News Articles

South Carolina marks $10 million toward ‘priority areas of mission and ministry’

Tony Wolfe presents the 10×10 Plan before SCBaptist staff on Jan. 4. Photo by Izzy McElveen

COLUMBIA, S.C. (BP) — Seven specified areas of ministry are the focus for $10 million over the next decade through a spending model that acknowledges the sacrifices of previous South Carolina Baptists while setting up ministry success in the future, said the state’s executive director.

The 10×10 Plan was approved unanimously by the convention’s Executive Board on Dec. 7, having already received the same blessing by its Executive Advisory Team and Business, Finance, and Audit (BFA) Committee. State Executive Tony Wolfe presented it to staff on Jan. 8

“The 10×10 Plan outlines for us a proactive, strategic effort,” rather than what he called a more “reactive” approach to funding similar requests, as in years past, but with no real “synergy” between them, reported The Baptist Courier, news journal for South Carolina Baptists.

Funding for the plan will come out of Convention-held investment capital that is approximately $28 million. Of that, $18 million is restricted and in reserves for areas such as six months of operating expenses and retirement payout liability. The remaining $10 million is held in a “Strategic Priorities” line item from which the BFA granted the funds for the 10×10 Plan.

The seven priority areas for the plan are:

  1. African American engagement
  2. Sexual Abuse Advisor and Resources
  3. Missions Partnerships and Mobilization
  4. Shepherd Team
  5. Church Planting
  6. One Family Initiatives
  7. Bless SC Initiatives

Woven through those areas will be an emphasis on engaging Gen Z as well as young and future pastors.

Wolfe told Baptist Press that conversation over the plan began last April and started to take shape in November before culminating in December.

Missions and ministry projects that the plan will cover include cooperative agreements with the International Mission Board and Send Cities with the North American Mission Board as well as emphases on foster care and adoption grants. Some funding will go toward consultants and independent contractors, but none toward employee salaries, Wolfe said.

As oversight for the plan, detailed quarterly reports will be presented to the Executive Advisory Team, a detailed annual report to the BFA Committee and a “high-level evaluation” at the five-year midpoint.

A newly-created Shepherd Team will take shape in the coming months to focus on the office of pastor, providing resources and training as well as opportunities to address areas such as pastoral leadership and health. The team will consist of “some existing staff,” according to the Courier.

Wolfe told BP that he anticipates 4-5 full-time staff will be on the team alongside 8-10 part-time consultants. At least one – the leader – will be a staff addition.

“We would love to have someone in place by the summer, but we are not working on a strict timeline right now,” he said. “We are not in a rush. We are working diligently while trusting the Lord to reveal the right candidate, in His time.”

In speaking with convention staff Jan. 8, Wolfe pointed to Nehemiah 13, where Nehemiah requested that God “remember” him because he “made provision for wood.”

“No wood, no fire. No fire, no sacrifice. No sacrifice, no blessing,” he said.

Termed a “short-term strategy,” the plan nevertheless points out a longer arc of giving.

“Like Nehemiah, generations before us at the South Carolina Baptist Convention have set us up for success by making provision to fuel the fires of worthy sacrifice in our time while we pray for the blessing and favor of God,” Wolfe told BP.

“The 10×10 Plan acknowledges this provision and plans ahead for its strategic use in fueling the fires of faithful, sacrificial obedience within the seven areas of priority that are important to South Carolina Baptists in our generation.”