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.
“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
“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
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
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
(EDITOR’S NOTE — Allen is senior writer for
Associated Baptist Press.)