During the Tuesday afternoon session of the Baptist Convention of New Mexico’s 2017 Annual Meeting, messengers heard reports of expanding ministry from the convention's two entities.
Randy Rankin, administrator of the New Mexico Baptist Children’s Home and Family Ministries, reported that the Children’s Home has expanded its work significantly in the last year. Rankin reminded messengers that at the 2016 Annual Meeting in Taos, messengers to the convention approved a name change for the ministry adding “and Family Ministries.” As a result, several new ministry efforts have emerged.
Through a partnership with the convention, the home brought onto its staff Connie Dixon, the BCNM's WMU director, with an aim to expand the home's Christian Women’s Job Corps ministry. Rankin reported that, under her leadership, the ministry now has five CWJC sites (up from the original Portales site), as well as a Christian Men’s Job Corp site—bringing the total to six sites.
The Children’s Home also hired a Christian family counselor to help families in crisis. The home provides those services to its community at no cost. Rankin stated that the counselor stays busy meeting needs in Portales. He also said that he and the home's staff and board are thankful for a counselor whose work relies on Christian principles.
Rankin reaffirmed the NMBCH’s commitment to launching an adoption ministry. He reported that the home has been seeking a licensed social worker to facilitate the adoption ministry. Though several individuals have been interviewed and the position has even been offered to a few, Rankin said, “We just haven’t been provided with that person yet.” So, Rankin asked messengers to continue praying for the right person to fill the position.
Rankin expressed gratitude for contributions from the Mission New Mexico State Mission Offering. A portion of the 2017 offering is designated for the home's adoption ministry.
He told how previous offerings had contributed to the home's transitional living program, which is now operational. Using volunteers from across the state, building a transitional living apartment on the Children’s Home campus took two years. This ministry helps older children's home residents learn how to live on their own.
In another development, Rankin reported a gift that “tremendously blessed” the home in January of this year. A church in Estancia had given their property to Central Baptist Association when it dissolved. In turn, the association offered the facility to the Children’s Home. But, there was a catch. Debt still remained on the property. Since the Children’s Home seeks to operate without debt, Rankin initially declined the property. Consequently, the association voted to pay off the $40,000 debt and gifted the property to the home. Rankin expressed his gratitude for the church building: “Even though the church may have closed its doors, that property is still going to serve the Lord. I tell folks that it’s changed from a house of [Christian] worship to a place of [Christian] service.”
The home has many plans for this new facility. The building will house an office for the new adoption worker, once someone is hired for that position. Its fellowship hall and education areas are being remodeled into a cottage similar to those on the Portales campus. This cottage will provide a site for houseparents and children to live closer to the central part of the state. Rankin hopes the location will enable parents from that area to be involved with their children who are residents at the home, because of the shorter travel. The facility also houses a Christian Women’s Job Corps site and has been used by local Children, Youth and Families Department workers for meetings.
Rankin thanked New Mexico Baptists for their 98 years of support for the Children’s Home. He told messengers “God’s blessed us in tremendous ways this past year at the Children’s Home, and it’s all because of you, all of you New Mexico Baptists. Through churches [and] individuals through Mission New Mexico, all of you have done your part, and I want to thank you personally.”
In the next entity report, Rick Breeden, New Mexico Baptist Foundation president, shared that during the foundation's 70-year lifespan, it has distributed a total of more than $31 million for Kingdom work. In the last 10 years, he said, more than $12 million has been distributed—while total assets have grown by more than $14 million. The Foundation currently manages a total asset base of more than $44 million. Breeden reminded messengers that though “dollars don’t save people,” they “are a resource that help organizations to share the Gospel.”
Breeden compared the Foundation's impact to fingerprints. He described the impact of parents and grandparents in the life of a child as fingerprints upon that child’s life. Such fingerprints, he told messengers, are found wherever Foundation resources have been utilized. Closing his report, he encouraged messengers to “use the Foundation as a resource to equip you to decide … where you can leave your fingerprints.”