Churches aren’t the only entities feeling the economic
Associations like Raleigh Baptist Association (RBA) have
noticed changes in giving as well.
“We are trying to deal with the realities,” said Roger Nix,
RBA’s executive director. “We have a whole lot of churches that are suffering
paying back debt.”
Debt accrued from building programs in more burgeoning
The current economic outlook has provided a “whole different
set of circumstances” than the association or even churches were expecting.
Nix and association leaders have been tracking trends within
the association in order to help them plan. He sees a lag between what the
general public economy and the church experiences.
With an annual budget of $505,000 — $625,000 with restricted
funds for ministry partnerships — Nix estimated that 2010’s income is down
about 12 percent over 2009’s amount.
The association aims to keep within its budget each year and
has built up a “good reserve.” In 2010, RBA exceeded its budget by two percent.
With 138 churches in the association, Nix said the income from churches was off
by three percent or $12,000. He said 95 of the 138 churches in the association
give money. Of those 38 churches have given more, 42 have given less and 14
have given the same.
Nix said 95 churches giving is “about on par with every
year” but the pattern of giving has changed slightly. In a typical year 50
churches give more and 30 give less.
It wasn’t just money either. Nix said several of the
ministries were behind their normal rates for the year. For example, the number
of cakes donated for prisons in December “was down pretty significantly,” he
One of the ministries of Raleigh Baptist Association that
has been affected has been its relationship with non-profit organizations.
Previously, office space was rented to local non-profits but those non-profits
have been feeling the economic downturn as well. Firm Foundations, which worked
with Raleigh and Wake County to rehabilitate homes, relied on federal funds
that have dried up with the economy. The office used to have four offices
within the RBA building. Now, the director works out of his home.
Christian Women’s Job Corps (CWJC) continues to operate out
of the RBA. Nix said the association hoped to start a counseling ministry
linked to Congregational Health but that also relies on funding.
“It’s really hard to work those details out,” Nix said.
One of the ways Raleigh Baptist Association leaders are
trying to plan for the future is considering the possibility of selling their
property. Valued at approximately $2.3 million, the association pays $46,000 a
year — nine percent of its 2011 budget — toward its building debt. A vote in
its Oct. 26, 2010, associational meeting allowed the Resource Commission to
research the possibility.
The current resource center is 11,550 square feet. With the
non-profits moving out and changing needs, Nix estimated 7,500 square feet
would be enough. The multi-purpose room, which is 1,300 square feet, does not
suitably meet the needs of the five new church starts that have been using the
space for about a year.
The December newsletter said mission gifts have been
declining the last three years and ministry partnerships with the Baptist State
Convention and the North American Mission Board “will disappear over the next
Two neighbors have expressed interest in acquiring the
Nix said that if the association does move forward with this
sell, the association will likely relocate in the same area.
He estimates that it would cost $1.2 million to build a more
suitable building and relocation.
The next associational meeting is slated for April.
“We’re trying to put our house in order,” Nix said. “No plan
is a plan to fail.”
That’s why Nix said associational leaders are trying to be
If the Commission hears anything sooner than the April
meeting they can have a called meeting to discuss options.
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