By Grace Thornton
The Alabama Baptist
From reaching budget goals to achieving new highs in offering giving to making plans for the long-range future, Alabama Baptists have a lot to get excited about, said Rick Lance, executive director of the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions (SBOM).
This year the state reached a 50/50 split of Cooperative Program funds between the state’s budget and the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) for the first time. It’s a goal Alabama Baptists have been working toward for several years — and reached five years early.
State Baptists also met their $1 million goal for the Myers-Mallory State Missions Offering on the Friday before convention — a goal that had been raised from $750,000 the year before.
All of that is “worthy of celebration,” Lance said at the beginning of the SBOM report to messengers attending the Alabama Baptist State Convention annual meeting Nov. 13.
During the meeting messengers approved a $37.5 million budget for 2019, to be split 50/50 with the SBC. They also approved a recommendation that the SBOM executive committee work alongside SBOM staff to develop initiatives for BEYOND 2020, which will be presented at the 2019 annual meeting in Daphne.
BEYOND 2020 will “refresh our look” and “refocus on the Great Commission in important ways,” Lance said.
Also during the report, the SBOM presented the Troy L. Morrison Leadership/Church Health Award, which broke from the norm this year. Usually the award honors the pastor of three types of church — a new work, a bivocational work and an established work.
“Because of the convention theme ‘Faithful,’ we chose to do something a little different,” said Mike Jackson, director of the SBOM office of leadership and church health.
The award was presented to two pastors who had served their churches for more than 30 years — James Mercer, pastor of Hollinger’s Island Baptist Church, Mobile, and Jacky Connell, pastor of Eden Westside Baptist Church, Pell City.
The SBOM also inaugurated the Tommy Puckett Award for Excellence, named in honor of Puckett, a longtime Alabama Baptist men’s ministry and disaster relief strategist who died in February.
Mark Wakefield, current disaster relief strategist, presented the award to two disaster relief volunteers who have been “key players” in the state’s work. They are David Hendon of Northside Baptist Church, Jasper, and Rob Mayes of First Baptist Church, Prattville.
Mayes thanked the SBOM for honoring Puckett through the new award.
“If it wasn’t for Tommy, I wouldn’t be standing here today,” he said.
Also during the SBOM report:
• Messengers approved the auditor’s report of SBOM.
• Messengers affirmed the special offering goals for 2019 — Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, $12 million; Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, $6 million; Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes & Family Ministries, $2.8 million; Myers-Mallory State Missions Offering, $1.2 million; and Global Hunger Offering, $800,000.
• The 2018 annual was dedicated in memory of David Potts, former president of Judson College in Marion, and Mike McLemore, former executive director of Birmingham Baptist Association.
• The training room at the Alabama Baptist Disaster Relief Center in Prattville was named after Puckett.
Newly elected State Board of Missions officers
• Chair Mike Goforth, pastor of Sardis Baptist Church, Boaz
• Vice chair Greg Corbin, pastor of Lakeside Baptist Church, Birmingham