By Steve McNeil

The months of September and October are important to us as Southern Baptists. September is the month when our local associations begin having their annual meetings. It is the month that we as cooperating churches emphasize our work at churches around the state through the State Mission Offering (SMO) and many of our local church ministries kick off a new year.

October we will see more local associations conduct their annual meeting (https://www.scbi.org/scbi/associations), and our state convention (https://www.scbi.org/events/annual-meetings/annual-convention-meeting) will hold its 61st annual meeting. These meetings set the tone for the upcoming year. Associations and our state convention will do its work through vision casting, spelling out purpose and mission and informing messengers about steps to accomplish our Biblical mission.

The main thing we do is to show our cooperation with each other. It is my prayer that our associations will have great, spirit-filled meetings to talk about Jesus, to worship and to discover how they can work together to do things that they could not do if it was left to an individual church. It is my prayer that we would see over 400 messengers attend this year’s State Convention at Highland Lakes. We have streamlined our agenda so that we can be diligent about decisions and actions that need to be taken and to be able to worship together and hear from God through the preaching of God’s Word.

Remember the State Mission Offering in September. This offering helps our state through two paths.  The first path is when your church gives to this special offering, you help your state convention with Church/Leader Development, with Church Planting, with Revitalization and Evangelism. The 2nd way that you help our state is that 50% of what your association churches give to the SMO comes back to your association for you to work on your associational strategies for these same areas. It’s a win-win!

Executive Board News

August 13, 2019, your SCBI Executive Board met in a new format. The board meeting was changed from a 2-day meeting to a 1-day meeting. This came about through suggestions made by board members. Why? Many lay people cannot take off 2 days to attend so we were seeing a rise of pastors on the board and a decrease of lay people. For the same reason, bi-vocational pastors could not commit to participating. The one-day format also helps us save some money on expenses with fewer people needing to spend the night and two fewer meals.

The meeting went well. You would be proud of your board members. They conduct themselves with decorum, with a truthful but gentle spirit and with a desire to see us fulfill the mission that God has given us here in Indiana. The board approved a change to how we budget. We had been working with a plan that said we would raise the CP dollars sent on to the Executive Committee of the SBC by up to 1% every year the receipts from the previous year were greater than the previous year. But there was no provision for years that the CP giving was down from the previous year. We have been stuck at 39% for about eight years because CP has been down all but two of those years. The board approved to give the authority to the Administrative Committee of the Executive Board, to recommend each year what the percentage should be for the new budget. That would mean they could recommend a 1% increase or a 1% decrease depending on the current CP giving. The board also voted to put a cap of no more than 5% increase in one year. The other aspect that was approved, was to set as a goal, that SCBI would work to see our churches giving to CP so that we could get to the place of 50% going to the national CP budget.

The board also approved to sign a new agreement with the North American Mission Board to be part of the Send Network and a new brand for Indiana church planting to become “Send Network Indiana.”  This agreement means that we are continuing on a path of cooperation and teamwork with our NAMB partners for assessments, training, coaching, funding and caring of our church planting work in Indiana. It will also help us identify potential planting candidates from all over the United States instead of trying to make connections with our current team of four people and who they may know.

The board approved two new churches to be affiliated with our state convention. They are the Hope Church of Anderson and Gospel City Church of Grainger. Please welcome these mission-minded fellowships and begin to pray for them in our new partnership.

Mile Markers 2025         

Remember to keep track of what you are doing as a church as it relates to the Mile Markers 2025 Emphasis. This year’s emphasis is Evangelism and Revitalization. You still have time to be part of some great training opportunities. September will bring you the chance to hear from Richard Blackaby and John Mark Clifton on the subject of Revitalization (https://www.scbi.org/events/trainings/revive-a-revitalization-replant-scbi-regional-conference). You will be blessed to hear from these men.

Evangelism has a couple of great options as well. This year at the end of our annual meeting we will host a NAMB Evangelism event called E24. It is at Highland Lakes at the conclusion of the annual meeting. It lasts for 24 hours, from 1:30 on Tuesday until noon on Wednesday. Click this link to learn more and to register (https://www.scbi.org/events/trainings/engage-24-indiana).

Have you taken advantage of the “Who’s Your One” challenge? What a great opportunity to engage your church in praying for a lost person, getting them training on how to share their faith and seeing people come to faith in Jesus! That will bring great celebrations. Go here to learn more (https://www.scbi.org/ministries/evangelism/who-s-your-one).

Your SCBI staff is praying for you and we are here to serve you. Please call on us to help, to listen, to train, to consult or fill your pulpit if you need to be away.

Until Next Time,

Steve McNeil