Virginia VOICE August 2015
Released: Monday, August 03, 2015
The 2014-2015 Year in Review and Plans for the Future
The Virginia Assembly of Independent Baptists (VAIB) has a vision to advance the rights, values, and liberties of the independent Baptists in Virginia. To accomplish this vision, we work in the following three areas:
- Strengthen. We strengthen your liberty by staying informed on the issues and pursuing strategic relationships.
- Educate. We educate God’s people on the issues that are facing independent Baptists at both the state and federal levels.
- Involve. We involve everyone as one voice in the process by being informed about the issues and by providing opportunities for action.
As I reviewed our goals from last year, I was pleased to see what VAIB has accomplished and challenged for the future.
We continued to build new relationships with legislators in Richmond, while maintaining strong relationships with others. Of the 2700 pieces of legislation introduced in the 2015 General Assembly, we opposed forty bills (only two of these passed) and supported twenty-three bills (twelve passed). Through our legislative work, we saw some strengthening of religious liberties in Virginia.
In addition to our work in Richmond, we visited our Virginia delegation in Washington, DC, lobbying for protection in areas where the federal government is overriding state positions. In June, we met with nine of our eleven representatives on six issues. It has been encouraging to see legislation introduced or soon to be introduced on four of these issues.
We will diligently continue our work both in Richmond and in Washington, DC.
Educate & Involve
Our schedule continues to engage with more non-supporting churches. We have forty meetings scheduled as of the writing of this letter, half with non-supporting churches; we have had four appointments with pastors of non-supporting churches; we have attended pastors’ fellowships to speak on behalf of VAIB; and we have made eight unscheduled visits to church services of non-supporting churches, two of which gave me opportunity to speak. We are still seeking to fill some open dates this fall.
We will continue to follow this pattern in our current three-year plan of visiting churches.
The ONE Voice for Liberties Conference was held September 18-19, 2014, and is an important educational tool. Attendance last year averaged 250 with offerings of $8100 and expenses of $9600.
This year’s conference is scheduled for September 17-18, 2015, in Richmond and has an expanded forum schedule which will challenge us in some new areas. For more details, go to www.vaib.org and click on the conference banner. You can register online, too!
The website continues to be a valuable resource, especially with the integrated CapitolALERTs used to connect you with your legislator on issues. The VAIB Facebook page continues to increase in visits having an outreach of over 2,000 per month, with daily postings of news articles and comments by the executive director.
Church Support and Involvement
Thankfully, we are seeing positive results in reaching more churches. With a net increase of four churches, we now have 175 regularly-supporting churches, with an additional twenty who have given one-time gifts this year. Yet our income is below our budgeted goals, causing VAIB to put on hold certain plans, such as updating our promotional video. The “VAIB Sunday” materials have been sent to some supporting churches to keep our ministry before their people when we cannot be there in person. This provides an opportunity to sign up folks for our emails, to update them on issues, to carry out voter registrations, and much more.
The Value of VAIB
Recently, a pastor made this statement to me: “VAIB is the only missionary which puts money back in our pocket.”
How does VAIB save your church money?
- If your church takes advantage of the sales and use tax exemption or if you run a religious exempt daycare with no licensing fees, it’s because VAIB has virtually been the lone effort to keep these benefits in place.
- If your church has not been required to install sprinklers in its auditorium retroactively in the past five years, it’s because VAIB was the only church organization to successfully speak against this change in the building code.
- If your nursery staff, VBS staff, and Sunday school teachers have not been required to be licensed to work with children, it’s because VAIB has virtually been the lone effort to prevent that from happening.
It is our prayer that every pastor and church member will see the value of VAIB.
“Your voice for Christian liberty”
Rev. Eddy Aliff