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Ariz. Baptists adopt $5.47 million budget

AVONDALE, Ariz. (BP)–Messengers to the annual meeting of the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention, gathered Nov. 14 at First Southern Baptist Church in Avondale, adopted a $5.47 million operating budget for 2009 in a new streamlined one-day schedule that included a mission fair, mission rally, and business session.

With the theme of “Opportunities for the Harvest,” 349 messengers, joined by 26 registered visitors, conducted all the annual meeting business in less than 25 minutes without any discussion or negative votes.

Steve Ballew, pastor of Trinity Southern Baptist Church in Casa Grande, was elected president by acclamation. Trinity gives 12.25 percent of its budget to the Cooperative Program and was the top Cooperative Program giving church in the Arizona convention, with $129,110, for the 2007-08 church year.

Ryan Goebel, student ministry pastor at Mountain Ridge Baptist Church in Glendale, was elected by acclamation to a second one-year term as first vice president. Todd Miller, student pastor at First Southern Baptist Church in Scottsdale, was elected by acclamation as second vice president.

Messengers adopted a $3.61 million Cooperative Program budget and a $5.47 million state convention operating budget for 2009. The Cooperative Program budget represented a 3.8 percent increase over the present budget, while the operating budget is a 3.2 percent increase.

The budget calls for 25.88 percent of Cooperative Program gifts to be forwarded to national and international Southern Baptist causes, up from 25.5 percent in 2008. While the ASBC allows churches to designate the percentages used in distributing their Cooperative Program gifts, 96.7 percent of Cooperative Program gifts are sent undesignated and will be distributed using the new formula.

The Cooperative Program budget will be distributed in five areas: SBC Cooperative Program, $905,262; Arizona Southern Baptist Convention, $2,206,780; Arizona campus of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, $272,748; Arizona Baptist Children’s Services, $144,653; Baptist Senior Life Ministries, $87,277.

Income sources in the operating budget include the $3,616,720 from Cooperative Program giving by Arizona churches, $1,699,452 from the North American Mission Board, $54,996 from LifeWay Christian Resources and $107,935 in other revenue.

Messengers amended a recommendation adopted last year guiding the work of the Convention Council as it makes decisions about construction of a new facility for the Arizona campus of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. At the request of the study team that recommended the building project, messengers increased the budgeted base amount from a $1.5 million cap to $2 million, with a $2.5 million challenge goal.

The study team reported that during the past year a final set of conceptual drawings was completed and a list of potential donor names was developed. The new building will be located on vacant land adjacent to the state convention office and no Cooperative Program funds will be used for the construction or furnishing of the facility.

Messengers unanimously adopted a single resolution expressing sympathy to the families of a number of state convention, association and church leaders who died in the past year and acknowledging their service.

Next year’s meeting will be held at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Tucson, with the date yet to be determined.
Elizabeth Young is editor of Portraits, newsjournal of the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention (azsobaptist.org).

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  • Elizabeth Young