A new education initiative that will be rolling out in the coming months was just one part of an encouraging agenda the Florida Baptist State Board of Missions considered as they gathered last week at Lake Yale Baptist Conference Center. Here’s what happened:
→Tommy Green, executive director-treasurer, shared with board members that Hershel Lyons, chancellor of the division of public schools for the Florida Department of Education, has asked Florida Baptist churches to get involved in Florida’s public schools. Green and Next Gen Catalyst Billy Young recently met with Lyons to discuss what that might look like and how churches can get involved. Green said the initiative will operate under the theme “Write Beside You” and information on how churches can participate will be available in the coming months.
→The Board approved a motion to fund a Baptist Collegiate Ministries (BCM) director for the Baptist College of Florida (BCF). Because BCF has expanded the degree areas they offer, there is an increasing number of students seeking degrees outside of theological education. This new member of the Next Gen BCM team will work with BCF staff and students, increasing ministry opportunities on and off campus. This is the first such position at BCF.
→The Board also approved a motion to once again designate the Maguire State Missions Offering to the Send South Florida initiative. For 2017, Send South Florida received $694,700 to help plant and revitalize churches in the Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach areas. Planter Derek Allen from Christ Centered Church in Miami shared with the group how the funds are making a difference in an area that is very open to the Gospel.
→In response to legislation passed as a result of the Parkland school shooting that enables licensed individuals to carry firearms in public schools, the Board discussed having Convention legal counsel Gary Yeldell draft a letter that would extend those permissions to churches that host schools. Currently, licensed church members cannot carry a firearm to church if there is a school housed on campus, even if the school is not in session.
→Each of the Convention’s cooperating ministries, Florida Baptist Financial Services, Baptist College of Florida and Florida Baptist Children’s Homes gave reports, with Lake Yale Baptist Conference Center reporting for the first time since its transition. The Board celebrated the new look the Florida Baptist Children’s Home adopted as they recently rebranded The Porch Light, Orphan’s Heart and all non-campus care services under the theme “One More Child.” Children’s Home President Jerry Haag shared that their new look doesn’t change their commitment to their mission to provide Christ-centered services to children and families in need that has guided Florida Baptist Children’s Homes since 1904.
→The Board further voted to give Florida Baptist Convention-owned property in West Virginia to the West Virginia Convention of Southern Baptists to bless and encourage their ministry.
As usual, the multi-day meeting was marked with times of prayer, praise, and worship for the churches, pastors, and ministry taking place all around our great state.
While celebrating the work of Southern Baptists in Florida, Green reminded Board members, Convention staff and guests to pray for the search committees of the Southern Baptist Convention and International Mission Board as they seek to replace their leadership in the wake of recent exits. Green noted that it is a pivotal and exciting time in Southern Baptist life as we wait to see what God will do.
Click here for more about the State Board’s spring meeting!
By Nicole Kalil, Florida Baptist Convention, April 13, 2018