LUBBOCK, Texas (BP)–The Baptist General Convention of Texas wrapped up its annual meeting in Lubbock Nov. 11 having founded a new missions network, adopted a reduced budget of $45.8 million for 2004 and stressed the importance of institutional ministries.
The new missions network, named “WorldconneX,” will be headed by Bill Tinsley, formerly associate executive director of the BGCT. Stan Parks, who is currently a Cooperative Baptist Fellowship missionary in Southeast Asia, will assist Tinsley. Parks’ father, R. Keith Parks, is the former president of both the International Mission Board and, subsequently, the CBF’s missions arm.
Tinsley said WorldconneX has no intention to replace the IMB or NAMB as a missions-sending organization but will instead assist local churches in their efforts to support missions and missionaries.
The BGCT’s budget for 2004 reflects a 10 percent reduction from the overall 2003 budget and a 14 percent reduction in expected giving from Texas churches, from $46.2 million to $39.7 million.
To reverse that trend, both BGCT Executive Director Charles Wade and outgoing President Bob Campbell encouraged BGCT churches to adopt a giving plan which would assign 79 percent of their missions budget to the BGCT and allow church members to decide where to send the remaining 21 percent, whether to the SBC or the CBF, which broke from the SBC in the early 1990s over theological issues.
The plan, called the Texas Adopted Cooperative Program and Giving Plan “gives each church freedom in how it distributes the worldwide portions of the budget. It accurately reflects our Texas reality,” Wade said.
Campbell strongly advocated the giving plan in his final presidential address, citing the charitable work the BGCT nationally and internationally and the large numbers of unchurched people in Texas.
The BGCT elected Ken Hall, president of Buckner Benevolences, to succeed Campbell as president. He characterized the BGCT as a “work in progress” and said the convention is in a process of transition.
Hall, who served as pastor to four churches before becoming president of Buckner 10 years ago, said the BGCT’s budget woes are in part the result of the sluggish economy and in part the ongoing struggle with the SBC over various issues.
He said he would work to promote the BGCT’s efforts to share Christ through good works in his time as president. Hall also pledged to support the various medical, educational and missions efforts which the BGCT has undertaken.
Albert Reyes, president of the newly renamed Baptist University of the Americas, formerly known as the Hispanic Baptist Theological School, in San Antonio was elected first vice president for 2004. The convention also applauded Reyes when it was announced that his institution had recently received its accreditation.
Dennis Young, pastor of Missouri City Baptist Church, was elected second vice president.
Campbell, Hall and Wade all made passionate pleas for the BGCT to support the two seminaries aligned with the BGCT, George W. Truett Seminary at Baylor University in Waco and the Logsdon School of Theology at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene.
The BGCT also adopted resolutions encouraging its members to minister to undocumented immigrants and to reach out to those whose lives have been impacted by alcohol abuse through twelve-step programs and other ministries.