N.C. Baptists approved a Cooperative Program (CP) budget for 2019 totaling $31 million that also increases the percentage allocated to Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) missions and ministries for the 13th consecutive year.
Messengers from N.C. Baptist churches voted to adopt the budget on Tuesday, Nov. 6 during a business session at the 2018 Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s (BSCNC) Annual Meeting held at the Joseph S. Koury Convention Center in Greensboro, N.C.
While the $31 million budget total for 2019 remains unchanged from 2018, the BSCNC will forward 41.5 percent of CP receipts to the SBC, an increase of .5 percent from this year.
The budget proposal presented to messengers on behalf of the BSCNC’s Board of Directors had called for a .35 increase to the state convention’s SBC allocation. But during the budget presentation and discussion, Clay Warf, a messenger from Trinity Baptist Church in Raleigh, N.C., and executive director of the N.C. Baptist Foundation, made a motion to amend the proposed budget by calling for a $45,000 reduction in the foundation’s allocation and redirecting those funds to the state convention’s allocation to the SBC. The reallocation of those funds brought the state convention’s 2019 SBC allocation to 41.5 percent.
Warf’s motion passed by a wide margin.
After Warf’s amendment passed, Ted Kostich, pastor and messenger from Cornerstone Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C., made a separate motion to increase the overall budget by $45,000 and restore that amount to N.C. Baptist Foundation’s allocation. Kostich’s motion did not pass.
After Kostich’s motion failed, messengers voted to approve the overall budget for 2019.
Warf’s amendment restored the SBC funding allocation to the percentage that had originally been proposed by the BSCNC’s Budget Committee and endorsed by the BSCNC’s Executive Committee earlier this summer. The original budget proposal also called for cuts to all state convention ministry areas as well as all institutions and agencies of the convention, which include the Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina, the Biblical Recorder, the N.C. Baptist Foundation and N.C. Baptist Hospital.
During the meeting of the BSCNC’s full Board of Directors in September, board members voted to amend the original budget proposal by restoring some of the funding cuts to specific institutions and agencies through a reduction of $45,000 (.15 percent) in the allocation to the SBC.
The 2019 budget adopted by messengers restored the SBC percentage allocation to the Budget Committee’s original proposal of 41.5 percent while also maintaining the increased allocations to the the Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina, the Biblical Recorder and Fruitland Baptist Bible College that the board approved in September.
A testimony of generosity
Even though messengers adopted a budget that remained flat from last year and called for cuts in many ministry areas, Jeff Isenhour, pastor of Arran Lake Baptist Church in Fayetteville, N.C., and chairman of the Budget Committee, praised N.C. Baptists for their generosity.
Isenhour reported that Cooperative Program support from N.C. Baptist churches totaled a record $11.89 million for the SBC’s fiscal year that ended Sept. 30. That amount eclipsed last year’s record giving total by 1.6 percent, Isenhour said.
Additionally, N.C. Baptist churches ranked first among all state conventions in giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for international missions and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American missions last year. Giving from N.C. Baptists totaled more than $13.6 million for the Lottie Moon offering and more than $6.2 million for the Annie Armstrong offering.
Isenhour also noted that of the $48.77 million received from N.C. Baptist churches in combined Cooperative Program and special offering receipts last year, 65.7 percent — more than $32 million — went directly to support SBC causes, which is the largest percentage in the BSCNC’s history.
“These numbers testify to the generosity of N.C. Baptist churches and our desire to reach our neighbors here and around the world,” Isenhour said.
Additional budget measures
In a separate measure related to the 2019 budget, messengers voted that any undesignated CP receipt in excess of $31 million will be allocated with one-third going to the SBC, one-third to church planting in North Carolina and one-third to be divided equally among the Baptist Children’s Homes, the Biblical Recorder and Fruitland Baptist Bible College.
Messengers also adopted a goal of $2.1 million for the 2019 North Carolina Missions Offering (NCMO), which remains unchanged from the 2018 goal. NCMO supports disaster relief and the 18 different ministries of N.C. Baptists on Mission, church planting and a variety of missions projects among N.C. Baptist associations.