Steve Ballew Headshot

Steve Ballew is executive director of the Baptist Convention of New Mexico.

SN03851, SN03858, SN03917

Runners, hikers, drivers and other tech-savvy people rely on GPS devices to track their activities, monitor their location and plan upcoming routes. Those devices create and store paths using waypoints. For a path that a person traveled in the past, waypoints describe each place they have been. Google maps pioneered “dropping a pin” on a map. Google Map’s “pins” are waypoints. When connected, Google’s pins create a path. Waypoints, like breadcrumbs dropped along a journey, can tell one person where another person has been.

This article is like a list of waypoints in my transition from pastoring to serving all New Mexico Baptists through the Baptist Convention of New Mexico. Instead of locations, these waypoints are things that have happened or that are just ahead. By the time you read this article, I will be completing my first six months as your lead missionary. What a whirlwind! I feel like a tumbleweed caught in a dust devil.

I have enjoyed the privilege of sharing with churches from the northwest (Farmington), to the southwest (Silver City), to the south (Las Cruces), to the northeast (Des Moines), to the north (Las Vegas), and many places in between. More importantly, I have met incredible people along the way. And, somehow, I have even connected with a few people with whom I went to high school. That is actually a little scary if you knew me in high school.

I have visited three of our oldest churches: First Baptist Church, Las Vegas; First Baptist Church, Alamogordo; and First Baptist Church, Des Moines. I have been in churches that are 21st century new births. New Mexico Baptists span such a great variety of people, places and ministries. Thank you for the privilege of allowing me to serve you.

I am writing these words as the convention’s camp season begins for Inlow and Sivells. You are reading as the first month of the season ends.

The convention staff is excited to be able to open for camps this summer. I know that many campers’ lives will be changed this summer. Camps are a critical ministry that New Mexico Baptists do together. Thank you for your faithful giving to the Cooperative Program and the Mission New Mexico State Missions Offering. Your gifts are making a difference in the lives of many campers, their families and their churches this summer. 

Because you gave faithfully, we were able to bring our camps back on-line this summer. Last year, expenses were down without campers, but we still face the expenses that accompany owning the properties and keeping them ready for use. Keep in mind, we had no income last year from camps because we had no camps. Your continued giving this year will not only make a difference in the lives of campers this year, but will position us well for next year, when we anticipate being able to have a full camping schedule at full capacity.

I continue to see our BCNM staff revamped. In this newspaper and the previous one, you have seen the byline of one of our newest employees. Isaiah Unland joined us in May and serves under Kevin Parker’s direction on the Information Services Team.

Sam Swann also has a new responsibility. For years Sam has served as our student ministries guy. While he continues that ministry, he is also going to serve as the convention’s Leadership Development Team leader. Once camping season passes, we will search for someone to serve alongside Sam on that team.

Also, by sometime in July, we hope to have filled the position of Christian Challenge campus director for the University of New Mexico. We have other positions we are prayerfully attempting to fill, as well. That information will be available on the convention’s website at bcnm.com/employment.

Our most significant next hire is to find someone to lead our Missions Mobilization Team. That team facilitates church planting, disaster relief, hunger ministries, international mission partnerships, ethnic ministries, and anything else our churches might call “missions.” If you would like to make a recommendation for that leadership position, I would be delighted to receive it. 

In a sentence, or two, I want to thank the BCNM staff. New Mexico Baptists have a top-notch convention staff. They really do show up each day with hearts that are singularly focused on seeing the Kingdom of God expanded through the work of your local church. They are your staff. They find their greatest pleasure from working with you and for your church.

One final, personal, note. I am grateful for Vista Grande Church, Sandia Park allowing me to stay in their mission house for the last three months while my wife and I have continued our transition to living in Albuquerque. If all went well, we closed on our new home on June 21. We will move in during the first part of July. Why the delay? My wife is the Vacation Bible School director for our church in Farmington (still a member of Emmanuel). She wanted to complete that responsibility. VBS ends July 2. How can you argue with someone who loves VBS that much?

See you soon.  Somewhere.  Somehow.

Steve.

SN4515

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