NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Texas Baptist churches who give money through the Baptist General Convention of Texas’ 2001 Adopted Budget will no longer be able to forward money through this option to Southern Baptist seminaries now that a BGCT-initiated funding cap has been imposed, according to Jack R. Wilkerson, vice president for business and finance of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee.
Wilkerson was notified of the funding halt in a letter from Roger W. Hall, chief financial officer and treasurer of the BGCT. Hall informed the SBC that a $1 million budget cap on seminary funding had been reached and the BGCT would cease seminary contributions through the BGCT 2001 Adopted Budget giving option for the remainder of the budget year.
“Churches that have elected the BGCT 2001 Adopted Budget need to fully understand that giving in this way will not forward another penny to the SBC seminaries,” Wilkerson said.
“A number of church leaders and others in Texas have been in contact with us for help in understanding the budget cap,” Wilkerson said. “Some questioned whether the cap would be applied only after $1 million had been given to the seminaries through the BGCT-preferred plan or whether it included other sources of giving. Whatever the source of all the confusion, the questions surrounding this plan are now definitely answered.”
A number of Texas churches have bypassed the BGCT and opted to send their financial support directly to the SBC Executive Committee.
“It appears receipts given through the BGCT-preferred plan are lower than expected, and have disappointed some anti-SBC persons in Texas,” Wilkerson said. “We understand that the $1 million funding cap was imposed early in April. By April of this year, under the BGCT-preferred plan, only about $41,000 was distributed through our office to the six seminaries.
“This makes it abundantly apparent that most of the money the BGCT is receiving is through other giving options offered by the BGCT, and not the preferred plan put forward last October. About ninety-six percent of the funds counted toward the cap were received through these options.”
“I am grateful that the majority of Texas Southern Baptist Churches have not elected to give through the preferred plan, but rather have chosen the historic Cooperative Program method of giving, or selected designated giving which supports Southern Baptist Convention ministries,” Wilkerson added. “Thankfully, this has lessened the anticipated effect of the BGCT-preferred plan to reduce seminary funding.”
Wilkerson said the BGCT funding cap should emphasize the importance of Southern Baptists to remain strong supporters of the Cooperative Program.
“The current situation only underscores the crucial importance of the Cooperative Program to the success of the Lord’s work among Southern Baptists,” he said. “In spite of the confusion that has arisen, let me emphasize that, as the Executive Committee has always done, we will continue to receive, and within a week or less, disburse all Cooperative Program and designated gifts to SBC entities as instructed by the Southern Baptist Convention.”