After much discussion and debate, the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s (BSCNC) Board of Directors approved an amended Cooperative Program (CP) budget proposal for 2019 totaling $31 million during the board’s fall meeting held Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 24-25 at Caraway Conference Center and Camp in Sophia, N.C.
The overall budget total of $31 million remains unchanged from 2018, yet the amended proposal passed by the board would reduce the proposed amount designated for the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) by $45,000 and reallocate those funds to some of the state convention’s institutions and agencies.
The budget proposal passed by the board will now be presented to messengers from N.C. Baptist churches attending the BSCNC Annual Meeting, which is scheduled for Nov. 5-6 at the Joseph S. Koury Convention Center in Greensboro, N.C.
A listening session on the budget is scheduled during the Annual Meeting at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 6. The budget will be presented to messengers later that afternoon for discussion and a final vote at 2:20 p.m.
The budget proposal that will be presented to messengers will be available for review on the Annual Meeting website the first week of October. The budget proposal may be accessed by visiting ncannualmeeting.org/program/business/budget.
The version of the budget passed by the board amended the proposal that had been recommended by the board’s Budget Special Committee and approved by the board’s Executive Committee in July.
The original 2019 budget proposal included an increased allocation to the SBC, bringing that allocation to 41.5 percent — an increase of $155,000 for the SBC portion of the CP budget — while reducing allocations to all state convention ministry groups as well as the convention’s institutions and agencies. Institutions and agencies include the Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina, North Carolina Baptist Hospital, the Biblical Recorder, and the N.C. Baptist Foundation.
The amended budget passed by the board calls for redistributing $45,000 from the funds designated for the SBC and reallocating them to some of the BSCNC’s institutions and agencies, as well as Fruitland Baptist Bible College. Of the reallocated funds, $30,000 would go to the Biblical Recorder, while the Baptist Children’s Homes, Fruitland Baptist Bible College and the N.C. Baptist Foundation would all receive $5,000 each.
The $45,000 in reallocated funds would reduce the convention’s proposed SBC allocation from $12.865 million to $12.82 million, but would still reflect an increase in the percentage allocated to the SBC by the state convention for the 13th consecutive year. The 2018 budget included a 41 percent allocation to the SBC. The 2019 proposal passed by the board would increase that total to 41.35 percent, an increase of $110,000.
The 2019 budget also calls for a 2 percent salary increase for state convention staff.
In a separate measure, the board approved a goal of $2.1 million for the 2019 North Carolina Missions Offering (NCMO), which remains unchanged from 2018.
NCMO gifts support the 18 different ministries of Baptists on Mission/N.C. Baptist Men (NCBM), church planting, mission camps, missions mobilization projects and associational projects.
The board also approved a distribution proposal for 2019 Cooperative Program receipts that exceed next year’s operating budget. Those funds would be allocated as follows: one-third to the SBC, one-third to in-state church planting efforts and one-third to be divided equally among the Baptist Children’s Homes, the Biblical Recorder and Fruitland Baptist Bible College.
Both the 2019 NCMO goal and recommended distribution of CP funds in excess of the 2019 budget total will also be presented to messengers at the BSCNC Annual Meeting.
Update on 2018 budget and special offerings
Beverly Volz, director of accounting services for the BSCNC, reported to the board that CP receipts from N.C. Baptist churches totaled nearly $18.5 million through Aug. 31, which is about 11.5 percent behind for the year and about 4 percent less than the same time period a year ago. Despite the shortfall, Volz said the convention is still operating in the black.
Volz said giving to NCMO totaled more than $660,000 through the end of August, which reflects a 2 percent increase from 2017. The total doesn’t account for any funds received during the offering’s statewide emphasis in September.
Volz reminded board members that NCMO funds the disaster relief ministry of NCBM, which is providing relief and recovery efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence that struck North Carolina on Sept. 14.
Additionally, contributions to the Annie Armstrong offering for North American missions and the Lottie Moon offering for international missions by N.C. Baptists totaled more than $5.7 million and $9.6 million, respectively, through Aug. 31.
Board officers elected
The board also elected a new president and vice president for 2019.
Clay Smith, pastor of First Baptist Church of Matthews, N.C., and Melanie Wallace, a member of Hephzibah Baptist Church in Wendell, N.C., were elected board president and vice president, respectively.
Ginger Brown, a member of First Baptist Church in Cary, N.C., was also reelected as the board secretary.
They will begin their terms of service during the board’s first meeting of 2019 in January.
In addition, members of the various board committees also elected new committee chairmen for 2019. The newly elected chairmen will also serve on the board’s Executive Committee. They are:
- David Richardson (Business Services Special Committee), associate pastor at First Baptist Church in Creedmoor, N.C.
- Bob Jordan (Christian Life and Public Affairs), pastor of Zion’s Tabernacle Baptist Church in Lumberton, N.C.
- Al James (Church Planting and Missions Partnerships Committee), member of Hales Chapel Baptist Church in Zebulon, N.C.
- George Hunnicutt (Communications Committee), pastor of Mill Creek Baptist Church in Monroe, N.C.
- Chris Hughes, (Convention Relations Special Committee), member of Mount Vernon Baptist Church in Boone, N.C.
- Tracy Smith (Evangelism and Discipleship Committee), pastor of Ratcliffe Cove Baptist Church in Waynesville, N.C.
In other business, the board approved three new appointees to the Fruitland Baptist Bible College Board of Directors. The appointees will serve four-year terms beginning in 2019. They are:
- Jerry Durmire, member of Sulphur Springs Baptist Church in Hiddenite, N.C.
- Ken Houston, member of Crossroads Baptist Church in Hickory, N.C.
- Al James, member of Hales Chapel Baptist Church in Zebulon, N.C.
The board also gave final approval for the BSCNC to enter into a land conservation agreement with the Piedmont Land Conservancy that would permanently protect from future development a 235-acre tract of land located across the highway from the main campus of Caraway Camp and Conference Center. The convention would receive approximately $564,000 as part of the agreement, which would be placed in a fund reserved for future capital projects at Caraway.
Convention and Caraway officials said they had no plans to develop the land designated for conservation, and the agreement still permits the land to be used for all current camp programs and activities, such as hiking and primitive camping.
Additionally, the board approved a motion granting the convention authorization to transfer ownership of a property located in Durham to Iglesia Cristiana Emanuel church. The transfer would take effect in January 2019 following the execution of a memorandum of understanding between the state convention, the Yates Baptist Association and Iglesia Cristiana Emanuel.
The BSCNC has owned the property since acquiring it from the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention at no cost in early 2014. The SBC had tried unsuccessfully to sell the property since it was deeded to them in 2008 by Trinity Baptist Church upon the dissolution of the church.
Iglesia Cristiana Emanuel, a Hispanic church plant in search of a permanent meeting space, began worshiping at the location in 2015. Members of the congregation have worked hard since that time to rehabilitate and renovate the property, transforming it into a vibrant ministry center.
“The convention believes that Iglesia Cristiana Emanuel has earned the privilege of having the property legally transferred to its ownership,” said John Butler, BSCNC executive leader for business services. “Without the church’s incredible investment of time and money, the property would have little value at this time.”
According to terms of the proposed agreement, the building could also be used to help launch other church plants in addition to other missions and ministry meetings and endeavors by the Yates Baptist Association. Should Iglesia Cristiana Emanuel dissolve, ownership of the property would be transferred to the Yates association.
Retiring board members
At the conclusion of the meeting, BSCNC Executive Director-Treasurer Milton A. Hollifield Jr. recognized 40 board members — including both board officers — whose terms of service had expired.
They were: board President Marc Francis; board Vice President John Mark Harrison; Allan Barlow; Johnny Blevins; Bruce Buckner; Rick Byrd; Lawrence Clapp; Greg Clark; Mickey Cogdill; John Compton; Eric Davidson; Darrel Davis; John Elledge; Jose Espinal; Dan Farnsworth; Daniel Flynn; Jeff Isenhour; Neal Jackson; Ken Jones; Jim Kilby; Mitch King; Matt Ledbetter; Bob Lowman; Bob Lynn; Jerry Moseley; Mike Motley; Michael Owens; Dan Page; Jim Pollard; Boyce Porter; Connie Queen; Earl Roach; Jim Robertson; Richard Rockwell; Tommy Ross; Brent Thomas; Steve Tillis; Michael Waters; Chris Winchester; and Judy Yarbrough.