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Tennessee Baptists approve vision for 2025, beyond

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (BP) – Tennessee Baptist Convention messengers approved the Acts 2:17 Vision Team report, adopted a $35 million budget for the fifth consecutive year, approved five changes to the constitution and bylaws, adopted four resolutions and dealt with additional business during the annual meeting of the Tennessee Baptist Convention held during The Summit Nov. 12-15 at the Chattanooga Convention Center.

TBC president Clay Hallmark, senior pastor at First Baptist Church, Lexington, preaches the president’s sermon at 2023 Summit in Chattanooga.

The theme of the annual meeting was “Side By Side: Steadfast and Immovable,” taken from 1 Corinthians 15:58.

The annual meeting drew 991 messengers from 500 churches, the largest attendance since 2021 when 1,004 messengers from 503 churches attended the session at Brentwood Baptist Church in Brentwood. Including guests, the 2023 annual meeting drew 1,242 people. 

The 2022 annual meeting at Bellevue Baptist Church, Cordova, drew 843 messengers from 443 churches.


The 2023-24 budget was presented during the report of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board on the first day of the annual meeting. Marty Comer, pastor of Sand Ridge Baptist Church, Lexington, and chair of the Budget and Ministry Committee, told messengers the committee had hopes of increasing the budget for next year.

“However, when it was realized that we would not achieve the goal this year, the recommendation to stay at the $35 million level was the prudent course of action,” he said.

The allocation will continue to be allocated with 47.5 percent to the SBC and 52.5 percent for the TBC.

The budget was overwhelmingly adopted the following day.

During the treasurer’s report, Randy C. Davis, president and executive director, thanked Tennessee Baptists for their generosity last year. 

Though total Cooperative Program gifts fell 1.51 percent of the budget goal, the TBMB budget was surpassed by 1.9 percent due to $622,777 in non-CP designated gifts to TBC Ministries, Davis said.

He noted that the TBC was second among Baptist state conventions (behind Alabama) in SBC Cooperative Program gifts with $16,210,232. Tennessee Baptists also gave a record $2,262,288 through the Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions, Davis added.

During the TBMB report, Davis updated messengers on the six “big rocks” the convention is focusing on in the immediate future. They include serving churches well, avoiding distractions, finishing the 5 Objectives well, the Acts 2:17 Initiative, the 150th anniversary of the TBC in 2024 and BlueOval City.

Later in his report, Davis emphasized the impact Shepherd Care is having on pastors in the state and included a testimony by Cliff Marion of First Baptist Church, Covington. 

He also expounded on how Tennessee Baptists are responding to the needs to start new churches in the area surrounding the BlueOval City Ford plant in West Tennessee that is expected to bring 90,000 people to the area in the next 10 years.


Messengers elected Jay Hardwick, pastor of Forest Hills Baptist Church in Nashville, as president; James Griffith, bivocational pastor of South Harriman Baptist Church in Harriman, as vice president; and Dannie Bell a bivocational pastor in East and Middle Tennessee, as second vice president. See related story.

Other business

Messengers overwhelmingly approved five amendments from the Constitution and Bylaws Committee. See related story.

Messengers overwhelmingly passed four resolutions, including the traditional resolution of “gratitude.” See resolutions here.

Read the full story here. Find more coverage of the Tennessee Baptist Convention meeting at baptistandreflector.org.

BGCT Executive Board approves budget, elect new executive director

By BGCT Staff

DALLAS (BP) – The September meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT) Executive Board was held Sept. 18-19 in Dallas. During the meeting, the board elected Julio Guarneri, lead pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in McAllen, Texas, to serve as the next executive director of Texas Baptists. The board also approved the 2024 budget, elected officers and approved additional business.

The annual meeting of BGCT churches was held in July. (See story here.)

Treasurer/CFO Ward Hayes presented a financial report and a proposed 2024 budget to the board during its Tuesday session. He shared that although Cooperative Program giving is down 2 percent compared to the previous year, expenditures are well under budget and directors have been asked to reduce non-personnel spending by 5 percent. The Convention’s cash position of $10.5M remains strong.

Hayes reported that house/apartment church ministries and church health specialists are growing and will continue to do so in 2024. He also noted that the Texas Baptists Cooperative Program budget for the Convention’s five main ministry centers will be 104 percent as compared to the prior year.

The proposed 2024 budget of $35.3 million was approved unanimously. The board also approved a recommendation to continue allocating undesignated gifts from affiliated churches at a split of 79 percent for BGCT and 21 percent for Worldwide, which is composed of SBC and BGCT Worldwide giving options. In addition to the “Texas adopted plan,” churches continue to have the opportunity to choose all giving percentages through the “church designed” plan.

The Finance Committee proposed the allocation of the Cooperative Program Texas Worldwide Missions Initiatives and Partnerships to various missions funds, which was also approved unanimously.

Read the full story here.

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