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BSSB remains financially strong; ’97 begins well, trustees told


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–During their Feb. 10-12 meeting in
Nashville, Tenn., Baptist Sunday School Board trustees heard positive reports from all three of the Southern Baptist agency’s strategic business units.

As a whole, the board has enjoyed two years of positive financial results in a row, and the 1996-97 budget year appears to have gotten off to a good start as well, according to Jim Carter, vice president of the board’s finance and business services group. BSSB revenues for the first quarter exceeded budget by $1.5 million.

Commenting on the board’s strong financial performance, President James T. Draper Jr. said: “It’s too early to break out the ‘hallelujahs’ yet (for 1997), but it is correct to say we’re off to a good start.

“Our commitment is to keep literature prices low for the churches. The future looks bright, but we are not going to let down in our vigilance to control costs and continue to improve the quality of our products and services.”

Broadman & Holman representatives reported on several recent developments, including projects with former Secretary of Education and best-selling author William Bennett and Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. Also, B&H will publish “The Power of the Call,” a new book by “Experiencing God” author Henry Blackaby and Henry Brandt, retired clinical psychologist from Palm Beach, Fla.

B&H also is introducing a new line of inspirational gifts in 1997 and plans release later this year of a Portuguese Bible.


Mark Scott, vice president of the retail group, reported Baptist Book Stores and Lifeway Christian Stores have moved from a “fix it” mode to a “growth” mode. Now the second-largest Christian retail chain in America, new stores are currently under construction in Memphis; Morrow, Ga. (near Atlanta); Lewisville, Texas; and Springfield, Mo.

Among areas of focus for the church growth group for 1997,
according to Vice President Gene Mims, will be reducing the number of forced terminations of SBC ministers; developing a model for “transformational discipleship;” and more effectively merging evangelism with Sunday school.

Trustees also learned of two major developments related to two BSSB-produced magazines.

“The Sunday School Leader” magazine is being redesigned to provide Sunday school leaders with more practical information about all areas of a church’s Bible teaching-reaching ministry.

Beginning with the September 1997 issue, a four-page newsletter from BT-R division director Bill Taylor will be inserted in the center of the magazine. The newsletter will be produced on a shorter schedule and will speak to current trends and other topics of interest to Sunday school leaders.

Trustees also learned “Student” magazine and the free “Student Teaching Helps” supplement will be discontinued after the May 1997 issues.

National Student Ministry director Bill Henry said sales of the magazine have declined sharply in the last several years after peaking with the addition of the Life and Work Sunday school curriculum.

Bible study curriculum is available through other BSSB
publications, he said, adding communication with state and local student ministers will take alternative routes such as “Prospectus,” a bimonthly leadership newsletter; an annual plan book; and a quarterly packet which provides up-to-date information on events, materials and training needs.

Trustees also were informed that:

— resource kits for preschool Life & Work curriculum will be expanded and improved to include outreach items and biblical teaching pictures.

— “InSync,” a monthly devotional magazine for young adults coordinated with Life and Work lesson Scriptures, will be discontinued after the May 1997 issue.

— “Bible Reader’s Guide,” a quarterly resource listing daily Bible reading passages and the names of home and foreign missionaries on their birthday, will be discontinued after the January/February/March
1997 issue. The same information in the same format is included in both the regular and large-print editions of the “Open Windows” devotional guide.

— “Church Musician” will become a monthly magazine with a new name “Church Musician Today,” effective with the September 1997 issue.

During their meeting, trustees also approved an average price increase of 3 percent for budgeting purposes for 1997-98 and a maximum 4 percent rate increase at Ridgecrest (N.C.) and Glorieta (N.M.) conference centers from October 1999 through September 2000.

Nick Garland, pastor of First Baptist Church, Broken Arrow, Okla., was re-elected trustee chairman. The board also elected the following officers: Kent Workman, pastor, New Work Fellowship, Hopkinsville, Ky., vice chairman, and Walter Sparks, controller, Southern Baptist Credit
Union, Brea, Calif., recording secretary.