February 20 2010 by Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press

    DECATUR, Ga. — The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) will vote this summer on a new budget $1.65 million smaller than the current spending plan.

    The CBF Coordinating Council voted Feb. 19 to recommend a $14.5 million budget for 2010-2011, to be presented at the organization’s General Assembly June 23-26 in Charlotte. CBF moderator Hal Bass called it “a realistic budget” after more than a year of reduced spending under a contingency budget based on declining revenue.

    The council voted in March to spend at no more than 80 percent of levels in line items in a 2009-2010 budget of $16,150,000.

    Larry Hurst, director of finance and accounting, said as of Jan. 1, expenditures were in line with the 80 percent projections but revenue was coming in at only 71 percent of budget.

    CBF moderator Hal Bass presides at Coordinating Council meeting Feb. 19.


    “The contingency plan is working as we hoped it would,” Hurst said. “The revenues are not cooperating quite as well.”

    Daniel Vestal, the Fellowship’s executive coordinator, described the organization as “financially plateaued” and said it has been for about four or five years.

    “Obviously we are living in a financially challenging time right now,” he said.

    Vestal listed strengthening the Fellowship’s financial base as one of five major challenges the organization faces as it prepares to gather for its 20th annual meeting this summer.

    “How do we strengthen our financial ties to local churches and to individuals where CBF is seen as an extension of a local church’s ministry?” Vestal asked. “How do we grow — how do we strengthen our financial relationship to local churches so that local churches really do see CBF as an extension of their ministry and a part of their mission, as integral to their mission and, I would even say, to their identity?”

    Other challenges facing the CBF movement, Vestal said, include how the national organization will relate in the future to state and regional CBF groups and to partner ministries; how to increase the Fellowship’s ethnic, racial and cultural diversity; and starting new churches.

    Vestal said starting new CBF churches has been a struggle since the beginning and the organization has tried many different approaches. He said many pastors he knows are not interested in church planting.

    “They are not interested in starting churches,” he said. “Most of them are trying to keep what they’ve got, but they’re not interested in planting churches.”

    “I am not going to give up on church planting,” Vestal said. “How does CBF help churches start new churches?” he said. “Because I don’t think CBF starts churches. I think churches start churches.”

    (EDITOR’S NOTE — Allen is senior writer for Associated Baptist Press.)
    2/20/2010 11:02:00 AM by Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press | with 0 comments




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