BANGKOK— Representing its 10,000 churches worldwide, messengers have met to elect a new leadership council for the International Partnership of Fundamental Baptist Ministries.
The newly elected Council of Eight includes Chris Hindal, GARBC International Ministries director; Cyrus Wanyonyi of Kenya; James Togba of Liberia; H. C. Stephen of India; Samson Sathish Divakar of India; Pau Chin Khai of Myanmar; Reuel Lumilang of the Philippines; and Enoch Principe of Peru.
The Council of Eight will serve as a governing board that is tasked with the responsibility to research and approve prospective new partners and to dismiss current partners if necessary.
Immediately following the meeting, the council met to elect H. C. Stephen of the New Testament Baptist Churches Association in Manipur, northeast India. He will succeed Chris Hindal, who agreed to serve as the first Council of Eight chairman at its 2009 meeting.
In other action, the new Council of Eight agreed to recommend as a new partner the Fellowship of Baptist Churches in Manipur, an association of churches among the Thadou Kuki tribe.
Earlier in the business meeting, the partners voted to adopt a proposed constitution as a working document until it can be formally approved at the next IPFBM conference four years from now.
Hindal explained that the proposed constitution will be used as a guide to the partnership for the next four years in the course of doing ministry. The constitution includes a statement of purpose as well as guidelines for meetings and voting privileges.
Also during the business meeting, Hindal read tributes to two Council of Eight members who went Home to be with the Lord since the first All-Partners Conference in 2009. They were David Osoyi, who pastored Faith Baptist Church of Kenya, and Sam Quapourlee, who served with the African Fundamental Baptist Mission in Liberia.
Chris reported that the IPFBM currently has 60 partner associations in 18 countries representing 10,000 churches. He assured the voting members that the partnership has no intention of bringing about any mergers between the ministries, but to remain independent and autonomous while working together.
Chris also reported that since 2009, the IPFBM has dropped two partners, one in Kenya for charismatic practices and one in Taiwan that proved not to be an association but rather a local church. Chris told the partners, “That should encourage you from the standpoint that this is a partnership based upon common doctrine, separating from liberalism and charismatic practice and commitment to the Great Commission.”
Five of the most recent associations of churches to join the IPFBM include the Association of Soul-Winning Baptist Churches of Liberia, the Evangelical Baptist Churches of Rwanda, the Eastern Uganda Baptist Association, the Bangladesh Tribal Association of Baptist Churches, Hope Now Interior Ministries of India, and the Association of Regular Baptist Churches of Brazil. Chris said, “Praise God for those who want to partner with us.”
The Council of Eight is discussing opportunities for the IPFBM to plan regional or countrywide conferences in the coming years. “We need to get down to grass roots,” Chris said.
As an example of this type of regional networking, Chris mentioned a meeting last year in Myanmar when he met with representatives from six associations of churches who all knew about each other but had never met until that time. They said, “We would like someone from the partnership to help us plan the first countrywide conference, and we will take it from there.” A year from now, they plan to meet in Myanmar.
The IPFBM is still in its early stages of development. Focused on the Great Commission, the intent of the partnership is to help each partner become more effective in reaching the world for Jesus Christ.
Darrell Goemaat is director of photography for the Baptist Bulletin.