Published Sep 06, 2022
FRESNO—More than 59 messengers from 31 churches representing 15 associations registered during the first week of preregistration for the 2022 California Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting at Bryte Church in West Sacramento.
Sarah Graham, director of the CSBC Office of Communications, made the report during the monthly CSBC staff meeting on August 30. She also updated staff about various other aspects of the annual meeting and trained staff in areas related to communications, such as social media.
Mike Bivins, CSBC Disaster Relief coordinator, said even though the state is in the middle of “wildfire” season, DR has been activated only once during the summer for the Oak Fire near Yosemite National Park. He reported that although volunteers ministered to about 100 families in Mariposa County, DR volunteers helped 25 families with personal property recovery.
With more than 400 connections with churches and pastors this year, Ralph Neighbour, leader of the CSBC Church Revitalization Initiatives Team, reported much needs to be accomplished in getting churches “up to speed” related to AB506, the new California law dealing with training in child abuse and neglect identification and reporting.
Jason Blankenship, leader of the CSBC Evangelism Initiatives Team, reported 169 churches in 2022 received evangelism grants totaling almost $350,000. The grants to help with outreach projects resulted in 1,033 professions of faith, 397 rededications, and 103 baptisms.
In talking about the “Better Together” theme for CSBC’s annual meeting, Francis Chung, leader of the CSBC Missions Initiatives Team, said partnerships with associations and ethnic fellowships are vital to the success of the CSBC. He also mentioned it is mirrored by CSBC churches such as the Chinese Baptist Church of Los Angeles in Alhambra, which recently participated in a migrant missions project as part of Feeding Those Who Feed Us in the Bakersfield area.
He noted that in July that almost projects had been accomplished through migrant ministries by 234 volunteers from 32 CSBC congregations resulting in 336 professions of faith.
Exceeding the goal of starting 10 new churches in 2022, the CSBC Church Planting Initiatives Team reported 32 new starts for the year. Ross Shepherd, leader of the team, said of the total, six of those are Hispanic church plants, exceeding that goal of five for the year. He also noted the possibility of planting another Hispanic church through migrant ministries in Madera.
Marc Tempesta, CSBC chief financial officer, reported Cooperative Program receipts at almost 97 percent of projected income through July. For the first seven months of the year, gifts to CP totaled $3,388,741 compared to the objective of $3.5 million for the same period.
He said giving for the summer months was down but noted, “that is to be expected. The Convention realizes the same summer challenges as our churches.”
CSBC Executive Director Pete Ramirez reported that he continues to travel throughout the state to meet with pastors and other Baptist leaders to formulate his collective strategy for the Convention. He said it is important to continue building partnerships with CSBC congregations, associations, The Baptist Foundation of California, California Baptist University, Gateway Seminary, and other SBC entities and institutions. From these partnerships, a truly collective strategy for CSBC will emerge.
He encouraged staff and churches of the Convention to keep evangelism and missions the main things and not be “sidetracked in our efforts and commitment to the Great Commission.”
Ramirez said his desire is to “serve alongside cooperating Southern Baptist churches and be proactive in meeting their needs.”