The State Convention of Baptists in Indiana (SCBI) became the 29th state convention to affiliate with the Southern Baptist Convention on October 3, 1958. Constituting the new body were 258 messengers and 185 visitors from 111 churches with more than 20,000 members. The purpose stated for SCBI was to “establish, strengthen and inspire the churches in missionary, educational and benevolent enterprises.”
An original budget of $122,000, of which 25% was to go to Cooperative Program missions of the Southern Baptist Convention, was adopted. $85,000 was to come from Indiana churches with the balance from the SBC Home Mission and Sunday School Boards.
The Executive Board of the newly established convention elected E. Harmon Moore as SCBI’s first Executive Secretary-Treasurer. He served twenty-two years in that position. Since then Indiana has had five other executive directors: R. V. Haygood (1981-1987), Mark Coppenger (1988-1991), Charles W. Sullivan (1991-2003), Steve Davis (2003-2011 – the first native Hoosier executive director) and Cecil W. Seagle (2011-present).
Today the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana numbers around 420 churches and church plants and a budget of more than four million, with financial assistance from the North American Mission Board and LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. In 2004 the convention put in place a plan to systematically increase its percentage of Cooperative Program receipts forwarded to the Southern Baptist Convention until the 50/50 level is reached.
The state has undergone major changes in structure and organization in recent years, which has allowed the convention to be more efficient with God’s resources in not only reaching Indiana, but sending even more resources for world-wide SBC causes. The latest statistical information from the North American Mission Board cites Indiana as a state where, among more than six million people, only 20% attend any Christian church on any given Sunday.
Indiana is a convention on the cutting edge of finding ways to do more with less, without sacrificing quality and effectiveness. Through reorganization efforts and assistance from the Florida Baptist Convention and churches from the Mississippi Baptist Convention, church planting, leadership development and transformational initiatives are accelerating. Indiana pastors and churches have made the commitment to prayer walk every street and road in the state – praying for every household and against every stronghold – with the intent of sharing the gospel with every home in Indiana by 2020.
Note: A more detailed history of SCBI was printed in 2008, in celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Convention. A copy may be ordered from the convention office by calling 317.481.2400 ext. 246.