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CBF council recommends reduced budget
Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press
February 20, 2010

CBF council recommends reduced budget

CBF council recommends reduced budget
Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press
February 20, 2010

DECATUR, Ga. — The

Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) will vote this summer on a new budget

$1.65 million smaller than the current spending plan.

The CBF Coordinating Council

voted Feb. 19 to recommend a $14.5 million budget for 2010-2011, to be

presented at the organization’s General Assembly June 23-26 in Charlotte. CBF

moderator Hal Bass called it “a realistic budget” after more than a year of

reduced spending under a contingency budget based on declining revenue.

The council voted in March

to spend at no more than 80 percent of levels in line items in a 2009-2010

budget of $16,150,000.

Larry Hurst, director of finance and accounting, said as

of Jan. 1, expenditures were in line with the 80 percent projections but

revenue was coming in at only 71 percent of budget.

CBF moderator Hal Bass presides at Coordinating Council meeting Feb. 19.

“The contingency plan is

working as we hoped it would,” Hurst said. “The revenues are not cooperating

quite as well.”

Daniel Vestal, the

Fellowship’s executive coordinator, described the organization as “financially

plateaued” and said it has been for about four or five years.

“Obviously we are

living in a financially challenging time right now,” he said.

Vestal listed strengthening

the Fellowship’s financial base as one of five major challenges the

organization faces as it prepares to gather for its 20th annual meeting this

summer.

“How do we strengthen our

financial ties to local churches and to individuals where CBF is seen as an

extension of a local church’s ministry?” Vestal asked. “How do we grow — how do

we strengthen our financial relationship to local churches so that local

churches really do see CBF as an extension of their ministry and a part of

their mission, as integral to their mission and, I would even say, to their

identity?”

Other challenges facing the

CBF movement, Vestal said, include how the national organization will relate in

the future to state and regional CBF groups and to partner ministries; how to

increase the Fellowship’s ethnic, racial and cultural diversity; and starting

new churches.

Vestal said starting new CBF

churches has been a struggle since the beginning and the organization has tried

many different approaches.

He said many pastors he

knows are not interested in church planting.

“They are not interested in

starting churches,” he said. “Most of them are trying to keep what they’ve got,

but they’re not interested in planting churches.”

“I am not going to give up on

church planting,” Vestal said. “How does CBF help churches start new churches?”

he said. “Because I don’t think CBF starts churches. I think churches start

churches.”

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Allen is senior writer for

Associated Baptist Press.)