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New Annuity Board personal investment program for ministers approved by SBC

ORLANDO, Fla. (BP)–A new personal investment program for Southern Baptist ministers and denominational employees was approved by messengers at the annual meeting of the SBC who also approved an Executive Committee decision not to establish a special hunger offering during the annual meeting.

Those and a host of other items were approved during the reports of the Executive Committee during the June 13-14 annual meeting. The Executive Committee is the fiscal and executive entity of the SBC in all affairs not specifically committed to some other board or entity. It acts for the convention ad interim in all matters not otherwise provided for.

The investment program, provided in an amendment to the Annuity Board’s ministry statement, would “assist churches and denominational entities by making available a personal investment program to Southern Baptist ministers and denominational employees and their spouses.” The program, the Executive Committee reported, would “further enhance the financial security of Southern Baptist ministers and denominational employees and their spouses.” The Annuity Board currently provides retirement programs for SBC ministers and denominational workers.

In the proposal adopted by the messengers, the Annuity Board also will now assist churches and denominational entities by making available institutional investment services through cooperative agreements with state Baptist foundations. The new policy will “develop mutually beneficial relationships with the state Baptist conventions and foundations and the Southern Baptist Foundation to assist Southern Baptist institutions in the states and the SBC entities with their institutional investment needs.”

A motion by Joe Waldorff of Alabama at the 1999 annual meeting sought to establish an offering at the annual meeting to assist the homeless and/or needy of that city. Messengers in Orlando affirmed the Executive Committee’s decision not to recommend the SBC “that another annual special offering for world hunger be established as a regular item in the order of business of the annual meetings, preferring rather to continue to honor the policy of not collecting special offerings at annual meeting.”

In other matters, messengers approved the Executive Committee’s recommendation of $167,996,385 for the 2000-2001 SBC Cooperative Program Allocation Budget. The new budget reflects the same percentage distribution as the 1999-2000 budget, including 50 percent of all gifts channeled to the International Mission Board and 22.79 percent to the North American Mission Board.

Also, messengers affirmed the SBC Operating Budget of $6,762,480 for 2000-2001, which includes funds to finance the annual meeting and other SBC matters as well as the Executive Committee’s annual budget.

Several clarifying measures proposed by the Executive Committee were also affirmed:

— making a change in SBC Bylaw 33 by noting “charters of all subsidiaries of any entity of the Convention shall provide that they may not be further amended without the prior consent of the Convention or its Executive Committee.”

— revisions to the SBC Business and Financial Plan, Article IX, Gift Annuity Agreements, which basically eliminated outdated language. Article XIV of the business plan was also revised regarding the handling of funds, primarily by updating language in safeguarding funds. Article XIII regarding audit reports from the various SBC entities was also was revised by eliminating a requirement for entities to forward their audits within three months after the close of their fiscal year and retaining language “as soon as possible.”

The Executive Committee also recommended, and messengers affirmed, the denominational calendar for 2004-2005 and the report for the 1995-2000 Bold Mission Thrust, Year IV.

Messengers also approved the “Restatement of the Certificate of Incorporation of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Inc.” The revision contains new language “making the SBC the sole member of SEBTS” corporation.

In other referrals from the 1999 meeting, the Executive Committee reported that it:

— agreed to support a motion by David B. Roberts of New York to “maximize the use of appropriate technology to continue to efficiently serve Southern Baptists through the administrative process of the Executive Committee.”

— declined to recommend appointment of a special committee to study ways to make the Annuity Board more effective in response to a motion by Joe Mack of South Carolina.

— reported the committee recommended to SBC entities that they be encouraged to “maintain the historic position of Southern Baptists as they cooperate with various other groups in appropriate evangelistic enterprises or moral advocacy initiatives and avoid committing Southern Baptist resources, personnel, or ministries to relationships which would compromise the historic distinctives or the unique witness of Southern Baptists to the world.” The committee also asked the staff and trustees of the “respective SBC entities to review their cooperative endeavors with other denominations and religious groups and report in writing on the status and implications of these endeavors to the Executive Committee no later than Sept. 1, 2000.” The action was in response to a motion by Jerry Moser of Louisiana in the 1999 annual meeting.

— declined to print or provide through software a list of pastors and churches by state and town in the SBC Annual because a list of SBC church addresses arranged by state and town is already printed biannually in the Directory of Southern Baptist Churches published by LifeWay Christian Resources. The action was in response to a motion by Jack Barrett of Virginia in the 1999 annual meeting.

— will display both the Christian and American flags in a prominent and appropriate place on the platform during the SBC annual meetings in response to a motion last year by Wayne Key of North Carolina.

— in response to a motion last year by Kent Cochran of Missouri, the Executive Committee will “in consultation with leadership in the state conventions” study, among other Cooperative Program issues, ways to make the missions focus of the CP clearer.

— declined to recommend additional term limits for the officers of the Convention, “affirming the wisdom and sufficiency of the historic provisions of Article V of the SBC Constitution.” The action was in response to motions by Rick Henson of Louisiana and Joe Moran of Kentucky in last year’s meeting.

— shall continue to evaluate and improve seating arrangements for handicapped persons at the annual meeting, in response to a motion last year by Debra Kepler of Florida.

— declined to conduct a study of the effects and influence of “unbiblical worship practices and encourages Southern Baptist churches to be regulated by the Word of God only and to practice biblical worship.” The action was in response to a motion last year by Mike Everson of Georgia.

— the president’s sermon and the convention sermon will be printed in the SBC Annual each year, in response to a motion requesting such by Russell D. Moore of Kentucky in last year’s meeting.

— declined to recommend “changing the SBC Constitution, Article III, section 2 to qualify messengers only according to the local church’s percentage contribution to the Cooperative Program, affirming the current equitable method of allowing messenger participation on the basis of either total church membership or contributions to the Convention.” Action was in response to a motion last year by Mark Long of Mississippi.

— concerning Crossover evangelistic emphases at the annual meeting, the Executive Committee “fully supports Crossover” but declined to take action requesting SBC agencies to restrict meetings during the Crossover emphases. The action was in response to a motion last year by John F. Thompson, III, of Florida.

— a motion to ask the Executive Committee to revisit the question of meeting dates for the annual meeting was declined “acknowledging that any specific week will present a conflict for some who would attend and that the Executive Committee will continue to monitor those factors that affect attendance.” Eddie Hatcher of New Jersey made that motion from last year’s meeting.

— the current Executive Committee site selection policy for annual meetings will continue, including consideration of northern cities. The response was to a motion last year by James W. Jones of Michigan.

    About the Author

  • Herb Hollinger