The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSCNC) board of directors heard a report from its Institutional Relationship Study Committee that included several suggested recommendations aimed at strengthening the relationships between the state convention and its related entities.

Study committee chairman Chris Griggs, lead pastor of Denver Baptist Church in Denver, N.C., presented the report to the board during a meeting held Wednesday, Feb. 16, at Caraway Conference Center. The meeting was rescheduled from January due to concerns over rising cases of COVID-19 earlier in the year.

The report came after committee members spent the past year examining the relationships and funding models between the state convention and the institutions and agencies that receive Cooperative Program (CP) support. Those entities include the Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina, the Biblical Recorder, the N.C. Baptist Foundation and N.C. Baptist Hospital. The committee also studied the relationship with Fruitland Baptist Bible College, which is a ministry of the state convention.

Griggs noted that when the committee was formed in July 2020, it was not asked to evaluate the merits or effectiveness of any of the respective entities’ work. Instead the committee’s task focused on examining whether or not the state convention’s financial investment was in alignment with the BSCNC’s mission of assisting churches and whether or not the financial investment was healthy or necessary.

“Our perspective was one of support,” Griggs said. “We did not see ourselves as adversaries, but partners. Our desire was to fairly examine these relationships and determine if the relationship needed to be strengthened or reformed.”

As part of its work, the study committee examined each entity’s operating budget, current CP allocations, and what percentage of the entity’s operating budget consisted of CP funds. The committee also conducted a series of interviews with leaders of each entity that focused on its mission, vision, goals, finances and relationship with the state convention.

Griggs said each entity reported having a good relationship with the state convention and expressed a desire for the relationship to continue in some form.

On behalf of the committee, Griggs shared several recommendations based on the result of their work, but the board took no action on those items. Board members and convention officials will consider the committee’s recommendations during the next scheduled board meeting in May. Several of the study committee’s recommendations were related to financial allocations, which may be taken up by the convention’s Budget Special Committee as it works on developing a Cooperative Program budget proposal for 2023.

Committee appointments
In other business, board president Casey Norkett announced several appointments to four special committees of the board. Norkett serves as missions pastor at Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte.

Norkett named Jesse Davis of Apex Baptist Church in Apex, and Zach Nelson of Open Door Church in Raleigh as new members of the Articles and Bylaws Special Committee. Allen Murray of Centerville Baptist Church in Kelly was appointed as the committee chairman.

Norkett appointed Steve Adams of Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte, Matt Brogli of Eagle Springs Baptist Church in Eagle Springs, and Woody Walls of Beach Road Baptist Church in Southport to the Budget Special Committee for 2022. Rick Speas of Old Town Baptist Church in Winston-Salem was appointed as the committee chair.

Norkett named Jeff Isenhour of Arran Lake Baptist Church in Fayetteville and Al Hood of First Baptist Church of Murphy to the Business Services Special Committee.

Norkett appointed Christy Thornton of The Summit Church in Durham and Joe Sinclair of Aversboro Road Baptist Church in Garner to the Christian Life and Public Affairs Special Committee.

Committee on Nominations appointments
The board approved eight appointments to the Committee on Nominations that were recommended by convention officers Micheal Pardue, Quintell Hill and Jason Miller. They were:

  • Dennis Thurman of Crestview Baptist Church in Canton.
  • Stephen Duncan of Shady Grove Baptist Church in Staley.
  • Bob Garbett of First Baptist Church of Crossnore.
  • Phil Goble Jr. of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Hayesville.
  • Susan Justice of Beach Road Baptist Church in Southport.
  • Thomas McDonald of CrossLife Church in Salisbury.
  • Tammy Weeks of Piney Grove Baptist Church in Faison.
  • Lemanuel Williams of Redeemer Church in Rocky Mount.

Thurman will serve as the committee chairman.

Executive Committee elections
The board also elected four at-large members to the executive committee. They were:

  • Noah Crowe of Peachtree Memorial Baptist Church in Murphy.
  • Janet Demeny of Peninsula Baptist Church in Mooresville.
  • Denise O’Donoghue of Imago Dei Church in Raleigh.
  • Terry Stockman of Meherrin Baptist Church in Murfreesboro.

Financial update
Convention officials reported receiving slightly more than $2.5 million in Cooperative Program receipts from N.C. Baptist churches through the end of January. That total is a little more than 7.7% ahead of budget for the year.

Officials also reported receiving nearly $5.4 million for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, nearly $118,000 for the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering and more than $122,000 for the North Carolina Missions Offering, through the end of January for 2022.

Personnel update
Human Resources Manager Bradley Norris notified the board that a state convention staff member was terminated on Jan. 10 due to a violation of a BSCNC employment policy. Any questions related to the matter should be directed to Norris.

Next meeting
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the board of directors is scheduled for May 23-24 at Fort Caswell Coastal Retreat and Conference Center on Oak Island.