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Proposed 2001-2002 SBC budget reflects ‘gratitude for unprecedented growth’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–It was more than a budget recommendation; it carried a note of celebration.

In proposing a $178 million SBC Cooperative Program Allocation Budget for 2001-2000, the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee said it was doing so “in gratitude for the unprecedented growth of our missions and ministries, as well as the increase in our seminary enrollment and in acknowledgement of God as Jehovah Jireh,” a biblical reference to the God who provides.

The proposed SBC budget — a $10 million increase over the current year — will be voted on by messengers from local Southern Baptist churches at the June 12-13 SBC annual meeting in New Orleans.

The Feb. 20 Executive Committee recommendation is part of the budgeting process each year for the Southern Baptist Convention and its entities.

The current percentage distribution to SBC entities is maintained in the proposed 2001-2002 budget, including 50 percent for the work of the International Mission Board and 22.79 percent for North American Mission Board outreach.

Other percentage distributions in the budget are: 21.64 for theological education, encompassing the SBC’s six seminaries (which are funded according to a complex formula based primarily on full-time-equivalent enrollment) and the Historical Library and Archives; Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, 1.49 percent; Annuity Board, 0.76 percent; and the SBC Operating Budget, 3.32 percent.

Included under the SBC Operating Budget of $7,099,505 are support for the multiple ministry assignments of the Executive Committee and its management and operation of the SBC annual meeting, along with $425,000 for the Baptist World Alliance.

The proposed $178,298,879 budget is the same as the receipts for the last budget year of record (1999-2000), which is a policy the Executive Committee follows in setting a budget cap. The SBC budget year is Oct. 1 through Sept. 30.

Two SBC entities, LifeWay Christian Resources and the Woman’s Missionary Union auxiliary, receive no Cooperative Program funding from the SBC budget.

SBC Cooperative Program receipts come mostly through state Baptist conventions and fellowships which share with the SBC the Cooperative Program receipts from churches.

The SBC Cooperative Program, known also as CP missions, entails key support for the work of about 5,000 missionaries in 153 countries among 1,015 people groups, working under the SBC’s International Mission Board; 5,000 missionaries in the United States and Canada, under North American Mission Board auspices; an enrollment of more than 13,500 students in the SBC’s six seminaries; and the work of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission in ethics and religious liberty in governmental affairs.

In other business during its Feb. 19-20 meeting in Nashville, the Executive Committee:

— approved a change in Executive Committee bylaws eliminating its regular Wednesday meeting during the SBC annual meeting and moving the election of Executive Committee officers to the Monday meeting immediately preceding the SBC annual meeting, with the new officers assuming their duties upon adjournment of the SBC annual meeting.

— adopted a resolution of appreciation for O. Wyndell Jones and his wife, Audie. Jones will retire March 31 after 15 years as executive director-treasurer of the Baptist Convention of Iowa. Iowa Baptists moved from fellowship status to a full convention during Jones’ tenure, the resolution of appreciation noted, and he “aggressively emphasized missions giving and led the Baptist Convention of Iowa to an exemplary record of giving to the Cooperative Program.”

— approved “SBC Calendar of Activities” as the new name for the Denominational Calendar.

— named Mike Proud, pastor of Trinity Baptist Church, Aurora, Colo., and James T. “Jim” Smith, a layman from Yellowstone Baptist Church, Cody, Wyo., to fill vacancies on the SBC Committee on Nominations.

— approved for election as directors of the Southern Baptist Foundation, with terms to expire in 2004, William “Bill” Hall of California and William C. “Bill” Lovell of Tennessee.

— voted to receive as information a seven-page report from the International Mission Board responding to a February 2000 request from the Executive Committee that SBC agencies affirm that Baptist distinctives have not been compromised in their various joint initiatives with other evangelical groups. Other SBC agencies’ reports were received by the Executive Committee in September. The Executive Committee also received two documents as additional information from the trustees of the North American Mission Board relating to matters addressed by NAMB since their original report was submitted.

— voted to continue the current policy of requiring reimbursement by the SBC Pastors’ Conference for use of the meeting hall and facilities, setting the amount for years 2002 and 2003 at the current $38,000.

— approved an increase of 3.4 percent in the salary structure for Executive Committee staff, effective Oct. 1.

Executive Committee members also were informed that C. Barry McCarty, longtime chief parliamentarian for SBC annual meetings, will again assume that role at this year’s meeting in New Orleans. McCarty is now pastor of First Christian Church, Roswell, Ga.