ALBUQUERQUE (BNM) - The Baptist Convention of New Mexico met for its quarterly State Mission Board meeting on Monday, April 20. Via a Zoom videoconference, board members were able to hear and discuss the work God is doing throughout the state. This periodic review allows the Board to touch base with the various ministries and programs supported by the convention. The meeting also ensures wise stewardship of God's resources. It encourages those who are ministering and being inspired by reports of God's faithfulness. Short summaries of some of the reports presented to board members follow below.
The New Mexico Baptist Foundation (nmbf.com), which has distributed $35 million since its inception in 1948, saw 10.26% growth in its fund during 2019. It was able to provide $1.5 million in funding last year. Those monies supported the New Mexico Baptist Children's Home, the International Mission Board, the Baptist Convention of New Mexico's Mission Division and the North American Mission Board. Funds also aided programs and scholarships for individual Baptist students. Additionally, the NMBF assists New Mexico Baptists with "estate planning, wills, trusts, gift annuities, charitable gifting, scholarships, and endowments."
The New Mexico Baptist Children's Home (nmbch.com), founded in response to the 1918 Flu Pandemic, just celebrated its 100th anniversary of ministering to children and families. During the current pandemic, contributions have remained steady. Recently donated butchered meat has allowed house parents to limit grocery store visits and isolate together since March 13. The Home welcomed a new set of relief parents, Mike and Karla Cannata. Mike Cannata was the manager of Inlow Baptist Camp until recently. He will serve as the maintenance director and Karla as the administrative assistant.
The BCNM’s Evangelism and Discipleship Team hosted the New Mexico Evangelism Conference in February at Sandia Baptist Church, Albuquerque. The New Mexico Singing Churchmen and New Mexico Women of Worship led worship for 588 attendees who representing 132 churches. Since then, the team has focused mainly on networking with pastors and churches and expects to move forward with church revitalization strategies. The EDT continues to supply resources for disciple-making and outreach. EDT has welcomed new pastors in Las Vegas and Des Moines. It has scheduled next year's Evangelism Conference for February 22-23, 2021, also at Sandia Baptist Church, Albuquerque. Individuals interested in evangelism or discipleship resources should contact Cheryl Vaughn at (505) 924-2314.
Christian Challenge is the college campus ministry across New Mexico. CC includes sites at Eastern and Western New Mexico Universities, University of New Mexico, New Mexico State University, San Juan Community College, Highlands University, New Mexico Tech, New Mexico Junior College, and the University of the Southwest. New Mexico Tech hosted the inaugural meeting for its Pro-Life Club earlier this year and anticipated continuing once school resumes. Together, these ministries are engaging in discipleship through online prayer groups, men's and women's Bible studies and remote one-on-one mentoring. Leaders have noticed students struggling with a lack of community and depression. In response, they are seeking to offer encouragement and venues for continued growth during these months. Anyone looking for a Christian community on one of New Mexico's college campuses can learn more at bcnm.com/ChristianChallenge.
The Information Services Team both prints the Baptist New Mexican and maintains online resources. From January through March, the Baptist New Mexican published nine issues for just over 5,500 subscribers. The team mailed 50,211 newspapers to those subscribers. Online resources include Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts, which have a total of 3,651 followers. During the first 91 days of 2020, across all social media accounts, the team saw its 232 post garner 95,511 views. 78,032 of those views were unique account holders. The online news portal, GoBNM.com, had almost 9,000 visitors during the quarter and published 211 stories and photos. Additionally, the team provides Zoom capabilities for the convention. Zoom has become critical in recent months. The team maintains three licensed Zoom meeting rooms, four Zoom pro user licenses and a Zoom webinar license and supports a host of basic Zoom user accounts and meeting participants. Those resources permitted the BCNM to host 154 Zoom meetings (299 hours) for missionaries, staff and New Mexico Baptists during the quarter.
The Leadership Development Team sponsored Team West training in February. One hundred attended from nine states. Workshops addressed small groups, Bible study and Sunday school. Ricardo Rivera, the BCNM's Hispanic strategist, presented on "lostology" and reaching Hispanic Millennials. Gateway Seminary presses forward in its mission to provide education in theology and Christian leadership through Advance classes. Advance was previously known as Contextualized Leadership Development. Online courses continue. Physical classrooms in Las Cruces (also offering Spanish instruction), Grants, Gallup and Albuquerque are available post-coronavirus use. Scholarships are available for Advance students.
The Children and Women's Ministries were also involved in Team West training in February. And in March, 200 women attended "'If' Gathering" via simulcast through First Baptist Church, Ruidoso. Postponed events due to COVID-19 in April included Vacation Bible School, Young Lives Ablaze and the Central Baptist Associations' women's conference. Krista Peterson has launched a bi-weekly Zoom meeting for children’s ministry leaders that has grown in attendance and participation.
BCNM Student Leadership Development has continued through YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Zoom. Many youth pastors and leaders have started small groups virtually and are staying connected with students through technology.
BCNM found it necessary to cancel all camps at Inlow and Sivells Baptist Camps through August due to COVID-19. Deaf Camp will take place at Sivells in September. Dates for 2021 BCNM StuCamp 1.0 and 2.0 are June 7-11 and June 14-18, respectively. Sivells will host both camps. BCNM StuCamp 3.0, is scheduled at Inlow for June 28-July 2, 2021. Both Sivells and Inlow are actively looking to fill several staffing positions. Sivells started renovations on the dining hall but expected delays on the improvements due to COVID-19. Sivells also hopes to improve its propane distribution system, thanks to assistance from Brian Bearden of P&D Petroleum in Lovington.
The Mission Mobilization Team rescheduled the Native American Awakening for 2021. The team also noted the completion of the online church planter portal. Five church planters, with the anticipation of five new churches in 2020, are in the works. The team’s Tupos Church Planting Conference was rescheduled to a one-day webinar, April 30 - the convention’s first all-day webinar experience.
Hispanic Ministries began a Sunday school revitalization program and currently has 17 churches committed for the next three years. Translation projects and networking using the Hispanic Newsletter, Blog and Facebook are ongoing projects.
Tom Blackaby will speak at the 2021 Native American Awakening conference. Two hundred attendees are expected. The Native American Ministries Team will conclude the analysis of traditional Native perspectives and Christianity while continuing a Worldview study and developing LeadershipNOW! and DiscipleLIFE! The team provides online resources for Native leaders and Native American millennials. Native American populations in New Mexico have been hard hit by the COVID-19 virus.
The New Mexico WMU board met in January. And in February, 40 individuals met in Carlsbad to train for Christian Men's and Women's Job Corps. A CWJC/CMJC location in Carlsbad should be operational by January of 2021.
The New Mexico Baptist Disaster Relief is involved in several aspects of COVID-19 response. NMBDR donated N95 masks to local hospitals. Volunteers participated in ongoing efforts to pack food boxes for distribution to the elderly and disabled throughout New Mexico and the Navajo Nation. NMBDR is looking for healthy and willing volunteers to pack food boxes, help at food pantries and deliver groceries. Individuals interested in volunteering can email NMBDR-IC1@bcnm.com or call 505-553-6086.
The BCNM Hunger Ministries continues to support 20 food pantries and meal programs. As of 2019, two of these programs have become self-sustaining.