Montana Southern Baptist Convention Enters Into 7-Year Partnership With Baptist Churches in Alberta, Canada

Montana and Canadian Baptist leaders celebrate a new partnership. Photo by Karen Willoughby

Messengers to the 2019 annual meeting of the Montana Southern Baptist Convention voted unanimously Oct. 3 to enter into a seven-year reciprocal partnership with Baptist churches in Alberta that affiliate with the Canadian National Baptist Convention.

“Alberta is the perfect place for us to begin to stretch ourselves some,” MTSBC Executive Director/Treasurer Barrett Duke told messengers and guests. “After all, all you have to do is to get in your car and point it north, and you’ll end up in Alberta in a few hours or less.

“Alberta has a similar economy to ours,” Duke continued. “It has a good mix of rural and metropolitan ministry opportunities. There’s something in Alberta for each of our churches to do, and it won’t involve the high travel costs that prevent a lot of churches from getting involved in mission trips.”

The 166 people present for Montana’s annual meeting included 10 CNBC-Alberta pastors and leaders from as far as Edmonton, Alberta, who were present to establish relationships with Montanans, Nate Vedoya told Baptist Press. Vedoya is a church planter and the North American Mission Board’s Send City missionary in Edmonton.

In presenting the motion from the MTSBC executive board, President Chad Scarborough, pastor of First Baptist Church of Shelby, told the 76 messengers from 53 of the Montana convention’s 137 churches that participating in the partnership “gives your folks experience they’ll bring back to your church and at the same time, they will encourage the Alberta churches.”

The partnership is part of the state convention’s “Go Montana” initiative, which is in “vision-casting” stage this year and is set for mobilization in 2020. The initiative includes a first-ever statewide mission trip to Peru next August.

Easthaven Baptist Church in Kalispell hosted the meeting, which was themed “Refresh,” and the church’s praise team led in worship.

Budget, elections and other business

Business was quickly dispatched with unanimous votes each time: for the partnership with Alberta, passage of a $1,451,661 budget for 2020; provisional acceptance of Beaverhead River Cowboy Church in Dillon, which recently requested affiliation with the MTSBC; and re-election to second, one-year terms for President Chad Scarborough, pastor of First Baptist Church in Shelby; and for Vice President K.J. Ellington, pastor of Jordan Community Bible Church.

To encourage churches to participate in Montana’s first-ever statewide mission trip, the state convention will pay up to half the airfare cost for up to 15 people from any church that has not sent anyone on an international mission trip in the last 10 years, Duke announced.

The 2020 budget, which is a decrease of $55,615 from last year’s budget, includes $735,661 from Montana churches, a decrease of $44,385 from last year. A total of $640,000 is anticipated from the North American Mission Board, including $100,000 for administration and $540,000 for church planting and evangelism. LifeWay Christian Resources has allocated $60,000 again next year for Montana, and $16,000 is to come from interest income.

Montana plans to send $183,915 — 25 percent — of its income from churches for national and international SBC mission causes.

“We will never spend any more money than you send us,” Duke said. As a result of budget shortfall, the Next Generation (youth) Ministry position was eliminated. “We will continue to do all we can to minister to youth statewide,” Duke continued.

Disaster Relief became the fifth allocation for the State Missions Offering. The others are pastor emergencies, human needs, college ministries and Native American ministries, each of which will receive 20 percent of what churches send in.

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Source: Baptist Press