The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s (BSCNC) Executive Committee heard a Cooperative Program budget proposal for 2022 totaling $28 million during a regularly scheduled meeting held Tuesday, July 13, via video conference call.

The proposal presented by the state convention’s Budget Special Committee reflects an overall increase of $1 million from the current budget. Following some discussion, the Executive Committee committed to spend time in prayer regarding the proposed budget before voting on a recommendation at the next committee meeting in August.

Budget committee chairman Zeb Cook, pastor of Apex Baptist Church, said much “effort, energy and prayer” went into developing the proposed budget. While Cook said that the committee was “united” in its recommendation, he said that he appreciated discussion around the proposal and the decision to take time to pray about it.

“Our committee’s job is to present this to the Executive Committee first, and we want everyone to feel good about it,” Cook said.

BSCNC Executive Director-Treasurer Todd Unzicker and other members of the state convention’s executive leadership team also expressed their support of the budget committee’s proposal.

Unzicker said the budget supports the state convention’s work toward becoming a movement of churches on mission together, a theme he has championed since becoming executive director-treasurer.

BSCNC board of directors’ vice president Casey Norkett, missions pastor at Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte, reminded Executive Committee members that budgets represent more than numbers and percentages.

“(Budgets) translate directly into people,” Norkett said. “They represent people being sent as missionaries and lives being changed by the power of the gospel. Pray for the Lord’s guidance and wisdom as we think through these things.”

State convention bylaws outline the budget approval process. The budget recommendation that is ultimately approved by the Executive Committee will go before the state convention’s full board of directors in September for consideration. Following a board vote, the recommended budget will be presented to messengers at the annual meeting in November for consideration and final approval.

Financial update
Following discussion about the 2022 budget recommendation, convention officials shared an encouraging financial report with committee members.

Officials reported that through the end of June, Cooperative Program giving from N.C. Baptist churches is ahead of budget and ahead of year-over-year giving totals. Giving receipts totaled more than $13.8 million through June 30, which is more than $358,000 (2.66%) ahead of budget and more than $1 million (7.9%) higher the same time period as last year.

Additionally, giving to special offerings, which include the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and the North Carolina Missions Offering, were all up by double-digit percentages in year-over-year comparisons.

“We thank God for His blessings and entrusting these funds to us,” said Kecia Mariotti, the state convention’s interim director of accounting.

Board vacancies filled
In other business, the Executive Committee approved a motion on behalf of the Committee of Nominations to fill several leadership vacancies on the respective boards of the state convention and Biblical Recorder in accordance with convention bylaws.

The committee approved four individuals to fill unfilled or unexpired terms on the state convention’s board of directors for the remainder of the calendar year: They are:

  • Lon Chenowith, associational mission strategist for the Sandy Run Baptist Association.
  • Josh Evans, pastor of Crabtree Baptist Church in Clyde.
  • Marissa Ivester, a layperson from Faith Baptist Church in Durham.
  • Danny Justice, pastor of Ogden Baptist Church in Wilmington.

As part of the same motion, the Executive Committee approved Jonas Perez, associational mission strategist for the Rowan Baptist Association, to fill an unexpired term on the Biblical Recorder’s board of directors for the remainder of the calendar year.

Next meetings
The next Executive Committee meeting is scheduled for Aug. 24 in Cary. The state convention’s board of directors is scheduled to meet Sept. 27-28 at Caraway Conference Center near Asheboro.