N.C. Baptists approved a $30.5 million Cooperative Program (CP) budget for 2020 that increases the percentage allocation to the missions and ministries of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) for the 14th consecutive year.
Despite an overall budget reduction of $500,000, messengers to the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s (BSC) Annual Meeting voted during the Tuesday afternoon session to increase the state’s SBC allocation by 0.5 percent, which will move the SBC allocation from 41.5 percent to 42 percent of the overall budget.
The budget was adopted with no discussion from messengers.
The reduction in the overall budget, coupled with the increase in the SBC allocation will result in decreases to state convention ministries and allocations to institutions and agencies.
However, if the approved budget is fully funded through gifts from N.C. Baptist churches, convention ministries and related entities would receive more funding in 2020 than they will in 2019 if current giving trends hold, said Rick Speas, pastor of Old Town Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, who chaired the Budget Special Committee.
Speas said the state convention is projected to receive about $30 million in Cooperative Program gifts from churches by the end of the year, which would be about $1 million less than the current 2019 budget.
Speas also reported that for the 2019 SBC fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, North Carolina sent 65.2 percent of its total missions giving receipts to the SBC, which totaled $31.32 million, the most in state convention history.
Speas said North Carolina also ranked first among all state conventions in support of international missions through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering ($13.12 million) and North American missions through the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering ($6.31 million).
“North Carolina Baptists are generous people, and God is blessing that generosity by using us to bring multitudes of people into His kingdom,” Speas said.
In separate motions, messengers voted that any undesignated funds in excess of the approved 2020 Cooperative Program budget be allocated as follows: 50 percent to the SBC, 25 percent to institutions and agencies in accordance to their CP budget percentages, and 25 percent to state convention ministry groups.
Messengers also approved a $2.1 million goal and allocations for the 2020 North Carolina Missions Offering (NCMO). The NCMO supports a variety of ministries including the 18 different ministries of N.C. Baptist Men, church planting, mission work camps, missions mobilizations projects and associational missions projects.
Messengers also approved two amendments to the state convention’s bylaws that establish a process for removing board members and other elected and appointed officials for cases of “serious misconduct.”
The changes will apply to convention officers, members of the board of directors, appointees to special committees of the board, members of convention committees and members of Fruitland Baptist Bible College’s board of directors.
All three state convention officers were re-elected to new terms for 2020.
Steve Scoggins, pastor of First Baptist Church of Hendersonville, was re-elected as state convention president. Scoggins ran unopposed and was nominated by Michael Smith, a messenger from Fruitland Baptist Church in Hendersonville.
Micheal Pardue, pastor of First Baptist Church of Icard, was re-elected as first vice president. Pardue ran unopposed and was nominated by Dustin Mace, a messenger from Blackburn Baptist Church in Hickory.
Matt Ledbetter, pastor of Creeksville Baptist Church in Conway, was re-elected as second vice president. Ledbetter ran unopposed and was nominated by Jason Miller, a messenger from Dutch Cove Baptist Church in Canton.
Brian Davis, BSC associate executive director-treasurer, moderated a panel discussion with pastors and ministry leaders from across the state in a report to messengers on progress made in the five years since the implementation of the statewide strategy of “impacting lostness through disciple-making.”
Davis posed the following question to panelists: “How has the strategy helped your church fulfill the Great Commission?”
Perry Brindley, associational mission strategist with the Buncombe Baptist Association, said the strategy has helped churches in his association become more aligned and focused on making disciples who make disciples and thereby advancing God’s kingdom.
Chris Benfield, pastor of Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church in Mount Airy, added that the strategy helped open his church’s eyes to its proximity to one of the identified pockets of lostness in their community.
Jonathan Blaylock, pastor of West Canton Baptist Church, explained how the strategy has helped his church’s Sunday School ministry become more “relational, transformational and missional.”
Javier Herrera, pastor of Iglesia La Red in Greensboro, emphasized that engaging with the strategy has helped reach and disciple the Hispanic population in the Triad area.
“This strategy has at its heart the Great Commission,” Davis said. “As we hear more stories like these of how God has worked as we cooperate together, our prayer is that we might see a movement of disciple-making take place across North Carolina.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Chad Austin is Content Strategist-Editor of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina Communications Team.)