NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–A Baptist General Convention of Texas missions study committee recommendation to retain $1.2 million in Cooperative Program funds in Texas is flawed, according to the SBC Executive Committee’s vice president for Cooperative Program.
“It is implied that the BGCT is merely cutting out the red tape by keeping money it would send to the SBC and then get back from NAMB,” said David E. Hankins, vice president for CP. “However, this proposal is very seriously flawed and has potentially devastating consequences for the Cooperative Program.”
Hankins listed several key flaws in the committee’s recommendation:
— The proposal is flawed in its definition. The first flaw of this proposal is that it wrongly assumes the NAMB grant to BGCT started out as BGCT money.
The $1.2 million is not sent by the BGCT but by the churches. And, traditionally, the state convention has claimed no rights over gifts the churches intended for the SBC. Once the gifts are forwarded, they become part of the gifts sent from all over the United States and are under the direction of the Southern Baptist Convention. It is an error to equate the $1.2 million NAMB agrees to send from its budget to the BGCT as a “portion” of an equivalent $5.9 million allocation from Texas churches.
— The proposal is flawed in its motivation. NAMB does not make its decision on how much money to send to the BGCT based on the amount of gifts from Texas churches, but on ministry needs and strategies. Likewise, the churches in Texas do not decide how much to give to the SBC Cooperative Program based on how much NAMB will send to Texas. The BGCT should not encourage this quid pro quo mentality, Hankins said.
— The program is flawed in its cooperation. If the BGCT retains the $1.2 million, it not only loses the partnership with the NAMB, it loses partnership with churches all over the nation who contribute to the Cooperative Program for missions in Texas, Hankins said.
— The program is flawed in its application. The proposal claims to keep $1.2 million from NAMB but it is, in fact, keeping $1.2 million from the entire SBC Allocation Budget which funds most of the SBC ministries. This means $600,000 which ordinarily would be sent to the International Mission Board will remain at the BGCT, Hankins noted.
The SBC will have to decide whether and how to reallocate its budget to correct the inequities caused by the unilateral violation of historic Cooperative Program practices, Hankins said.
“The Cooperative Program has been a successful partnership between the state conventions and the SBC that has served the churches and the Lord extremely well,” Hankins said. ” I hope that BGCT leaders evaluate the study committee’s recommendation in context of this historic cooperation and in view of the tremendous missions work that has resulted from over seven decades of working close together.”