Members of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s (BSC) executive committee (EC) heard a recommendation for proposed changes to the dates of annual meetings in 2021, 2022 and 2023 during a regularly scheduled meeting held Jan. 26 via video conference call.
Committee members also received an update on the search for the BSC’s next executive director-treasurer and were briefed on preliminary financial figures for the state convention’s 2020 fiscal year.
State convention officials informed executive committee members about a recommendation that will be presented to the board of directors requesting that the next three annual meetings be held one week earlier than currently scheduled.
Earlier this month, the state convention’s Committee on Convention Meetings voted to recommend the schedule adjustments to the board. The recommendation was necessitated due to contractual changes initiated by the Joseph S. Koury Convention Center amid the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The board of directors is the only entity authorized by the state convention’s bylaws to change the time or place of the annual meeting.
Currently, this year’s annual meeting is scheduled for Nov. 15-16. If the recommendation to change the dates is approved by the board, this year’s annual meeting would be moved to Nov. 8-9 at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro. The 2022 annual meeting would be held Nov. 7-8, and the 2023 annual meeting would be held Nov. 6-7.
Although the executive committee took no formal action on the recommendation, several committee members – including board president Matt Capps – expressed their support of the measure.
The board will consider the matter at its meeting scheduled for Feb. 16 at Caraway Conference Center.
EDT search update
Noah Crowe, executive committee member and chairman of the executive director-treasurer search committee, shared an update on the search for the next leader of the state convention.
Crowe said the search committee is continuing to conduct interviews and contact references for their “top candidates.” Crowe asked N.C. Baptists to pray for “clear direction” and “consensus” by the committee.
“We are going to present the best candidate to the board of directors and to North Carolina Baptists as God leads us in that direction,” Crowe said.
According to state convention bylaws, the board of directors nominates an individual for consideration as executive director-treasurer, who must be elected at an annual meeting or special called meeting of the convention. Additional nominations may be made from the floor of the convention.
Current Executive Director-Treasurer Milton A. Hollfield Jr. is retiring effective Feb. 28.
John Butler, BSC executive leader for business services, reported that Cooperative Program receipts for 2020 totaled slightly more than $27.2 million based on preliminary figures. That total was about $3.3 million or 10.7% below the $30.5 million budget and $1.8 million or about 6.4% below year-over-year receipts.
“That’s a whole lot better than what we had been fearing earlier in the year at the beginning of the pandemic,” Butler said, adding that despite the budget shortfall, the convention still finished in the black.
Giving to special offerings was also down in 2020, Butler said.
Receipts for the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering totaled $4.8 million, which was about $1.6 million less than 2019. Receipts for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering totaled nearly $11.8 million, which was about $2.7 million less than 2019.
Gifts to the North Carolina Missions Offering totaled nearly $1.8 million, about $230,000 below the offering goal of $2.1 million.
Hollifield expressed thanks to God for His provision in 2020.
“I give praise to the Lord that we ended up the year as well as we did financially,” Hollifield said. “Even though things are not the way that we would like them to be in every church, God is blessing, and He is doing great things. I’m thankful and proud that North Carolina Baptists have continued to minister like they have in these times.”
The state convention’s Cooperative Program budget for 2021 is $27 million, which was approved by messengers at last year’s annual meeting.
In other business, the committee met in a closed session to discuss other items on the meeting agenda, which included an interim executive director-treasurer and a retirement recognition for Hollifield.
Convention bylaws authorize the board of directors to elect an interim executive director-treasurer to serve until a permanent executive director-treasurer is elected. The board considers recommendations from the executive committee with the opportunity for additional nominations to be made at a regular or special board meeting.
The next executive committee meeting is scheduled for Feb. 15 through a video conference call. The full board of directors will meet the following day on Feb. 16 at Caraway Conference Center near Asheboro, N.C.