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S.C. ups CP %, creates GCR task force

COLUMBIA, S.C. (BP)–The South Carolina Baptist Convention has adopted a 2011 operating budget of $29.54 million that increases the percentage of funds to be forwarded to the Southern Baptist Convention.

The convention also authorized the creation of a task force to chart South Carolina’s response to challenges related to the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force report adopted by the SBC last June.

The Nov. 16-17 annual meeting — the convention’s 190th — was attended by 1,253 messengers.

The budget, adopted after an extended period of discussion, is a reduction of more than 8 percent from the 2010 budget of $32.18 million and a decline of 13.6 percent from the SCBC’s high-water budget of $34.3 million in 2009.

The new budget, however, includes an increase in the percentage of receipts that will be forwarded to the Southern Baptist Convention (from 40.44 percent to 41 percent) for national and international missions and ministries.

An amendment introduced by Alex Henderson, pastor of Neals Creek Baptist Church in Anderson and approved by messengers mandates that funds received in excess of budget requirements be allocated evenly among the SCBC’s seven member institutions.

“We are living in serious times,” Bill Gaines, chairman of the SCBC budget, finance and audit committee, told the messengers before the vote, referencing declining Cooperative Program giving from churches and a sagging national economy.

Gaines told messengers that although CP giving in South Carolina grew by 15 percent from 2000-08, it fell 7.07 percent in 2009 and is on pace to decline by approximately 5.5 percent in 2010. The decline means $4 million less is available for CP work, Gaines said.

“If you are wondering how the Great Commission Resurgence will affect the South Carolina Baptist budget, at this time we don’t know all the answers and may not for several years,” Gaines said.

“Just as when times are good we come together to expand ministries and grow our institutions, when times are difficult we must come together in an even tighter circle to protect our unity and preserve our future,” he said.

“We ask that the messengers to this convention pray for the financial condition of our South Carolina churches, ministries and institutions to improve so that the glory of God may be revealed to the lost in this great state, country and around the world.”

The new budget does not include a pay raise for SCBC employees, Gaines said. He also noted that although no convention employees have been laid off, some positions that are vacant due to retirements or resignations are not being immediately filled.

An amendment to freeze the percentage of monies forwarded to the SBC at 2010 levels failed by a 429-366 margin in a ballot vote. Messenger Mike Gay, pastor of Greenwood Baptist Church in Florence, put forth the motion, saying many “do not understand” the details of the Great Commission Resurgence plan. “What effect will it have on in-state ministries?” he asked. “Are we jumping on board before we see what’s best for our state?”

A motion to restore funding to the SCBC’s missions mobilization group to 2010 levels, introduced by David Bagwell, pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in Westminster, also failed.


SCBC messengers, in creating a South Carolina Great Commission Resurgence Task Force, authorized the convention’s outgoing president, Fred Stone, to appoint its members.

On Nov. 19, Stone released his appointees, including the chairman, Ralph Carter Jr., pastor of Brushy Creek Baptist Church in Taylors.

The group will be charged with scrutinizing the final report of the Southern Baptist Convention’s similarly named GCR task force (whose report was adopted overwhelmingly in Orlando in June) for the purpose of developing a plan for South Carolina Baptists to respond to its recommendations.

The South Carolina task force is expected to present a report and recommendations at next year’s SCBC annual meeting in Columbia, Nov. 15-16.

The national GCR report calls for channeling more funds to international missions and to major metropolitan areas and Western states in the U.S. To help pay for the initiatives, the report urges state conventions to increase the amount of Cooperative Program monies they forward to the SBC.

The motion to create the South Carolina GCR task force to “develop a plan for how the South Carolina Baptist Convention will respond to the Great Commission Resurgence of the Southern Baptist Convention” was offered by Chris Gray, pastor of Kings Grove Baptist Church in Central.

In addition to Stone’s appointees, the makeup of the task force includes the presidents of the seven SCBC-affiliated institutions: Anderson University, The Baptist Courier, the Baptist Foundation of South Carolina, Charleston Southern University, Connie Maxwell Children’s Home, North Greenville University, and South Carolina Baptist Ministries for the Aging.

An amendment to appoint the institution presidents (or their designees) to the task force was offered by Wayne Dickard, former SCBC president and pastor of Northbrook Baptist Church in Boiling Springs, who said one of the discussion components might be the future of the institutions. “My amendment ensures institutions are represented in the discussion,” he said.

Dickard’s amendment passed by a ballot vote of 405-325. The motion to create the task force was approved by a show of uplifted ballots.

In an article published in South Carolina’s Baptist Courier Nov. 11, Stone said he would appoint to the task force “individuals who are in agreement with the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, are supportive of both the SCBC and the SBC, and come from churches of all sizes across the state.”

On Aug. 24, more than 500 South Carolina Baptist pastors and lay leaders gathered at White Oak Conference Center to begin talking about how to respond to GCR recommendations. The day-long “catharsis,” as SCBC Executive Board chairman Ed Carney described it, included a spirited, free-flowing discussion among the participants, although no consensus was reached.

The 35 members of the South Carolina task force include:

Ralph Carter Jr. (chairman), pastor, Brushy Creek Baptist Church, Taylors; Steve Hogg (vice chairman), pastor, First Baptist Church, Rock Hill; Brad Atkins, pastor, Powdersville First Baptist Church, Easley; Jim Austin, executive director-treasurer, SCBC, and member, Riverland Hills Baptist Church, Irmo; Paul Ballard, pastor, North Trenholm Baptist Church, Columbia; B.J. Bateman, member, First Baptist Church, Taylors; Curt Bradford, pastor, Riverbluff Church, North Charleston; Will Bradham, director of missions, Southeast Baptist Association, and member, First Baptist Church, Georgetown; Dusty Bradshaw, pastor, Hillcrest Baptist Church, North Charleston; Ed Carney, pastor, Riverland Hills Baptist Church, Irmo; Greg Castillo, associate pastor, United Baptist Church, Spartanburg; Bill Curtis, pastor, Cornerstone Baptist Church, Darlington; Jon Davis, pastor, Summit Church, Ladson; Jamie Duncan, pastor, Good Hope Baptist Church, Iva; Phil Gibson, member, Northside Baptist Church, West Columbia; Ryan Goodroe, pastor, First Baptist Church, Hartsville; Rudy Gray, pastor, Utica Baptist Church, Seneca; Duane Greene, member, First Baptist Church, Pickens; Mike Hamlet, pastor, North Spartanburg First Baptist Church; Gail Hodson, 2011 SC WMU president, and member, Mid-Valley Baptist Church, Langley; Sonny Holmes, 2011 SCBC president, and pastor, Northwood Baptist Church, North Charleston; Tommy Kelly, pastor, First Baptist Church, Varnville; Eddie Leopard, pastor, Millbrook Baptist Church, Aiken; Don Purvis, transitional pastor, Langston Baptist Church, Conway; Alex Sands, pastor, Kingdom Life Christian Center, Greenville; Tony Smith, pastor, New Prospect Baptist Church, Anderson; Craig Thompson, pastor, Malvern Hill Baptist Church, Camden; Lisa Willard, counselor, Welsh Neck Baptist Association, and member, Calvary Baptist Church, Darlington.

The presidents (or their designees) of the institutions of the SCBC included on the task force are Ben Davis, Connie Maxwell Children’s Home; Barry Edwards, Baptist Foundation of South Carolina; Jimmy Epting, North Greenville University; Jairy Hunter, Charleston Southern University; Don Kirkland, Baptist Courier; Tom Turner, South Carolina Baptist Ministries for the Aging; Evans Whitaker, Anderson University.


Sonny Holmes, pastor of Northwood Baptist Church in North Charleston, was elected convention president in a 356-213 ballot with D.J. Horton, pastor of Anderson Mill Road Baptist Church in Moore.

By acclamation, messengers also elected Brad Atkins, pastor of Powdersville First Baptist Church in Easley, as first vice president; Brad Kelley, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in West Union, as second vice president; Faye Carroll, member of Bethel Baptist Church in Westminster, as recording secretary; and Frankie Melton, pastor of First Baptist Church in Heath Springs, as registration secretary.


Messengers approved without discussion a slate of eight resolutions, including:

— Recognition of Anderson University on its 100th year of existence.

— A resolution encouraging South Carolina Baptists to become deeply involved in prison ministry to help inmates re-enter society armed with education and spiritual training.

— A resolution calling on South Carolina Baptists to pray that God will grant elected officials wisdom and strength as they lead.

— A resolution acknowledging that the theft of copper from heating and air-conditioning units, including thefts from churches, has caused financial hardships in communities, and calling on elected officials to amend laws regarding crimes for purchase and sale of nonferrous materials and copper.

— A resolution encouraging financial responsibility among South Carolina Baptists and churches to teach financial concepts from a biblical perspective.

-— A resolution encouraging South Carolina legislators to vote against all bills that would expand or support new gambling activities.

-— A resolution encouraging believers to love and show compassion toward homosexuals, and that Baptist leaders deal honestly with the Word of God, teaching the subject of homosexuality in its intended context of sin.

— Appreciation to the South Carolina Baptist Convention staff, convention officers, and committee leadership for hosting the annual meeting.

To read the resolutions in their entirety, visit www.scbaptist.org.
Butch Blume is managing editor of The Baptist Courier (www.BaptistCourier.com), the newspaper of the churches of the South Carolina Baptist Convention.

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