During a productive meeting rendered somber by the death of committee chairman David Treadway two days earlier, the Baptist State Convention (BSC) Board of Directors Sept. 29-30 adopted a 2010 budget recommendation that is $4.8 million lower than 2009; approved minor but multiple changes to the Articles and Bylaws; voted a policy that defines the BSC relationship with Woman’s Missionary Union of N.C. (WMU-NC); and heard ministry reports from across the world.
Despite being 12.2 percent smaller, the 2010 budget proposal increases funds to priority ministries and continues a five-year trend of increasing the portion of Cooperative Program (CP) receipts from churches that are forwarded to the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).
BSC Executive Director-treasurer Milton A. Hollifield Jr., had a flower placed at Treadway’s place at the table to remind board members that a great vacancy existed.
“David was a very promising, very competent pastor,” Hollifield said. “He left a wife who loved him to death and left two teenage children, Lyndsey and Landon. He also left a church family that appreciated him greatly. He had done a great work there. He was just an effective, effective person.
“He loved this Convention and he loved this board and he will be greatly missed.”
David Horton, president of Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute said his board recently approved a feasibility study for satellite campuses, for which “many have expressed interest.”
WMU-NC initiated a change in relationship in 2006 that led eventually to their assuming full responsibility for their operating support and moving their offices from the staff building in Cary.
Resentment surfaces at board meeting during any discussion about WMU as the women’s mission organization seeks to define and maintain its place in North Carolina Baptist life. Its move to reestablish its independent status has complicated formerly easy functions like reporting and access to mailing lists. The new policy defines the relationship with mutual affirmations, a reporting schedule and outlining access to BSC data.
The Executive Committee approved two new job descriptions, which reflect the combining of four jobs into two as a part of the downsizing announced earlier. The senior consultant for childhood ministry is a combination of children and preschool consultants. With no assurance that she would be hired for the new position, Cathy Hopkins, who had assumed both roles upon the retirement of Janice Haywood, left the Convention.
The team leader positions for associational partnerships and western area consultant were combined into the team leader for associational partnerships position.
“Even though things like this are difficult I’ve been pleased with the reaction of the staff at the Baptist Building,” said Hollifield. “I do not feel it has created a problem with moral. They understand the times we are living in.”
A master use plan for Caraway Conference Center that addresses the entire 1,100-acre property and would expand conference and lodging space was presented for information. More detail, along with a plan for funding expansion, is to be presented in January.
Michael Blackwell, president of Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH), encouraged Board members to receive a Thanksgiving Offering for BCH, and said, “This is the most critical Thanksgiving Offering we’ve ever had.” With a goal of $1.4 million in a tough economy, he said, “I’m running scared.”
Retirement Homes classified
Shannon Scott, chairman of the Articles and Bylaws Committee, submitted 12 motions for consideration, all of which were passed. While they are important for streamlining and making language consistent, for the most part they do not change anything about the way North Carolina Baptists do business.
The document does define the relationship with Baptist Retirement Homes as a “historical social services institution.” It says in a new Article V.A. (2):
“The Convention recognizes its historical relationship with the Baptist Retirement Homes of North Carolina, Inc. (“Homes”) from 1951 to 2006 as part of the Convention’s ministry to senior adults. As a historical social services institution, Homes is autonomous in its governance and its board of trustees shall be elected by its board of trustees in accordance with such procedures as set forth in its governing documents.”
When a question arose as to why a relationship needs to be defined when “they are not a part of us anymore,” Convention attorney John Small said we have a historical relationship with the retirement homes.
“There may be a change in relationship down the road, a change in leadership,” he said, “that might result in a change in relationship from what we have now. This leaves an open door for us.”
Don McCutcheon, executive leader for evangelization, gave initial details of an emphasis that has grown from collaboration with churches, association and Convention staff and relates to the NAMB evangelism strategy called God’s Plan for Sharing (GPS).
Although most churches shy away from preaching evangelistic messages during Easter services, McCutcheon is encouraging pastors to do just that because Easter and Christmas are the two times of year when non-Christians are likely to come to church.
The emphasis will be called “Find it Here” and is part of a three-year plan that will be unveiled in greater detail at the annual meeting in November.
Hollifield kept his remarks brief as executive leadership was anxious to get away for the two-hour trip to Sandy Ridge Baptist Church and Treadway’s funeral.
He lifted a sheet of paper detailing BSC staff ministry plans for 2010 and said, “This state convention could function without a relationship with the SBC. But we connect with; partner with the SBC entities because we are Southern Baptist churches.”
“I’m pleased and proud of that relationship,” Hollifield said to a smattering of “amens.”
He acknowledged “a time of change in the SBC” with pending vacancies in the presidencies of three significant entities — the International Mission Board, North American Mission Board and Executive Committee.
“Whether people want to acknowledge it or not, we are quickly becoming a new Southern Baptist Convention,” he said, asking others to join him in daily praying for the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force.