—like Jesus did. He went on to offer a picture of hope based on encouraging statistics around the world, especially in Africa and Asia. He revealed that worldwide, the number of Christians is increasing at a rate of 10,000 per hour. “It’s like we have a Pentecost every 60 minutes,” he commented.
After a lunch break, messengers and guests gathered in the main ballroom for instructions before breaking into regional meetings to nominate representatives to serve on the Virginia Baptist Mission Council and share stories from their respective regions.
Following those meetings, 11 breakout sessions were offered throughout the convention center.
During the evening, The Millers of Richmond’s Second Baptist Church led worship, including a rendition of “Find Us Faithful.”
Nathan Taylor and Fred Anderson offered historical reflections of notable Baptists who responded to God’s call during difficult times—paving the way for generations of Christians ahead of them to boldly answer God’s call.
After taking an offering for Disaster Response, attendees heard inspirational stories of new church plants from leaders of V3 and Fresh Expressions.
Leith Anderson gave the evening message in which he addressed six ways to become the kind of leaders God wants his people to be. He explained that leaders need to do what needs to be done, act Christianly, choose multiple mentors, learn their leadership context, be wary of the cutting edge, and trust God for the long term. He concluded with the challenge, “You are the church of Jesus Christ, and Jesus has sent you to start the race, but he has also sent you to finish the race.”
The annual meeting continues Wednesday morning at 8:45 am with the second business session.
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.