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N.C. Baptists endorse budget proposal with 50/50 CP split

CARY, N.C. – North Carolina Baptist leaders took the first step toward fulfilling a commitment made nearly two decades ago by endorsing a budget proposal that calls for Cooperative Program (CP) receipts to be split equally between the state and national conventions.

The executive committee of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s board of directors voted unanimously to recommend a $31 million budget proposal for 2024 that calls for a 50/50 split of CP funds during a regularly scheduled meeting held Tuesday, July 11, via a video conference call.

The measure will now be considered by the full board of directors at its next meeting in September. The budget proposal approved by the board will then go to messengers attending November’s annual meeting in Greensboro for final consideration.

The 2024 budget proposal calls for a $1.5 million or 5 percent increase over the current budget of $29.5 million and increases the allocation to global ministry partners by 2 points to reach the 50/50 mark.

Moving to a 50/50 split of Cooperative Program funds would mark the final step in fulfilling a pledge made by former N.C. Baptist Executive Director-Treasurer Milton A. Hollifield Jr., to move the state toward an equal distribution of CP funds. During Hollifield’s more than 14-year tenure as executive director, N.C. Baptists’ CP allocation moved from 32 percent in 2006 when he was elected to 42 percent in 2021 when he retired. 

Under current Executive Director-Treasurer Todd Unzicker, N.C. Baptists increased the CP allocation from 42 percent to 45 percent in 2022 and from 45 percent to 48 percent for 2023. Unzicker called the 2024 budget proposal and move to recommend a 50/50 CP split “an exciting day for N.C. Baptists.”

John Butler, the state convention’s director of operations, said the move would allow N.C. Baptists to fulfill the historic ideal of the 50/50 split between state conventions and the national convention when the Cooperative Program was established in 1925.

Butler also said the move is personal for him. As one of Hollifield’s first hires 17 years ago, Butler said he pledged to see the state convention move toward the 50/50 split. 

“This is very exciting for me,” Butler said. “This has been one of my passions and goals since joining the convention 17 years ago, and it meets the commitment we made nearly 100 years ago when the Cooperative Program was first started.”

The executive committee also voted to recommend that any funds received in excess of the 2024 Cooperative Program be allocated equally between global ministry partners and state ministries.

2024 NCMO goal

The executive committee also approved a $2.6 million goal for the 2024 North Carolina Missions Offering, which supports disaster relief, church planting and other missions efforts. The goal represents a $100,000 or 4 percent increase over the current goal of $2.5 million.

Financial update

Prior to endorsing the recommended 2024 budget proposal, executive committee members heard a financial update for the halfway point of 2023 from N.C. Baptists’ accounting manager Kecia Mariotti.

Through the end of June, N.C. Baptist Cooperative Program receipts totaled more than $13.8 million dollars, which is up by more than $128,000 or about 1 percent through the same time period as last year.