News Articles

New Texas convention’s $1.3M gives ‘Partners’ boost to SBC

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–A $1.3 million check for key Southern Baptist Convention ministries was presented by the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention Feb. 18 to the SBC Executive Committee.

The three-year-old Texas convention launched its “Partners in the Harvest Plan” last year after funding cutbacks were enacted by the older Baptist General Convention of Texas as part of its leaders’ rift over SBC conservative theological stances in recent years.

Jim Richards, executive director of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, told Executive Committee members on the opening night of their Feb. 18-19 meeting in Nashville, Tenn., “The method of our approach to ministry is the historic relationship with the Southern Baptist Convention through the Cooperative Program.”

The SBTC’s one-time “Partners in the Harvest Plan” was created to allocate 15 percent of its receipts to the SBC Executive Committee; 15 percent to the Ethics & Religious Liberty Committee; and 70 percent to be divided equally among the SBC’s six seminaries.

“Individuals and churches gave nearly $100,000,” Richards reported, while the SBTC executive board “committed one-half of all in-state Cooperative Program surplus to the Partners Plan.”

Richards noted, “Financial growth has been exponential” since the SBTC’s founding in November 1998 with 120 churches. As the convention has expanded to 1,030 churches, its 1999 budget of $900,000 was surpassed by $500,000; its 2000 budget of $1.9 million was exceeded by $1 million; and its 2001 $4.3 million budget was exceeded by $6.7 million.

Richard Land, president of the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Commission, told Baptist Press, “All of us at the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission are both overwhelmed and humbled by the generosity of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention and the Texas Baptist churches who made this incredible contribution to our ministry possible.

“As a sixth-generation Texan who was led to the Lord, nurtured in the faith and called to preach in Texas Baptist churches, it is especially gratifying to have such strong affirmation of our ministry from Texas Baptists,” Land continued. “The fact that we are the Southern Baptist agency most dependent on Cooperative Program contributions and at the same time the only agency completely defunded by the other Texas state convention just adds to our gratitude and sense of affirmation.”

Also on Feb. 18:

— Executive Committee members voted to delay by one day action on an “Empowering Kingdom Growth” initiative in order to give members a chance to review an 18-page report from an eight-member Cooperation Task Force of state convention and SBC leaders.

— Will Hall, vice president for news services and executive editor of Baptist Press, introduced the TruthQuest: California ministry team to Executive Committee members. The 12-member team will travel to California during the summer to write about and experience Southern Baptist mission work.

TruthQuest: California is a joint project sponsored by Baptist Press, FamilyNet Television and Broadman & Holman Publishers. The project will be broadcast as a 13-episode television program in the fall. Hall also showed members the new TruthQuest website, http://truthquest.sbc.net.
(BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: TEXAS PARTNERS and TRUTHQUEST TEAM INTRODUCED.