On the day before the Baptist Convention of New Mexico's 2017 Annual Meeting, State Mission Board staff hosted a Registration Reception. The event first appeared at the 2016 Annual Meeting in Taos. BCNM Executive Director Joseph Bunce said, "It was a phenomenal success."
The reception's purpose was promoting fellowship and providing an opportunity for friends to sit, connect and share a snack. Bunce described it as a “family reunion.” The reception offered participants a chance to meet missionaries, visit with BCNM staff and ask questions about available resources.
Herb Gage described the reception as a place “where you can see everyone and have a chance to visit.” Gage retired in December 2016 from pastoring First Baptist Church, Hagerman; then, he immediately began serving as the church's interim pastor.
Convention staff encouraged pre-registration for the Annual Meeting. At the reception, name tags were ready for pre-registered messengers. The name tags were ready to serve as voting ballots if a visible vote was necessary. The tags also identified messengers as a security measure. A different name tag is available for visitors, who are also encouraged to register. By pre-registering, name tags and other materials are ready for pick-up at the reception.
Local churches select and certify messengers to the Annual Meeting. Nancy Faucett, executive ministry assistant at the BCNM and convention recording secretary, explained that every New Mexico Baptist church is entitled to two messengers, plus one for each 25 members—not to exceed eight messengers.
When asked how location affects registration numbers, Faucett said usually more registrations come from the local area churches, regardless of the location. However, she said, driving distance does factor into attendance for any convention. The largest registrations are for conventions held in the Albuquerque area since it is more centrally located, she said.
Reception guest Pedro Ramirez expressed excitement about being at this convention, though not his first, because he is attending as a church planter. Ramirez pastors Iglesia Bautista Nueva Esperanza (New Hope Baptist Church), Deming. As a church planter, he receives support from the North American Mission Board and the BCNM. First Baptist Church, Deming, is the church plant's sending church. Ramirez and his wife, Dolly, also work with small congregations at Columbus and Santa Clara. They will officially launch Iglesia Bautista Nueva Esperanza in January 2018.
Reception exhibits included the Baptist New Mexican promoting www.GoBNM.com, and offering a sign-up for weekly emails and a chance to win a 1,000-piece bag of Lego-style bricks and free 10-piece Lego-style sample bags. The Lego-style pieces were intended to represent churches and members connect together to accomplish the convention's Advancing the Kingdom objectives.
Inlow Camp and Sivells Camp displayed images of children at summer camp and promoted suggestions for helping at the camp facilities during the year. The New Mexico WMU booth challenged churches to “Pray, Learn, Give, Grow, Do, Participate” in missions education. The New Mexico Baptist Children’s Home displayed live plants that represented the lives their ministry has touched. They gave away small watering cans with a seed packet promoting “Grow With Us” and “Let Love Grow” wildflower seeds.
A North American Mission Board display encouraged its visitors to pray for church planters using www.PrayforPlanters.com. The BCNM evangelism and discipleship team promoted the New Mexico Evangelism Conference Feb. 26-27, 2018. The BCNM leadership development team offered free T-shirts. Seminary and college information was also available at institution displays. Reception and convention guests could also shop at an on-site LifeWay Store.