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Draper, Warren cite positive results for Sunday School Board in 1996-97

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Southern Baptist Sunday School
Board President James T. Draper Jr. commended employees in a
Jan. 16 chapel meeting for their “tremendous efforts” during
the 1996-97 year — efforts that resulted in “remarkable”
ministry and business-related developments for the board.
“We have experienced a remarkable financial
turnaround,” Draper said, “in large part due to greatly
improved products that are meeting the spiritual needs of
churches and individuals.”
Draper said the board attempted last year to be more
proactive in clarifying its role as a ministry and a
“We have characteristics of both. We recognize that we
are a business, but our purpose is ministry. If our
resources and services do not assist in transforming lives
for eternity, we are not achieving our God-given purpose for
Financially, the Sunday School Board ended the year
with record revenues of $284.1 million, an increase of $23
million or 8.8 percent over the previous year. Funds
Provided from Operations, monies available after expenses,
were $14.4 million, an increase of $4.6 million or 47.3
percent over 1995-96. Also, the board’s one remaining debt
was paid off during the year.
“We’ve had a great year that only God’s blessings and
assurance could help us receive,” Ted Warren, executive vice
president and chief operating officer, said. Noting all
three strategic business units had excellent years, Warren
identified highlights for the year.
For the Church Growth Group, he cited reception by
churches and individuals of redesigned Vacation Bible School
materials and Beth Moore’s new discipleship resource for
women, “A Heart Like His.”
Warren noted the Retail Group experienced the greatest
revenue growth in history, 14 percent, while acquiring two
stores, opening six new stores, relocating eight and
remodeling two. They also launched the Ministers Discount
He praised the Trade Publishing Division for the first
positive financial contribution since the 1992
reorganization and cited new lines of children’s resources
and inspirational gifts. Also, Broadman & Holman had five
best-sellers during the year, two Gold Medallion winners
(awards presented by the Evangelical Christian Publishers
Association) and four advertising impact awards.
Revenue for Glorieta and Ridgecrest Baptist conference
centers represented a 3 percent increase over the previous
year, Warren said, with conference centers involving more
than 300 volunteers in varied activities.
The Office of Corporate Affairs was responsible for
coordinating the new name process for the board during the
year, he noted.
Warren said overhead components (areas that do not
generate revenue but operate on funds allocated from
strategic business units) are becoming a decreasing
percentage of the board’s budget, a positive factor.
For 1997-98, he noted the budget calls for a revenue
increase of $42 million or 15 percent.
“We have set for ourselves a major milestone,” he said.
With three years of positive results, Warren said the
spiritual challenge for all employees is “not to turn our
eyes away from the Lord. We need to be found trustworthy.”
Meanwhile, Draper highlighted some of the board’s
ministry accomplishments throughout the year. They included:
— Toll-free LeaderCare line. Employees are receiving
as many as 25 to 35 calls a day from pastors, staff members
and churches experiencing problems.
— Increased contributions to state conventions, with
the smaller and newer states receiving greater increases to
start new churches and strengthen existing ones.
— Broadman & Holman’s focus on making a difference in
people’s lives through resources.
— Mailing of the “Mormon Puzzle” video to every
Southern Baptist church, all Southern Baptist colleges and
university and to the six seminaries in preparation for
June’s annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in
Salt Lake City.
Draper said once-in-a-lifetime opportunities are
presenting themselves so fast to the Sunday School Board
that he sometimes feels like a “skier in front of an
Also, he said, “we faced challenges last year we’ve
never faced before. Perhaps our greatest challenge,
internally and externally, has been Vista (conversion of
more than 25 outdated computer systems).” While Vista has
been challenging, good things have come from it, Draper
said. One, which would not have been possible with the
systems Vista replaced, is Internet ordering.
As of Friday, Jan. 16, more than 3,500 customers had
been assigned PIN numbers and can place orders over the
Internet 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
With new systems in place, quality of resources
dramatically improved, and positive ministry and financial
results, Draper said the challenge for the board is not in
finding opportunities but in choosing which to pursue.
“We must review the opportunities before us and, with
the guidance of the Holy Spirit, seek to make the best
possible choices and move with deliberate speed to take
advantage of those we select. We exist for the purpose of
bringing the Word of God to the people who live around the

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  • Terri Lackey & Linda Lawson