Executive Committee hears reports, recommendations
    February 4 2014 by Mike Creswell, Baptist State Convention

    The Executive Committee (EC) of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) met at Caraway Conference Center Jan. 28. Since winter weather affected much of North Carolina, the Board of Directors (BOD) meeting scheduled later in the day was cancelled.
    Based on the number of board members who committed to attend, a quorum would not be met.
    State leaders consider the first BOD meeting of the year an important one because committee chairpersons and board officers are elected during this meeting. These chairpersons, the board officers, along with four who are elected from the board membership at-large, the officers of the convention, the presidents of North Carolina Baptist Men and the North Carolina Baptist Associational Missionaries Conference, comprise the EC.
    The board will address the elections and other matters in a rescheduled meeting Feb. 20.
    The committee heard an update on the sale of the Hollifield Leadership Center. The board had previously decided that funds from the sale of the Hollifield Leadership Center would be applied to Caraway Conference Center’s New Beginnings Campaign. The EC approved a plan that will accelerate the availability of funds. The plan requires the approval of the full board.
    The Hollifield Leadership Center, a 30-acre conference facility on Lake Hickory, was acquired by the BSC in 2000. Low use of the facility made it too expensive to operate.
    The North Carolina Boy’s Academy (NCBA) purchased the property and will reopen it as a ministry for troubled boys. The NCBA is a branch of Teen Challenge, a worldwide ministry founded by David Wilkerson in 1958. The convention financed $2.25 million of the $2.5 million purchase price with equal payments to be made annually over the next five years, beginning with the first payment of almost $500,000 this year.

    Jimmy Adams, chairman of the Business Services Special Committee, said his committee will recommend that the board take $2.25 million from the convention’s contingency reserve fund and make those funds available to Caraway Conference Center for expansion and improvement. The annual payments from NCBA will replenish the reserve fund. Adams is the chairman of deacons at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Greensboro.
    John Butler, BSC’s executive leader for business services, said the convention is required by policy to keep a contingency reserve of at least 10 percent of the annual budget. The contingency reserve is also reviewed by the convention’s external auditors to provide future benefits for convention retirees. The amount of those future liabilities has decreased in recent years due to personnel policy changes affecting the eligibility and scope of retiree benefits.
    Butler said the plan, if approved by the board, would permit Caraway to begin construction on a new $1 million auditorium. Hollifield Hall will be named after benefactor Wyndolyn Royster Hollifield.
    The plan would also allow for three guest room lodges with a total of 24 additional rooms, estimated to cost about $1.2 million above what has been spent on the projects.
    Butler said much of the work such as acquiring permits, site preparation and other tasks has already been completed. Some of the new facilities could be available for use as early as January 2015. The projected work is less than the original plan. “We want to work with what God has given us and be good stewards,” he said.
    In response to questions, Butler said the contingency reserve fund, consisting of $4.6 million, will be sufficient for future retiree benefits even after $2.2 million for the Caraway project. If a problem arises with repayment, the convention holds a lien on the Hollifield property and would be able to recover it, he said.
    Butler expressed confidence in the business plan of the NCBA, and he expects no problems with repayment. “I think they will be good partners for our churches in providing needed ministries,” he said. The EC voted unanimously to recommend the plan to the board.
    For the final financial report of the 2013 budget, Beverly Volz, BSC director of accounting services, reported that the convention received $29,100,744.99 in 2013 through the Cooperative Program, which was 13 percent below budget and 3 percent behind the 2012 total.
    “We finished in the black,” said Milton A. Hollifield Jr., the convention’s executive director-treasurer. He praised the convention staff for their care in budget management.
    North Carolina Baptists gave $1,907,940.80 to the North Carolina Missions Offering (NCMO) in 2013, which was a 2.7 percent increase from the 2012 total, Volz said. The NCMO funds primarily support the work of Baptists on Mission (also known as North Carolina Baptist Men) and the BSC’s church planting ministry, with 10 percent going to associations for area missions and ministry projects.
    Volz said North Carolina Baptist churches gave $5.8 million to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions in 2013, slightly more than the 2012 total. They also gave $12.5 million to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions in 2013, more than seven percent below the 2012 amount.
    The new president of the North Carolina Baptist Associational Missions Conference, Dougald McLaurin, praised the work being done in Baptist associations across the state when he addressed the EC.     
    McLaurin is the director of missions for the Tar River Baptist Association. This association is made up of 55 churches in and around Louisburg. He said five churches in Tar River are going through a transformational process. Through prayer drives, “little by little, eyes are being opened to the lostness that exists within the shadows of their steeples,” he said.
    Tar River Baptists have been helping plant new churches in Toronto, Canada. McLaurin said his office forwarded more than $100,000 to Toronto for that purpose in 2013. He urged committee members to learn more about the work of their local associations.
    John Gore, president of North Carolina Baptist Men, reported that they are remaining active in New Jersey and New York, and that there are opportunities for service in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.
    2/4/2014 1:53:35 PM by Mike Creswell, Baptist State Convention | with 0 comments
    Filed under: BSC, budgets and reports

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