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Hawaii Baptists restructure budget, urge cooperation

HONOLULU (BP) — Messengers to the Hawaii Pacific Baptist Convention restructured their budget and adopted a resolution urging churches to give through the Cooperative Program.

Gathering around the theme “People of the Word — Celebrating 75 Years of the HPBC,” 264 messengers from 70 of the convention’s 151 churches met Nov. 9-10 at Hawaii Baptist Academy in Honolulu. Messengers came from churches across Hawaii and also represented Guam, American Samoa, Okinawa, South Korea, Japan and Thailand.

The 2018 budget of $2,617,000 marks a 10 percent decrease from the current year. Anticipated receipts include $1,025,000 in CP receipts from churches; $740,000 from the North American Mission Board; and $63,000 from LifeWay Christian Resources.

As part of a budget restructuring, the convention decreased the portion of CP receipts it will forward to Southern Baptist Convention missions and ministries from 31.5 percent in 2017 to 20 percent in 2018, with 80 percent funding Hawaii Pacific missions and ministries. The budget does not include any shared ministry expenses.

Under the restructuring plan, Hawaii Pacific churches no longer will send gifts directly to their local Baptist associations. Instead, the HPBC will receive money formerly given to associational ministries and include its seven partner associations in the state convention budget.

HPBC executive director Chris Martin said the plan is designed “to maximize Kingdom efficiency” by eliminating duplicating ministries at the state and associational levels. After a period of adjustment, the HPBC hopes to increase the annual amount forwarded to SBC causes beyond pre-restructuring levels, he said.

A resolution adopted by messengers called for increased cooperation by churches, including participation in cooperative ministries, giving through CP and filing an annual statistical report with the convention.

Churches “that do not cooperate in some way beyond merely” declaring their intention to cooperate and aligning theologically with the HPBC, the resolution stated, “are falling short of their duty as members of the HPBC … and are not fully embracing one of the key tenets of Southern Baptist life, which is cooperation.”

The resolution added, “It is not solely our convention staff’s job, but our duty also, as members of the body of Christ, to consider how we can stir up these churches’ passion for cooperation (praying together, giving together, working together, etc.), not neglecting to meet with them, but encouraging them (Hebrews 10:24-25) so that the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the Kingdom of God, can spread in power, from the strength of our churches partnering with one another.”

Financial cooperation as defined in the HPBC constitution, the resolution stated, entails “giving through the Cooperative Program.”

Officers elected included: president, Wes Higuchi, a member of Kahului Baptist Church in Maui; first vice president, Sterling Lee, pastor of First Baptist Church in Pearl City, Oahu; second vice president, Alan Krober, pastor of Mililani Baptist Church in Oahu; and recording secretary, Liz McElrath, a member of Olivet Baptist Church in Honolulu.

Among the meeting’s guest speakers were National Day of Prayer President Ronnie Floyd, pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas, and former International Mission Board President Tom Elliff.

Next year’s annual meeting will be Nov. 8-9 at Olivet Baptist Church in Honolulu.