News Articles

SBC budget process, name change debated at Executive Committee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–The possibility of changing the name of the Southern Baptist Convention and the approval of a new two-year budgeting process for the Cooperative Program Allocation Budget were the focus of the Sept. 21-22 meeting of the SBC Executive Committee.
Seeking to act on two motions from the Salt Lake City annual meeting of the SBC this summer, the Executive Committee finally decided to postpone any action until its staff could assemble a strategy for examining the possibility of a convention name change. One referred motion from Salt Lake City asked for the Executive Committee to conduct a feasibility study while a second motion sought to change the SBC name to Baptist Convention of North America.
And a revised report of the Budget Process Study Committee was adopted by the Executive Committee, which means beginning with the recommendation to next year’s annual meeting in Atlanta, the CP Allocation Budget would be for “a fixed percentage for each entity for a two-year period.” Since the CP Allocation Budget recommendation is based on a previous year’s actual receipts, the total dollar amount might vary from year to year but the percentages for each entity would stay the same for a two-year period. The actual recommendation will be hammered out at the February meeting of the Executive Committee.
A previous Budget Process Study Committee report, which sought a three-year basic budget with special mission initiatives for any funds received over the basic budget, was tabled last February by the Executive Committee. The new two-year process was presented to the committee at its opening session and adopted without opposition.
If, as expected, the SBC’s 1990-2000 Capital Needs Budget is paid in full next year, then thereafter all CP receipts, including any amount over the budget, would be distributed according to the normal CP Allocation Budget formula. Presently, 50 percent of any overage is distributed according to the regular budget formula and the other 50 percent is distributed according to the Capital Needs Budget.
The new budget process will be “more personalized and purposeful;” SBC entities “can do more long-range planning by being assured of a fixed budget percentage for 24 months;” will use improved reporting procedures;” and will “emphasize the evaluation of planning, accountability and effectiveness of the entities,” Executive Committee members were told in a report.
In a related matter, Executive Committee members were told Cooperative Program receipts already have exceeded the 1997-98 Cooperative Program Budget goal of $148 million by more than $9 million dollars. The SBC budget year ends Sept. 30 and receipts could total as much as $160 million, the committee was told. If that figure were reached, it would mark the fifth year in a row a previous year’s record receipts were eclipsed. The record 1996-97 CP receipts totaled $155,005,723.
Also, the committee declined to recommend a name change for the Cooperative Program which had been requested in a motion at the Salt Lake City meeting. The committee said the CP name “continues to have widespread acceptance and recognition among Southern Baptist churches.”
The name change discussion came as several Executive Committee members from northern and western areas of the nation sought to derail proposed recommendations declining to act on the two Salt Lake City motions seeking a name change. Pastor of Agape Baptist Church in Petoskey, Mich., argued successfully any action on the two motions should be postponed until the staff had a chance to formulate and propose a strategy to examine the name change possibility. A subcommittee directed the staff to have a report ready at the February meeting of the Executive Committee.
Among other actions, the Executive Committee approved:
— a request from the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission to raise funds for its weekday radio program, “For Faith & Family.”
— a request from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary to borrow $2.2 million to construct 35 additional units adjacent to its Fletcher Village student housing complex, contingent upon approval by Southeastern’s trustees during their Oct. 12-13 meeting.
— a new quarterly publication by Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, “Journal of Pastoral Writing.”
— a preliminary 1999-2000 SBC Operating Budget request of $5,300,575, compared to $5,146,190 in the 1998-99 CP Allocation Budget.
— resolutions of appreciation for two retiring state convention executive directors, William “Bill” Causey of Mississippi and Troy Morrison of Alabama, along with a resolution honoring Harry P. Stagg, a retired executive director of the Baptist Convention of New Mexico, on the celebration of his 100th birthday Oct. 1.
Addressing other motions referred from the 1998 SBC annual meeting in Salt Lake City, the Executive Committee:
— asked the Council of Seminary Presidents to study a proposal to expand the Baptist Faith and Message, Section I on Scripture, sentence 3, to state: “It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth without any mixture of error, in every area of which it speaks, for its matter.” The new portion would be “in every area of which it speaks.”
— recommended that SBC entities “refrain from using Internet servers that make pornography readily available.” The Executive Committee also encouraged Baptist Press, SBC LIFE and other SBC entities to inform churches of pornography-free Internet providers.
— declined to undertake a feasibility study of mass media advertising for SBC churches, noting the North American Mission Board’s ministry assignment includes assisting churches to effectively use television.
— declined to act on a motion to recommend that the SBC Resolutions Committee present for debate every resolution submitted for SBC annual meetings. The Executive Committee affirmed “the current resolutions process as a thoughtful and manageable framework in which to deal with important subjects.”
— declined to act on a motion to encourage a love offering on Adopt An Annuitant Sunday, preferring instead to encourage continuing support of the Annuity Board’s Adopt An Annuitant program and, through the Cooperative Program, the board’s Retired Ministers’ Support Fund.
— affirmed continued subsidizing of child care at SBC annual meetings through the Local Arrangements Committee and efforts to “aggressively look for additional opportunities to make the cost of child care more reasonable, thus encouraging families with younger children to attend the annual meeting.”
— agreed to “prayerfully consider holding a future Southern Baptist Convention in Anaheim, Calif., along with other qualified cities.”
— agreed to continue evaluating the seminary funding formula in order to distribute funds for theological education among the six seminaries in an “equitable and constructive manner.”

    About the Author

  • Herb Hollinger