ORLANDO, FL (ABNS 1/23/12)—The Board of General Ministries meetings of American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA) concluded on Monday, January 23, following its first official business session at the DoubleTree in Orlando, Florida.
Rev. Dr. Don Ng, vice president of ABCUSA, said “Trusting that God is calling American Baptists to a new day after the adoption of new by-laws in San Juan, the new Board of General Ministries affirmed our Baptist identity, learned about becoming an interactive and engaged board and rededicated ourselves to be Christ’s church in the years to come. This was a rewarding weekend of getting acquainted, enjoying life together as sisters and brothers, and being commissioned to serve as the hands and feet of Christ!”
During the business session, the ABCUSA Board of General Ministries voted to accept recommendations by the Nominating Committee for At Large and General Board Directors as nominated. The board also elected board members to serve as parliamentarian, special director to MMBB, ABCUSA Representative to the NCC Governing Board, and in positions on the BGM Executive Committee, the Committee on Christian Unity and Interfaith Relations, the World Relief Committee, the Standing Rules Committee, the Biennial Program Committee, and the BGM Finance Committee.
The board voted to approve the 2012 budget presented by James R. Ratliff, budget review officer for ABCUSA. The budget had been previously approved prior to that start of 2012 in a General Board Executive Committee conference call in November 2011.
Rev. Dr. Jonathan Malone, executive committee member of the Board of General Ministries, said, “I am humbled to be a part of the Board of General Ministries as we enter into a new era. God is doing amazing things and I am excited to see how regions, churches, and our different program boards can work together in following the Lord.”
Prior to the business session, a meeting was held on Sunday, January 22, and Rev. Dr. Alan Roxburgh, president of the Missional Network, addressed the Board of General Ministries about Transformed by the Spirit, a denomination-wide initiative of ABCUSA which invites American Baptists to name and address adaptive challenges in changing environments.
“Start where people are. We are seeking to say to ABCUSA regions, go to your congregations. Engage them. Start where people are,” said Roxburgh. “We want to test the waters and experiment; we don’t learn by taking a course or watching a video. We learn how to enter a new land by testing, trying, failing, learning, testing, trying. Journeying into a new territory is learning things that are new to us, and experimenting.”
Following Roxburgh’s presentation, the board heard reports about the Baptist Muslim Dialogue, ABCUSA’s relation to Burma and Burmese Immigration, and the staff from the varying departments that make up ABCUSA.
The meetings concluded with a worship service following the business session on Sunday, January 23.
American Baptist Churches is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with 5,500 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.