Members of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s (BSCNC) executive committee approved a $250,000 contribution to the N.C. Baptist scholarship program and heard an encouraging financial report during a regularly scheduled meeting held Tuesday, April 20 via video conference call.

During the meeting, the executive committee authorized the transfer of $250,000 from state convention reserve funds to the N.C. Baptist educational scholarship program that is administered by the N.C. Baptist Foundation. The transfer is in keeping with an agreement made between the state convention and the foundation when the foundation assumed responsibility for the scholarship program six years ago.

Funds for the transfer will come from a convention reserve account allocated to support the scholarship program. The transfer does not include any Cooperative Program (CP) funds and does not impact convention operations.

Half of the $250,000 will go toward funding scholarships for the current year, and the other $125,00 will be placed into a scholarship endowment fund managed by the foundation.

The scholarship program awards needs-based scholarships to students from N.C. Baptist churches attending one of the five universities historically affiliated with the state convention. Those schools include Gardner-Webb, Campbell, Chowan, Mars Hill and Wingate universities.

Financial update
State convention officials also reported that total Cooperative Program receipts from N.C. Baptist churches were ahead of pace for the current fiscal year and through the same time period as last year.

Through March 31, CP receipts totaled more than $7 million, which was nearly 3.9% ahead of budget for the year and more than 11.3% above year-over-year comparisons.

Giving to special offerings of the state convention and Southern Baptist Convention are all ahead of last year’s pace, as well.

Through March 31, giving to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American missions totaled more than $600,000, and giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for international missions totaled more than $9.7 million. Those totals reflected an increase of 93.9% in Annie Armstrong giving and nearly 14.6% in Lottie Moon giving, respectively.

The North Carolina Missions Offering also received more than $293,000 in gifts through March 31, which is up 6.1% from last year.

The convention also continues to operate in the black.

John Butler, BSCNC executive leader for business services, attributed some of the increases in giving to the emergence from the COVID-19 pandemic. Butler added that he expects some giving totals to “level off” as the year goes on, but he is “very pleased” with giving through the first quarter of 2021.

“We thank God for His faithfulness,” Butler said.

Special convention meeting
Brian Upshaw, interim executive director-treasurer, reported that preliminary planning is underway for the special meeting of the state convention that will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 22, at Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem to elect a permanent executive director-treasurer.

The board of directors voted to nominate Todd Unzicker, chief of staff at The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, as the next executive director during a special meeting held Friday, April 16, based upon the recommendation of a search committee. Upshaw has served as the interim executive director-treasurer since Milton Hollfiield’s retirement on Feb. 28.

Registration for the special meeting will open online at on Monday, April 26 for messengers and guests. Upshaw said churches will be receiving registration instructions by mail and email that will include church ID and PIN numbers that will be needed to register.

Upshaw asked executive committee members to help spread the word about the special meeting and encourage N.C. Baptist churches to elect and send messengers to the meeting.

Next business meeting
The executive committee will meet again on Tuesday, May 25 as part of a regularly scheduled meeting of the full board of directors that will be held Monday and Tuesday, May 24-25, at Fort Caswell on Oak Island.