Raleigh association plans for ministry, economy
    January 4 2011 by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor

    Churches aren’t the only entities feeling the economic pinch. 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 times.

    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 said.  

    Helping non-profits
    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.  

    Being proactive
    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 several years.”

    Two neighbors have expressed interest in acquiring the property.

    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 proactive.

    If the Commission hears anything sooner than the April meeting they can have a called meeting to discuss options.

    (SPECIAL NOTE — Thank you for your continued support of the Biblical Recorder site. During this interim period while we are searching for a new Editor/President the comments section will be temporarily discontinued. Thank you for your understanding and patience in this. If you do have comments or issues with items we run, please contact dianna@biblicalrecorder.org or call 919-847-2127.)    
    1/4/2011 1:58:00 PM by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor | with 0 comments




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