As Cooperative Program (CP) dollars lag more than 15 percent behind this year’s budget in North Carolina, the Executive Committee of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) approved a 10 percent decrease to the 2014 CP budget during their July 11 meeting.
The committee also accepted an offer on the Hollifield Leadership Center in Hickory for $2.5 million. BSC leadership announced a new hire involving collegiate ministry, and the committee approved the new title of Brian Davis, who is now associate executive director-treasurer of the BSC.
The Executive Committee approved a decrease in the 2014 CP budget from $33.5 million to $30 million. In addition, the committee voted to continue increasing the allocation of CP gifts to the Southern Baptist Convention by .5 percent, which they have done the last 8 years. This raises the proposed allocation to 36.5 percent.
The budget will go before the Board of Directors for approval in September.
In addition to adjusting to the $3.5 million decrease in the 2014 budget, N.C. Baptist organizations will receive a slightly lower percentage of CP dollars than what was originally budgeted for them next year.
“It’s not exactly the same percentage [as this year],” said John Butler, BSC’s executive leader for business services. “It’s a little less, but close.”
The reduction would also mean no cost-of-living increases for BSC staff in the coming year, said Rob Roberts, chairman of the budget committee.
“We’re trying to be realistic in terms of what we feel like we can do as a budget,” Roberts said. “We’re just trying to bite the bullet.”
Other committee members asked if any relief could come soon from the 1% Challenge for CP, a Southern Baptist Convention initiative that encourages churches to increase their CP giving by one percent.
Though some N.C. churches have begun implementing the challenge, many of them won’t start until their budget for next year begins, Butler said. Even then, the increase may not be easy to see.
“The problem is … [church] income has been down,” Butler said. “We hope that we’ll see an increase. We need it – no question about that.”
Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC’s executive director-treasurer, thanked churches for what they’re already giving to CP.
“Churches in the Convention … have been growing in their contribution,” Hollifield said.
“It’s because of [those] increases that we are able to be where we are financially,” he added. “If it was not for that, the picture would be more grim than what it is.”
Hollifield Leadership Center
The Executive Committee accepted a $2.5 million offer on the Hollifield Leadership Center. Butler said the BSC agreed to finance the sale, and it will be paid off with a $250,000 down payment and remaining payments over a five-year period.
After years of financial challenges, the center ceased weekly operations at the end of 2012, but has remained available for weekend retreats up until now.
At an annual cost of $50,000 to maintain, Butler pointed out a down payment of $250,000 alone will cover five years of what it would cost to hang on to the facility.
The BSC purchased the center for about $3 million in 2000 to use for retreats and training by churches, para-church ministries and other non-profit organizations. One full-time employee has remained on staff at the center this year to help take care of the property until it sold.
Proceeds from the sale will go toward the New Beginnings capital campaign at Caraway Conference and Camp near Asheboro.
The Executive Committee approved Brian Davis’ new job description as associate executive director-treasurer. His new responsibilities, which have been expanded to include the new BSC structure and strategy that was approved by the committee in April, are now in effect.
For the past seven years, Davis has served as the BSC’s executive leader of administration and convention relations.
“I think you all have observed his work and would understand why I feel there is much value in doing this,” Hollifield said.
“I do try to stay in the field a lot to be with our churches, … [and] there has to be a person in responsibility to answer questions and make decisions, especially when I’m away from the building. … Brian has that responsibility, and in reality, what I’m asking you to approve is much of what he has been doing … for some time but with a different title.”
Executive Committee members also learned Jonathan Yarboro, campus minister at Appalachian State University in Boone, has been hired as the campus ministry consultant for the Western region.
Under the new structure, Yarboro will join Collegiate Partnerships with team leader Rick Trexler. The team includes: Sammy Joo, a consultant for international students in the Triangle area, and Tom Knight, a consultant for international students in Charlotte. The position for the Central region remains open.
In other business, the Executive Committee approved the following Committee on Committee recommendations for the Board of Directors:
– Herman W. “Buddy” Pigg Jr., pastor of Mount Harmony Baptist Church, Matthews (Union Association), will fill the 2016 unexpired term of Terry Casino in Region 6.
– Vernon Eller, pastor of Union Baptist Church, Zionville (Three Forks Association), will fill the 2014 unexpired term of Matthew Grindstaff in Region 7.
– John Compton, pastor of Mountain View Baptist Church, Hickory (Catawba Valley Association), will fill the 2014 unexpired term of Kevin Purcell in Region 8.
– Don Warren, member of Parkwood Baptist Church, Gastonia (Greater Gaston Association), will fill the 2015 unexpired term of Scott Hardin in Region 8.
The next Executive Committee meeting is scheduled for Aug. 15.