(CP) mission receipts from North Carolina Baptist churches trail the budget by
11 percent, according to six month statistics released by Baptist State
Convention (BSC) Comptroller Robert Simons.
Receipts trail the
previous year’s income by 7.6 percent or $1.2 million, putting 2010 on track to
be the sixth of the past eight years in which income has fallen short of the
Although BSC staff has
kept expenses below income through June, the Executive Committee was warned
that the margin is “razor thin” and supplement from reserves may be required by
Performance to date
prompted the 2011 budget committee to propose to the Executive Committee July
15 a budget for next year that is 6 percent, or $2.1 million, less than the
Despite the big drop in
income and in budget, the 2011 budget includes a one-half percent increase in
the portion of CP funds that are forwarded to the national and international
ministries of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). The sixth straight year of
one-half percentage point increases to the SBC will put the 2011 division at
65-35, with 35 percent going to the SBC.
“When you decrease
budget and increase the SBC portion, you have to understand this is a difficult
issue related to staff and it seriously impacts the money available for
program,” said Steve Hardy, budget committee chair for the third straight year.
Once again, decreased
allocations to the five Baptist colleges absorb the brunt of decreases in the
budget that will be proposed to messengers at the annual meeting in November.
The 2011 budget is the fourth and final year of a process in which the colleges
gave up their Cooperative Program allocations in favor of autonomy in electing
their own trustees.
The colleges will share
a total decrease in Christian Higher Education of $1.2 million.
Other areas basically
will need to absorb a percentage decrease that reflects the budget drop. That
will cost Christian social services $175,000 in the new budget, including
$125,000 from areas administered by Baptist Children’s Homes: residential care,
developmentally disabled ministry and NCBAM for aging ministries. Their total
drops to $2.9 million.
The Baptist Hospital
School of Pastoral Care is cut $50,000 to $675,000.
“We have reduced the
budget as low as we can go without impacting our service to churches,” John
Butler, executive leader for business services said later. “We really have cut
back programming expenses to the point it’s going to impact our ability to
serve the churches and meet their expectations of us.”
Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer, believes the economy
remains the major factor in falling income. BSC income is “a reflection of what
is going on in the churches,” Hollifield said. “We still have churches that
want to increase what they contribute, but they are living with results of
unemployment in their members. I realize there are other factors, but that is
the major factor we’re dealing with right now.”
Butler, who analyzes
the numbers from many angles, said the decrease in income to the Annie
Armstrong Easter Offering for the North American Mission Board is almost
identical to the six-month report to the BSC. He said that similarity indicates
the BSC drop is due overwhelmingly to personal income and giving patterns, and
not to other potential drags such as politics or dissatisfaction with the
Cooperative Program as a missions funding vehicle.
Referring to the two
alternate giving plans eliminated in this year’s budget, Butler said, “We’ve
lost less from our Plans B and C churches than I thought we would, and that’s
“I am still very
grateful that churches are standing behind their commitment to missions and are
supporting us at the level they are,” said Hollifield. “We will operate with
what God provides us to work with.”
Hollifield said he is
“amazed” at the “amount of work and ministry” that BSC staff are accomplishing
with more limited funds. “We’re doing a lot with a lot less money,” he said.
He said the question
North Carolina Baptists must answer for themselves in the budgeting process in
following years is, “What is important to you? What do you want to fund?”
“I don’t expect the
economy to stay where it is forever,” he said. “Eventually it will turn