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 seven 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), Cecil W. Seagle
(2011-2016), Steve McNeil (2017-2021), and Ryan Strother (2021-present).
Today the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana numbers around 450 churches and church plants and a budget of more than three million, with financial assistance from the North American Mission Board. 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.
At the end of 2015 SCBI was able to sell the original building on the west side of Indianapolis and move offices to property owned very near the camp. This transition allowed SCBI to invest less in overhead and more in ministry.