“And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20b).
In an uncertain world, the certainty of God’s promises provide stability. When the norms governing human affairs for millennia are upended, Christians look to God’s Word for guidance and hope.
Jesus’ final words in the Great Commission are a promise. He knew that “making disciples of all nations” was impossible apart from His continued presence. This promise was claimed by Peter, Matthew, and the other Apostles as they made disciples, and it has been claimed by believers ever since. It was David Livingstone’s favorite Bible verse. He buried his wife and baby daughter in Africa. He survived a lion attack and conflict between warring tribes. But Jesus was with him, and that enabled him to continue his missionary labors. In a letter to a friend, Livingstone wrote:
We have an immense region before us. Thousands live and die without God and
without hope, though the command went forth of old, “Go ye into all the world and
preach the Gospel to every creature.” It is a venture to take wife and children into a
country where fever, African fever, prevails. But who that believes in Jesus would refuse
to make a venture for such a Captain? A parent’s heart alone can feel as I do when I
look at my little ones and ask, shall I return with this or that one alive? However, we are
His, and wish to have no interests apart from those of His Kingdom and glory. May He
bless us and make us blessings even unto death” (Mackenzie, 113f).
The only non-family portrait in our home is that of David Livingstone. It is there to remind me of what a man can do when he is certain of Jesus’ presence. Thank God, Northwest Baptists can claim Jesus’ promise with the same certainty as Peter and Paul, and Luther and Livingstone.
The NWBC is a missions organization. It exists to facilitate missions for cooperating churches. Believing that the Great Commission is given to every believer and every church, Northwest Baptists work together to train leaders, start churches, and send and support missionaries throughout the Northwest and to the world beyond.
Key to our work is encouraging and supporting pastors. This annual report reflects strong involvement from our pastors in Shepherd to Shepherd meetings, Oasis Retreat, and Church Planter Retreats. We also provide Christian counseling and Soul Care to pastors and their families. Healthy churches have healthy pastors, and serving pastors is key to our mission. We also assist churches who are seeking a pastor by providing guidance in how to go about the process of a pastoral search.
Worshipping in six different languages, 23 new churches began their work since November 2021. Seven worship in English, 11 in Spanish, 2 in Vietnamese, and 1 each in Tagalog, Korean, and Marshallese. From 2103 to the present we have had 188 new church starts in 18 different languages.
By God’s grace and abundant provision, Northwest Baptists emerged from the Covid-19 pandemic far stronger than we could have imagined two years ago. The resilience of pastors, and the faithfulness of churches, has enabled us to advance God’s mission in the Northwest.
New NWBC Office Building Nearing Completion
In August 2021 we completed the sale of our previous 36,000 square foot office building for $9,138,000, and a net of $8,424,924 after commissions, taxes and rent of temporary offices. The new 11,800 square foot office building is nearing completion, with a mid-December target date, at a cost of $5,504,476. This new building will greatly reduce the cost of maintenance and operations, while still housing NWBC, NWBF, and Gateway Seminary offices. This transition to a smaller facility also enables Northwest Baptists to invest approximately $2.9 million for ministry in the Northwest.
NWBC 2022 and 2023 Ministry Budgets
By the grace of God, the NWBC entered 2022 in a strong financial position, and we will end the year strong, with several months of cash reserves in our budget account. Over the past decade our churches have increased Cooperative Program and Northwest Missions giving, while we have managed over $2,000,000 in reductions from our national SBC partners NAMB and Lifeway. While this reduction has been painful, we have continued to grow the number of churches cooperating with the NWBC, provide evangelism resources to every church that requests them, and start a record number of churches. Remarkably, our cash reserves have also grown, and we have not had to lay off one staff member in all these years, but have instead utilized planned retirements to reduce full-time staff to match income.
The 2023 budget reflects an increase in Cooperative Program and Mission Northwest giving of $90,000, for a total of $2,990,000. For the first time, the 2023 Ministry Budget includes a line item for the giving of churches that designate to the NWBC, and possibly to some entities of the SBC, rather than give undesignated through the Cooperative Program. Over the past few years, we have an increasing number of churches give in this designated fashion, and in the interest of transparency we want to reflect that in the budget.
You will also note that the 2022 budget reflects $450,000 in revenues from cash reserves, while the 2023 budget reflects $109,000 from reserves. I am grateful that we were able to reduce spending from reserves by $341,000. It is possible that we won’t need to spend any of the cash reserves in 2023, but the cash is available if needed.
Voluntary networks like the NWBC rely on maintaining trust and goodwill to be effective in advancing our mission. We value transparency because each cooperating church has a right to know the facts as best we know them. We value accountability because we are stewards of God’s gifts that come through His people. A steward is accountable. We value your participation in the work of our convention because your church is the body of Christ, and you are a part of Christ’s body. Every church matters and every person matters, to the glory of God.