JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (BP) — Saying “we can impact the world” by sending 51 percent of Florida’s Cooperative Program receipts to the Southern Baptist Convention while simultaneously increasing funds to reach Florida, Executive Director-Treasurer Tommy Green presented a $29 million budget for 2016 to the State Board of Missions’ Budget-Allocations Committee.

The committee unanimously approved the proposed 2016 Cooperative Program budget Aug. 13 to send $14,790,000 — or 51 percent — to the SBC and retain $14,210,000 — or 49 percent — for ministry within the state.

The 2016 budget goal reflects a $200,000 increase over the previous year. It eliminates shared receipts and negotiated ministry funds that previously were set aside from the allocations to national and state causes.

The proposed budget must be approved by the State Board of Missions during its Sept. 18 meeting and by messengers to the Florida Baptist State Convention when they meet Nov. 8-10 in Panama City.

The money earmarked for the SBC and specifically for the International Mission Board — which increases the $5.9 million allocated in the 2015 budget to $7.4 million in 2016 — will provide funds for 20 additional missionary families, Green reported.

“If every state convention would do this, we could increase the number of missionaries on the field times twenty,” Green said. “This would have global implications. It’s not just about Florida, it’s about Kingdom work.”

All SBC entities will receive a similar bump, with a 25.25 percent increase in income with the 2016 proposed budget.

Green, who began as Florida Baptists’ executive director-treasurer in June, emphasized that even with the reduced amount earmarked for Florida, ministry dollars in the state will increase by a million dollars.

That additional ministry money — as well as the percentage increases for SBC funding — was accomplished through reprioritization of programs and personnel reductions.

The restructuring and downsizing of staff will “decentralize, regionalize and personalize” the work of the convention for church planting, revitalization and ministry within the state, Green explained.

He reiterated the convention’s new mission statement, “The focus of the Florida Baptist Convention is to support and strengthen the local churches through partnership for Kingdom ministry.”

He added, “The church does not exist for the convention, the convention exists for the churches.”

The new exec will bring his proposed reorganization and personnel reduction to the State Board in September for approval.

The proposed $14 million budget allocated to Florida Baptist Convention mission and ministries will distribute $11,121,000 to the convention’s program budget and $3,089,000 to the cooperating ministry budget (previously known as agencies and institutions).

The cooperating ministry budget will be divided between: The Baptist College of Florida, $1,625,000; Florida Baptist Children’s Homes, $1,120,000; Florida Baptist Witness $279,000; and Florida Baptist Financial Services for the Florida Baptist Retirement Center, $65,000. All of the ministries received a slight increase in budgeted funding from the previous year.

“This is the first time in eight years we have not had a decrease,” said Jerry Haag, FBCH president.

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  • Barbara Denman/Florida Baptist Convention