The Executive Committee of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) approved a proposed budget for 2019 totaling $31 million that includes an increase in support of missions and ministries of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) through the Cooperative Program (CP).
Members of the Executive Committee approved the budget proposal as presented by the BSC’s budget committee during a conference call on Thursday, July 12.
While the budget total of $31 million would remain unchanged from 2018, the allocation to the SBC will increase by one-half percent from 41 percent to 41.5 percent in 2019. If approved, 2019 would mark the 13th consecutive year the state convention has increased its percentage allocation to the SBC.
The proposal will be presented to the BSC’s Board of Directors for consideration at its next meeting, scheduled for Sept. 24-25 at Caraway Conference Center near Asheboro. Following action by the board, a recommended budget will be presented to messengers at the annual meeting in Greensboro on Nov. 5-6 for consideration and final approval.
The budget proposal approved by the Executive Committee recommends a 2 percent salary increase for state convention employees and reflects a $125,000 increase to the convention’s operations budget to account for rising costs of benefits and insurance.
To offset rising expenses and accommodate the increased allocation to the SBC, all state convention ministry groups made cuts to their respective budgets, including Fruitland Baptist Bible College. In addition, the proposed budget reflects a total of $195,000 funding reductions at varying levels to the convention’s institutions and agencies, which include the Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina, the Biblical Recorder, the N.C. Baptist Foundation and N.C. Baptist Hospital.
Proposed funding for GuideStone and church protection benefits are unchanged for 2019.
After three years of budget increases, convention officials said the budget committee chose not to propose a budget increase for 2019 based on giving trends through the first half of 2018.
“We don’t anticipate reaching our budget for 2018, so we didn’t think it would be prudent to recommend an increase for next year,” said Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer.
Total CP receipts from N.C. Baptist churches have been short of the budget through the first half of 2018. Beverly Volz, director of accounting services, reported to the committee that through the end of June, CP receipts have totaled slightly more than $13.4 million, which is about 13 percent behind the year-to-date budget.
Despite being behind budget, Volz and John Butler, BSC executive leader for Business Services, both said the convention is operating in the black and staff members are monitoring receipts and expenses to make operational changes where necessary.
Officials also said that in preparing the 2019 budget proposal, the budget committee sought to strike a balance between support for ministries within North Carolina and those of the Southern Baptist Convention.
“There are many ministries that we do through state conventions that the SBC relies on state conventions to carry out,” Hollifield said. “We strive to strike a balance between investing in ministries in North Carolina with what we determine to send on to the SBC.”
In a separate measure, the Executive Committee also approved a budget goal and allocation amounts for the 2019 North Carolina Missions Offering (NCMO), the annual state missions offering that directly supports a variety of missions and ministry efforts in North Carolina.
Under the approved proposal, the $2.1 million NCMO goal for 2019 would remain the same from 2018 as would the allocations amounts to the five ministry areas the offering supports. Those ministries include N.C. Baptist Men/Baptists on Mission (41 percent), church planting (28 percent), mission camps (15 percent), local Baptist associations (10 percent) and missions mobilization projects (6 percent).
Like the proposed CP budget, the proposed NCMO budget will also be presented to the BSC Board of Directors for consideration at its September meeting and to messengers at the BSC annual meeting in November for final approval.