Clay Warf, left, executive director of the North Carolina Baptist Foundation, Betty Greene of Boone and David Webb, NCBF western area manager pose for a photo at the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina annual meeting in November. Greene was the winner of an anniversary watch. Warf indicated the Foundation was available to help N.C. Baptists plan for their financial future for themselves and their families.
Making a will is not a priority for most Baptists, said Clay Warf, executive director of the North Carolina Baptist Foundation (NCBF).
When it comes to wills, many people often think they don’t have a lot of material resources that would impact others, or they struggle with procrastination. Most N.C. Baptists miss one of the greatest opportunities of a lifetime, Warf said.
“What if Baptists simply put a tithe of our resources in our wills?” Warf asked.
“Tithing is a beautiful system. It is the best way to support your church and Kingdom work while you are living. Tithing your estate will multiply your ministry until Jesus comes.”
Founded in 1920, NCBF is the oldest Baptist foundation. The organization helps N.C. Baptists invest their resources in a variety of the ministries they are most interested.
Warf tells about a study conducted in recent years that focused on six counties in the state.
The study examined the wills that were probated in a one-month period. The average size of the wills in the study was $44,200.
Warf pointed out that six-tenths of one percent of those wills directed money to charity. Six-one-thousands of one percent of that money went to Christian causes.
An additional study was done on Baptists in six counties.
The question was asked, “How many senior (over 60) N.C. Baptists were in this number?”
Researchers learned that 149,000 of those seniors were on Baptist Sunday School rolls.
Adding up the figures, given the average size of those wills, Warf said, “If Baptists in those counties tithed their estate, $660 million would be available to Christian ministry. If those same dollars were placed in an endowment, the endowment would make $46.2 million dollars available annually – this is not simply a one-time gift, but an annual return of $46.2 million for years to come. Imagine the ministries that kind of money could fund.”
January, which is “Make your will month,” is a great time for an individual to evaluate estate goals, Warf said.
Not only can people make out a will, but they can also talk to experts about estate planning.
Making a will is just one step in the process of exercising wise stewardship of material resources, Warf added.
“We should consider our estate plan our greatest act of Christian stewardship,” he said.
“Christians may be committed to tithing our income, but most of our assets (90 percent) are non-cash,” he said.
“You need to be a good steward of that, too.
“My will should reflect two primary things – the Lord I serve, and the family I love.”
NCBF has Trust and Endowment Managers who are ready to sit down with an individual and discuss their estate and develop an estate plan that fits each person’s needs.
“In an estate plan there is no such thing as ‘one size fits all,’” Warf said.
A free service
People often spend hundreds of dollars for professional advice and planning that the Foundation staff will provide at no charge, said John Butler, executive leader for business services for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, a partner with NCBF.
“We believe that when churches open the door for the Foundation to educate its members about the importance of properly structuring their estate plans, not only will the individuals and churches benefit, but the Kingdom benefits as well,” Butler said. “It’s a matter of stewardship – and we believe God has given us the N.C. Baptist Foundation as a fantastic tool to become the best stewards of God’s blessings that we can possibly become.”
Together, these resources can fund a lot of Kingdom work, Warf said.
“We can impact ministry and missions for years after we are gone,” he said.
For more information about the NCBF, go to ncbaptistfoundation.org or call (800) 521-7334.
NCBF Mission Statement
The North Carolina Baptist Foundation is an agency of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina committed under the guidance of the Holy Spirit to serving North Carolina Baptists and others in generating an increased awareness of Christian estate stewardship principles as a means of financially undergirding churches, institutions, and mission endeavors on a permanent basis.
And further, the Baptist Foundation staff and board of directors are committed to being scrupulously moral, legal, efficient, and accurate in carrying out the intent of each donor and trustor whose funds are placed under management of the Foundation as a means of sustaining a tangible and perpetual involvement in presenting the gospel, meeting human needs, and strengthening all bodies of Christian fellowship where Christ is the Head.