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S.C. GCR report: More to IMB, 50/50 CP split

COLUMBIA, S.C. (BP)–After seven months of work, the South Carolina Baptist Convention’s 35-member Great Commission Resurgence Task Force released its report Aug. 1 with 10 recommendations, proposing among other things, more money to the International Mission Board, a move toward a 50/50 split in Cooperative Program receipts between the state convention and the Southern Baptist Convention, and cuts in various ministries.

Messengers to the state convention annual meeting Nov. 15-16 in Columbia, S.C., will consider the recommendations. The full report, which includes videos from committee members, can be accessed at www.scbaptist.org/gcr-report. (A simplified PDF copy is available at http://bit.ly/mTAwtJ.)

“Six billion people on earth live in spiritual darkness, desperately needing the light of Jesus Christ,” the committee said in its report. “Yet a lack of funds has contributed to the International Mission Board reducing our missionary force by 600 in recent years. Even in America the darkness is growing. Nine out of ten people living in the Northeast, Northwest, and West are lost. Only two nations have more lost people than America. The opportunities for evangelism are greater than ever.”

The report, titled the “Harvest is Plentiful,” recommends that:

— The state convention increase South Carolina’s contribution to the IMB by 21.95 percent over the next three years.

— Church revitalization, missions mobilization/evangelism, and church planting be made the primary focus of the state convention.

— The state convention establish a five-year goal of moving the division of Cooperative Program receipts to 50/50 between the state convention and the SBC.

— “In order to meet these bold challenges,” the state convention reduce funding to Anderson University, Charleston Southern University, Connie Maxwell Children’s Home, Homes for the Aging, North Greenville University, and WMU by 10 percent from 2011 budgeted levels.

— The Executive Ministries portion of the budget be reduced by five percent, to be withdrawn one percent annually for the next five years.

— Funding to the Baptist Foundation of South Carolina be reduced by 20 percent in the coming year and be phased out over the following four years, with the goal of eliminating the need for CP funding for the Foundation.

— Funding to the Baptist Courier newspaper be reduced by 10 percent annually for the next three years, after which time “continued funding will be re-evaluated by those serving as officers” of the state convention’s Executive Committee and the CEO of the Courier and its chairman of the board of trustees.

— The nominating process be altered so as to allow the CEOs of state convention ministry partners to have greater input into the nomination of trustees, “by way of a process that would result in mutual agreement between ministry partners and the convention.”

— The ministry partners of the state convention be allowed to have as many as five of their 25 trustees from out of state.

— A plan be put forth “to personally approach pastors about increasing their churches’ giving to the Cooperative Program.”

— The state convention request that the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee “consider adjusting the budgets of the seminaries & other SBC entities as a means of increasing funding to the IMB.”

“Arriving at these recommendations was not easy,” the task report says in its report. “So we prayed for extended periods, even having a one day prayer retreat at White Oak [Conference Center]. Then God moved powerfully in one of our meetings and the urgency of getting the gospel to the lost became our common commitment. Collaboration and shared sacrifice became our pathway. These eleven recommendations are the result. They have one purpose: to help Baptists take the light of Jesus Christ into the darkness.”

Said task force chairman Ralph Carter, “I doubt there will be a single South Carolina Baptist who will be completely satisfied with the report. For some, it goes too far in one direction; and for others, not far enough. It is a beginning. It does accomplish the task of immediately making more money available to impact spiritual darkness.”
Compiled by the staff of the Baptist Courier and Baptist Press.

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