This week I met with a church that is interested in affiliating with the Northwest Baptist Convention. There was a great deal of excitement in the room as we discussed the synergy that we enjoy by serving together with like-hearted churches. Simply put – we have far greater Kingdom impact by working together, and this was obvious to every person in the room as we discussed the cooperative work of the NWBC. This particular church is a large church, with more than 1,000 in Sunday attendance. But even a large church understands that they can’t start healthy churches without others to help them. They can’t send missionaries and do disaster relief and educate their pastors without cooperating with other churches. So, this large, independent church is now praying about uniting with the NWBC.
The meeting with above mentioned church happened because one of our church planters developed a relationship with their pastor, and as the pastor learned about who we are, he became more and more interested in affiliation. Many of you who read these articles have similar relationships with pastors who, like the one I met with this week, like what they see of the NWBC. Because of that, I thought it would help you to have some information that you can share with those who are might like to work together with Northwest Baptists.
A Brief Description of the NWBC
The Northwest Baptist Convention (NWBC) is a network of about 450 churches in Oregon, Washington and Northern Idaho which voluntarily cooperate to fulfill the Great Commission of Jesus Christ. We believe that working together provides incredible opportunity for greater kingdom impact. Our churches represent dozens of languages and ethnic groups, including 40 Korean-language churches and about 30 Spanish-language churches. Baptist churches are autonomous, and we have no creed, but the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 describes the beliefs of Baptists regarding the major issues of the faith. The following information demonstrates some of the ways that our churches partner together.
I. The following are some ways that NWBC churches work together
1. Church planting in the Northwest. Together we facilitate about 20 new church starts every year. We do this in partnership with the North American Mission Board (NAMB). These new churches receive training, mentoring and funding over a period of 3-5 years.
2. Pastor/leader training and encouragement. Pastor clusters, retreats, conferences, and individual consultations are some ways this is accomplished.
3. East Asia missions partnership. The NWBC is in the process of establishing a partnership with missionaries who focus on unreached people groups in East Asia. NWBC churches have the opportunity to work with overseas personnel that are placed through the International Mission Board (IMB).
4. NWBC churches partner with, and support, over 4,800 IMB missionaries. Approved members of our churches can be trained, sent, and supported as missionaries through the IMB.
5. Disaster Relief. The NWBC has over 600 trained D.R. workers who are members of our churches. They respond to disasters across the nation and around the world. The NWBC is affiliated with the North American Mission Board which coordinates D.R. work in North America.
6. The NWBC provides My316 evangelism and new believer resources to all affiliated churches.
7. NWBC churches partner with six Southern Baptist seminaries, whose total enrollment exceeds 16,000 students. Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary’s Pacific Northwest Campus is located in Vancouver, WA and his housed in our NWBC headquarters. Students from NWBC churches have greatly reduced tuition at all six seminaries.
8. Collegiate Ministry, Youth Ministry, Children’s Ministry and Senior Adult Ministry are each a part of the work of the NWBC. Retreats, training and conferences focus on these various age-groups.
9 In addition to cooperating with the NWBC, many churches are involved in local Baptist associations, working together at the local level to advance the Kingdom.
II. NWBC churches cooperate together in some of the following ways
1. The average giving of NWBC churches to the cooperative program budget of the NWBC is a little more than 7% of their budget receipts. Some give more, some give less. New churches that are funded by NWBC must give 10% to missions, with at least 6% of that to the cooperative program. NWBC churches are autonomous and determine what they give.
2. Three major mission offerings also support the work of the NWBC, IMB and NAMB. Participating churches generally receive these offerings three times a year, but each church determines how they support the mission work of the NWBC and the larger Southern Baptist Convention.
3. Attending the Annual Meeting of the NWBC during the second Tuesday-Wednesday of November. Each NWBC church is able to send messengers to the annual convention, at which our cooperative missions budget is adopted, among many other things.
4. Annual Church Profile. NWBC churches are encouraged to report attendance information, baptism statics, etc. each year as a means to track our progress in fulfilling the Great Commission.
You can add to this description of how NWBC churches partner together. Don’t be shy about telling our story! And let me know when you encounter a pastor or church, small or large, who would like to talk about affiliation. The church I mentioned earlier has investigated their options and they have determined that if they choose to affiliate with a denomination, there is no one doing more in the Northwest to reach the lost, plant churches, respond to disasters, encourage pastors, and send missionaries than our cooperating churches. Truly, it is a good day to serve the Lord in the Northwest!