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Hollifield commits to 50/50 CP split with SBC
Norman Jameson, BR Editor
November 10, 2010
4 MIN READ TIME

Hollifield commits to 50/50 CP split with SBC

Hollifield commits to 50/50 CP split with SBC
Norman Jameson, BR Editor
November 10, 2010

North Carolina Baptists’ top

administrator declared his commitment to move the state convention to a 50-50

split of Cooperative Program (CP) funds with the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC)

“over a protracted period” in his address to messengers Nov. 8.

At the same time, he said it

could not be done without increased giving from North Carolina Baptist

churches.

“It is imperative that we

all understand that a move to increase the SBC portion must be accompanied by

an increase in CP support by our churches,” Hollifield said.

This will mark the sixth

year of the past eight that CP gifts from churches have been lower than the

previous year. Messengers adopted a 2011 budget the size of the 1999 budget. Yet

in 2011, for the sixth consecutive year, the SBC allocation of CP gifts has been

increased one-half percent.

BSC photo by K Brown

Milton Hollifield addresses messengers and visitors at the Baptist State Convention annual meeting.

“If our churches do not increase their support of the

Cooperative Program we can’t reach the goal without deep cuts in church

planting and partnership ministries that I’m convinced God is calling us to do …

ministries that the churches of this state voted to establish and support,”

Hollifield said.

Hollifield pointed out that

if churches had maintained their CP giving percentage of 1995, $15 million more

would have been available for missions throughout the state and world annually.

While Hollifield affirmed

each church’s autonomy to determine how it will invest mission dollars,

including avenues other than the Cooperative Program, he said, “If a

congregation wants to have a strong voice in how a convention uses the dollars,

they need to be strong givers.”

His call to dramatically

alter the division of Cooperative Program gifts between the Baptist State

Convention and the Southern Baptist Convention is evidence that he is “deeply

committed to strengthening the partnership between the Baptist State Convention

and the Southern Baptist Convention.”

Hollifield’s declaration comes

after a year of vocal pushing for such a division by supporters of the Great

Commission Resurgence Task Force study and report. During a panel at last year’s

annual session GCR task force member and Calvary Baptist Church’s pastor from

Winston-Salem Al Gilbert called a 50-50 division “a good start.”

Hollifield said lower gifts in

churches and from churches “is just a symptom of a larger problem of church

health. When this problem is solved then stewardship will naturally be

addressed with our people.”

If more churches were

spiritually healthy, Hollifield said, “we would see them doing things

differently,” including seeing members who tithe instead of giving an average

of two percent of their income.

In his annual address,

Hollifield said 2010 has been a year both of “difficulty and challenge” and a

year of “great celebration.”

He said challenges included

the economy which has negatively affected all but a “few churches,” and a

growing diversity that includes “many newcomers (who) bring religious practices

that many North Carolina Baptists are not prepared to address.”

He encouraged his audience

not to be distracted by difficulties “or we’ll miss the great and mighty things

God is accomplishing through His church.”

For Hollifield such evidence

includes planting 98 churches in 2009; financially sponsoring five ethnic

church plants in New York City with a gift of $50,000; and 20 percent growth in

baptisms.

As people push the Baptist

State Convention toward a closer identity with the Southern Baptist Convention,

Hollifield drew distinctions between the work of each organization. Each has “different

and distinct assignments … but we partner with the SBC to accomplish some things

that require joint efforts,” he said.

Lamenting too many Christian’s

moral failures, Hollifield committed to “pray, share, and to personally seek to

disciple and mentor” more persons in 2011. If others would make such a

commitment but are unsure how to do it, he urged them to call the Baptist State

Convention and staff would come help.

He said he is “disturbed at

the infighting that continues to paralyze the ministries of so many churches.”

Such conflict leaves people “wounded and discouraged.”

“I do not know about you,”

Hollifield said, “but I am committing before you this evening to work to bring

peace, and healing, and unity without uniformity to this convention in the

hopes that this convention might indeed be a model for the churches.”