By Dr. Steve McNeil

August of 2018, the state convention Executive Board approved a seven-year plan to strengthen our churches, associations and state convention. During the 2019 year, we emphasized the first two components of this strategy, evangelism and revitalization. For 2020 we will be emphasizing equipping and the Cooperative Program.

There are of course many factors that contribute to health in the local church and our wider convention. Things like prayer, reading and studying God’s Word, preaching, teaching, caring and empowering leaders. These are foundational to all of our lives and the ministry that God has called us to.

As a state convention, we are seeking to emphasize things that I believe we can all agree on. Things that bring us together to help each other. There! That is the main emphasis of Mile Markers 2025, to be better together and to work together to help each other so that we can serve our Lord to bring about His kingdom.

The main emphasis of this plan is “cooperation.” How can we choose to work together for the sake of the kingdom? The other eight components which reside under the main emphasis of cooperation are, “Churches helping churches” through the:

  1. Revitalization Marker – by 2025 we can help 84 of our churches move toward being led to greater vitality and new life. That’s one church per year, per association. (2019)
  2. Evangelism Marker – Our goal is to see churches take the ESP 2020 Challenge to develop an evangelism strategy. The God goal would be to realize 5000 baptisms per year.  (2019)
  3. Cooperative Program Marker – Our goal is for each church to take the 1% CP Challenge. Increase your churches giving through CP by 1% this year. The God goal would be $3,000,000 in Cooperative Program giving through the State Convention. That means that we are also sending more to the national convention for international, national mission, seminaries and the ERLC. (2020)
  4. Equipping Marker – our goal is to enlist our healthiest congregations who will commit to being a mentoring church for other churches in their association or area and open up training opportunities in their association or regional area.The God goal is to have one mentor church in each association as a lighthouse church for equipping, planting, support and encouragement. (2020)
  5. Mission Partnership Marker – Our goal is to see “the sun never sets on the work of SCBI mission work.” The God goal is to see an increase of 20% of our churches doing something where they are on mission outside of their local context. (2021)
  6. Planting Marker – plant 20 churches each year which would be 140 new church plants over the next 7 years. Planting new churches along with decreasing the number of churches that die each year, so that we might realize the God goal of 500 churches in SCBI. (2021)
  7. 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 in the local church, Association and statewide emphasis. (2022)
  8. Highland Lakes Camp Marker – Our goal is to see God bring salvation to students and leaders, to expand our facilities, to see HLBC used more and more for equipping opportunities and to see spiritual leaders developed discipled and deployed through the use of these great facilities. (2022)

2023 will be to go back to evangelism, revitalization, equipping and the cooperative program.
2024 will be to go back to Mission Partnership, Planting, Leadership Development, Highland Lakes.
2025 will be to have a year to celebrate what God has done in and through our churches and leaders.

God goals? I want to be part of something where God is working. I want to see things happen that can only be explained as being something GOD did. We can do much in our own strength and skill, but the best things are the ones where God is leading and bringing the fruit. That is my desire, to listen to the Father and help Him accomplish His desires. It is the desire of your state convention staff, not to come and tell you what to do, but to come alongside you and help you accomplish what God is leading you to do.

My prayer is that we would choose to cooperate with each other for the sake of the Gospel and our unifying mission and purpose.

Until next time,