SAN ANTONIO (BP)–The portion of Cooperative Program dollars previously allotted to GuideStone Financial Resources would be reallocated to the SBC’s public policy arm, stewardship ministry and six seminaries based on a formula approved by the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee June 11 in San Antonio.
Executive Committee members approved a recommendation from the SBC Funding Study Committee to increase the allocation for the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission from 1.49 percent to 1.65 percent for the 2007-08 budget year, resulting in a net increase of $320,962.
The approved recommendation also would increase Executive Committee funds from 3.32 percent to 3.40 for the expressed purpose of providing funds for the stewardship ministry recently assigned to the Executive Committee, resulting in a net increase of $160,480 in 2007-08.
Additionally, a one-time distribution of $347,710 will go to each of the convention’s three smaller seminaries: Southeastern, Midwestern and Golden Gate Baptist theological seminaries.
For the 2008-09 budget year, the same recommendation called for the ERLC’s allocation to continue at 1.65 percent and the Executive Committee’s portion to stay at 3.40 percent. The remaining .52 percent of GuideStone’s .76 percent allocation would be included in the overall seminary allocation, resulting in an increase from 21.40 percent to 21.92 percent for the foreseeable future.
GuideStone, meanwhile, will continue to provide retiree relief benefits through designated gifts the ministry receives from concerned individuals and churches rather than through the .76 percent CP allocation amounting to $1,524,572 in the 2007-08 budget.
The Executive Committee also approved a recommendation from the Funding Study Committee to change the current seminary funding formula to combine Golden Gate’s Northern and Southern California campuses into one main campus for the purpose of computing the main campus Full-time Equivalents in the funding formula beginning in the 2010-11 budget year.
Golden Gate’s Mill Valley campus, the study committee noted, is part of a community where the average residential property value exceeds $1 million and any reasonable commute to the campus begins in neighborhoods with similar property values, resulting in a “significant disincentive for growth and expansion on that campus.”
To aid in the convention’s growth strategy for the West Coast, the Executive Committee approved a recommendation to combine the Mill Valley and Brea campuses for the purpose of calculating Cooperative Program allotment. Previously, only students on the main campus were included in FTE calculations, and the recommendation only calls for an exception for Golden Gate.
After some discussion, the Executive Committee added a proviso referring to an effort by Golden Gate to sell the Mill Valley campus and relocate possibly to Brea, a move Golden Gate President Jeff Iorg predicted is at least three years away based on negotiations with local county officials.
The proviso reads, “That, during fiscal year 2015-2016 or upon any sale of the entire Mill Valley campus of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary (whichever occurs first), the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention review the impact of the following recommendations to determine their effect and continued justification, and make any adjustments which are deemed appropriate and beneficial to the seminaries and the Convention’s overall theological education strategy.”
R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and chairman of the convention’s Council of Seminary Presidents, expressed on behalf of the council appreciation to the Executive Committee for the redistribution of CP funds to the seminary allocation, and he guaranteed their pledge to be good stewards of those funds.
Regarding another matter, the Executive Committee approved a recommended change in the definition of the Cooperative Program of the Southern Baptist Convention as directed by the convention last year. Messengers to the annual meeting in Greensboro, N.C., asked the Executive Committee in consultation with state convention executive directors to develop a definition of what is meant by Cooperative Program monies.
The proposed definition, as approved by Executive Committee members, reads: “The Cooperative Program (CP) is Southern Baptists’ unified plan of giving through which cooperating Southern Baptist churches give a percentage of their undesignated receipts in support of their respective state convention and the Southern Baptist Convention missions and ministries.”
The recommendation will be voted on by messengers to the SBC annual meeting in San Antonio.
In other business, the Executive Committee:
— elected Roger S. (Sing) Oldham, pastor of First Baptist Church in Martin, Tenn., and an outgoing member of the Executive Committee, as vice president for convention relations effective July 16.
— welcomed Warren Peek, a vice president at SunTrust Banks in Nashville, Tenn., as the newly elected president of the Southern Baptist Foundation.
— approved a personnel policy change that would allow Executive Committee employees up to one week away from the office annually to participate at their own expense in mission trips sponsored by the SBC or one of its affiliated entities, state conventions or churches.
— approved New Orleans as the site for the 2012 SBC annual meeting contingent upon satisfactory contract negotiations with the convention center and area hotels.
— adopted the 2007-08 CP allocation budget in the amount of $200,601,536 for presentation to messengers.
— approved an amendment to the 2007-08 SBC Calendar of Activities to change “On Mission Together: Planting New Congregations Sunday” from March 23, 2008, to March 30, 2008, to accommodate Easter Sunday.
— voted 32-38 against a motion by an EC member to disband the ad hoc Funding Study Committee, which was appointed in 2002 with instructions to examine the convention’s funding issues. Morris H. Chapman, president of the Executive Committee, told members he believes the committee is nearing the end of its studies, but he advised against disbanding it immediately.
— re-elected William F. (Bill) Harrell, pastor of Abilene Baptist Church in Martinez, Ga., as chairman of the Executive Committee and Melissa Gay, a homemaker in Hendersonville, Tenn., as secretary, and elected Randall James, an assistant pastor at First Baptist Church in Orlando, Fla., as vice chairman.