The State Convention of Baptists in Indiana was formed on October 3, 1958. SCBI became the 29th state convention to affiliate with the Southern Baptist Convention. The convention began with “an original budget of $122,000, of which 25% was to go to Cooperative Program missions of the Southern Baptist Convention. $85,000 was to come from Indiana churches with the balance from the SBC Home Mission and Sunday School Boards.”

This year, the SCBI celebrates its 60th anniversary as a convention. Our current 2018 cooperative budget is $2,392,657 and we send 40% of our giving on to the Southern Baptist Convention.

Southern Baptists are built on the principle that we can do more together than we can do by ourselves. It was because churches become weary of the fact that very good and noble ministries were constantly coming before the local congregations asking for an offering. The needs were noble but the churches became tired of not being able to preach the Gospel because they were constantly hearing about good ministries and how the church needed to give to them.

That is how the Cooperative Program began. The Southern Baptist Convention developed the Cooperative Program so each church could give through that means to fund efforts in missions, education, training and other ministries. The Cooperative Program assumed that its individual members would give a tithe of 10% to their local church, and that the local church would send 10% of its offerings on through the Cooperative Program so the SBC could work with international missions, North American Missions, educational ministries and training opportunities.   

Now, here we are, 60 years after our start as a convention. People with a Southern Baptist background saw the need to form a convention of churches in the state of Indiana so that they could work together for our mission, for the educating of people for ministry and to work together to train and equip people for the church and for ministry. That has not changed. We still have the same mission and we have the same opportunity to work together for the sake of Christ to take the Gospel of Jesus to a lost and hurting world here in Indiana.

At our 59th annual meeting of the SCBI, I had the honor of addressing those who attended as your Executive Director. This was the first time I have had that privilege. During that message, I laid out what I am calling “Mile Markers 2025.” These are goals that I believe will help us become a stronger, healthier convention for the future.

Listed below is how you and your church can be engaged and how we can work together for the sake of the mission HE gave us.   

1. Revitalization Marker – The goal is for us to see all of our 14 associations prayerfully seek out at least two churches per year to help with revitalization efforts. This could be done through the associational church health team or a strong church helping a struggling church. That would be 28 churches each year helped with revitalization efforts. So by 2025 we can together help 224 of our churches.

2. Planting Marker – We currently plant between
15-20 churches per year. Our goal is to plant at least 20 churches each year, which would be 160 new church plants over the next eight years. John Horn and our church planting team will be working with your church to help us accomplish this goal.

3. Churches Helping Churches Marker – With our 14 associations, our goal is to enlist 1-2 of our healthiest congregations who will commit to being a mentor church for other churches in that association. When they have a church event or training event, just set up a daytime training with the person or group that is leading the training and make it available to area pastors and leaders. This will help us help each other. It is “Churches Helping Churches.” That is what an association and convention is supposed to be about. Helping each other.

4. Leadership Development Marker – With this goal we want to continue to follow our strategic plan to develop leaders in our convention. This plan has four layers.

a.  Layer 1 – Associational Leader Labs where area pastors meet monthly to talk about best practices and they help each other pastor and lead their churches.

b.  Layer 2- Churches Helping Churches by offering training through what you are already doing, just invite others to join you in that equipping process.

c.  Layer 3 – Equip-U training events where we drill down into a specific area of training in a one-day equipping workshop.

d.  Layer 4 – HILL (High Impact Leader Lab) is a four day intensive training for pastors to help them learn, explore and develop their own Personal Leadership Development Plan.

e.  Through Wives in Ministry conference – our goal is to develop a network of wives who can support and encourage each other through the challenges of ministry.

f.   My goal is to bring back the Pastors and Wives Retreat. We need to find a way to make this fundable so we can encourage our pastors and their wife in fulfilling their calling as a pastor. Pray with me for this need to be met.

5. Mission Partnership Marker – Our goal is to see that “the sun never set on the work of SCBI mission work.” We are currently helping our churches engage in mission projects in Ecuador, Africa and the Philippines – Rick Hillard is our champion for this goal.

6. Highland Lakes Camp Marker – Our goal is to see God bring salvation to students and leaders through our camps. Our goal is to continue to expand our facilities by adding beds, bunks, recreation features and staff. We need to get our camp to the place where we can house 400 campers at one time. Our goal is to see HLBC used more and more for equipping opportunities during the week and for weekend retreat, workshops and seminars. Jim Shields is our champion for this goal.

7. Cooperative Program Marker – Our current budget is $4,005,174 per year. We need to have a budget of $4,600,000 so we can staff the ministries that will help our churches.  One way we need to do that is to be able to add four regional strategists who deal with church health-related opportunities. These would be fully funded SCBI staff members who can help your church with opportunities that can strengthen your ministries and reach new people for Christ. Our goal is to continue to increase our giving to the SBC by steadily increasing our percentage that we give. Our goal is to see at least 40% of our churches take the 1% CP challenge where a church increases their CP giving by 1% in the new year. WE ALL NEED to be the champion for this goal.

8. Evangelism Marker – Our goal is to see all of our 465 churches will take the ESP 2020 Challenge. That means each church will develop an evangelism strategy where your church has a plan to implement that strategy and see every church in Indiana baptize at least one person every year. Hopefully, one person every month and ultimately, my dream is to see a person come to know Jesus as their savior every week in all of our churches. Rick Hillard and our entire staff team champion this goal.

9. Cooperation Marker – Our goal is see our churches “choose” to find ways to help each other. Find one thing that your church can to help another church this year; and, maybe there will be a church that can help you with a need your church has. “Churches Helping Churches.”

AND – my ultimate goal and prayer is that we build a convention DNA that believes and lives out that, “The world will know we are Christians by our love.” May this be a common goal that all of our churches seek to achieve.

“By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

John 13:35 (HCSB)

Be sure to put the 2018 SCBI Annual Meeting on your calendar now. It’s OUR 60th Anniversary!

October 8-9, 2018, Highland Lakes Baptist Camp