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BGCT approves new Baylor pact

AMARILLO, Texas (BP) — Messengers to the Baptist General Convention of Texas annual meeting, Oct. 24-26 at the Amarillo Civic Center, approved a new agreement that gives Baylor University more influence on who the convention nominates to serve on the university’s board of regents.

Messengers also elected Jerry Carlisle, pastor of First Baptist Church in Plano, as president.

The new agreement with Baylor University seeks to “simplify and streamline” the way the two parties relate to each other, said Roger Hall, a member of the convention team that negotiated the agreement.

At the heart of the new agreement, Baylor gains slightly more influence in who the convention nominates to serve on Baylor’s Board of Regents. Nominees still must go through the convention’s approval process. Baylor has the right to reject nominees with good cause.

“It is an agreement that I think is good for the Baptist General Convention of Texas and Baylor,” said Ed Jackson, who was part of the convention committee that negotiated the agreement with Baylor representatives.

Messengers to the 126th annual meeting also approved a 2012 convention budget that relies on $33.85 million in Cooperative Program receipts from churches, along with an anticipated $2.15 million in investment income and an additional $2 million from non-church donors for a net budget of $38 million, equal to 2011.

Counting revenue from conference and booth fees, product sales, the North American Mission Board and other miscellaneous sources, the BGCT anticipates $41,342,531 in total revenue.

The budget includes a change in the way Texas Baptist education institutions are funded, which stirred extended discussion. The proposed budget differentiates in the funding of “affiliated” education institutions and institutions that relate to the convention by “special agreement,” indicating the convention elects 25 percent of an institution’s board. Houston Baptist University and Baylor relate to the convention via special agreement while all other Texas Baptist education institutions relate via affiliation.

In the past, all BGCT-supported education institutions received general funding, funding for scholarships and additional money per enrolled student. Under the new guidelines, affiliated education institutions receive all three types of funding. Institutions relating through a special agreement receive general funding and funding for scholarships only.

The net result of the proposed funding mechanism change is increased funds for all the education institutions except two, while the total funds from the BGCT to education institutions remains the same as 2011. San Marcos Baptist Academy is slated to receive about the same amount in 2012 as 2011. Baylor is set to see a funding decrease of about $890,000, though money to George W. Truett Seminary is down only slightly.

Messengers voted down an amendment that would have made up the Baylor funding decrease by tapping into convention investment income. The convention approved a motion to split any overage in receipts between Texas Baptist institutions and the convention’s evangelism department.

In another business matter, messengers approved a constitution amendment that lowers the percentage of convention-elected school regents from 75 percent to a simple majority.

In the officer balloting, Carlisle was elected 415-214 over Randy Wallace, pastor of First Baptist Church in Killeen. Carlisle served as the convention’s first vice president this year.

Messengers elected Jeff Johnson of First Baptist Church in Del Rio as first vice president and Byron Stevenson, pastor of The Fort Bend Church in Sugar Land, as second vice president by acclamation.
John Hall writes for the Baptist General Convention of Texas.

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