BSC starts GC Partnerships office, chops budget
    July 19 2010 by Norman Jameson, BR Editor

    With 2010 Cooperative Program (CP) receipts 10.9 percent behind budget through six months, the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) Executive Committee approved a 2011 budget proposal that is $2.1 million smaller than the current budget, and is the smallest since 1999.

    Meeting July 15 in Cary, the Executive Committee also approved establishing an office of Great Commission Partnerships; heard Venture pastor Austin Rammell share his reasons for proposing a shift in priorities for the North Carolina Mission Offering (NCMO); and were asked to consider having their churches provide travel expenses to their meetings.

    Directors also named Brian Woodall of the Bridge Community Church in Fayetteville to fill the unexpired term of Brett McKeithan on the Board of Directors.

    The move to ask Executive Committee members to consider funding their own expenses does not indicate a budget emergency, but is simply “a matter of stewardship” to consider options as members fill out expense reimbursement forms, said budget committee chairman Steve Hardy.

    Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer, said some members of the budget committee had told him “they were glad” to handle their expenses through their churches, or personally.

    “Please do not feel this Convention cannot afford to do that,” he told the Executive Committee. “It is the responsibility of the Convention to pay this, and I’m glad to do it.”  

    Great Commission Partnerships
    Since 1996 North Carolina Baptist Men has managed both its own missions partnerships and those of the Baptist State Convention. On July 15 Executive Committee members approved formation of an office of Great Commission Partnerships, which will separate management of BSC partnerships from the direction of N.C. Baptist Men.

    BR photo by Norman Jameson

    From left, John Butler, executive leader for business services, Chuck Register, executive leader for missions and resource development and Milton Hollifield, executive director-treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.

    The separation, which came at N.C. Baptist Men’s initiative, changes nothing that N.C. Baptist Men does, according to Executive Director-treasurer Richard Brunson. N.C. Baptist Men will continue everything it does and continue to look for new avenues in which to involve North Carolina Baptists in missions.

    Through the newly approved Great Commission Partnership office the BSC will be involved more in missions strategy and in training pastors to be missions strategists than in specific projects, according to Chuck Register in his presentation as executive leader for church planting and missions development.

    The BSC will continue its partnerships in New England, eastern Canada, metropolitan New York and among unreached people groups, Register said. Additionally, the BSC will seek to identify and to link churches that are involved in their own national and international projects with each other to help make the efforts of all more coordinated, effective and efficient.

    The Great Commission terminology also resonates with the Great Commission Resurgence emphasis adopted at the Southern Baptist Convention in June.

    The new office will be funded by the $370,500 in the state convention’s partnership missions budget. N.C. Baptist Men will no longer have access to those funds as they will no longer be managing the BSC partnerships.

    N.C. Baptist Men is an independent auxiliary of the BSC but its staff is considered to be BSC employees. In the BSC administrative structure, it will return to the administration and convention relations group. It had been in that group prior to moving to the church planting and missions development group when it was formed with the arrival 19 months ago of Chuck Register from Gulfport, Miss.

    Hollifield said that move will help N.C. Baptist Men relate more easily to all the BSC groups and to other BSC agencies and institutions.

    He said Brunson has done “a wonderful, wonderful job” managing the BSC partnerships, and that N.C. Baptist Men is “doing tremendous work.” He said the division of labor in partnerships could be defined as N.C. Baptist Men’s work being more project related, while the office of Great Commission Partnerships will be more strategy oriented.

    Brunson called it “different kinds of fishing” during his presentation to the Executive Committee, and said, “There’s lots of fish in the sea.”

    Since 1970 when the BSC established a partnership with Baptists in Togo, N.C. Baptist Men has handled volunteer recruitment, mobilization and travel, Brunson said.

    In 1994 the Convention established an office of partnership missions, led for two years by O.D. Martin. When Martin retired in 1996 Brunson was asked to direct the office.

    “Many, many people have gone on mission projects,” Brunson said. “It’s changed their lives and their churches forever.”

    While having both partnership areas coordinated from the same office has been a “very beneficial, win-win way of doing partnership missions,” Brunson said establishing a new “strategy driven approach” through the office of Great Commission Partnerships will “get more churches involved.”

    Register said the new office would help churches “focus on unreached and underserved people groups, even in your own communities.”

    He said he will be going to Moldova soon with Alan Blume of Mount Vernon Baptist Church in Boone to explore the possibility of establishing a BSC partnership there. He’s learned that already at least four North Carolina Baptist churches are working in Moldova: Hickory Grove in Charlotte, Calvary in Winston-Salem, Englewood in Rocky Mount and Tri-City in Conover.

    The change will “capitalize on the passion, experience and ministry experience of BSC personnel” and will “provide North Carolina Baptists with a holistic missions model,” said Register. He said the change also will “increase the opportunities to cooperate in projects with NAMB (North American Mission Board) and the IMB (International Mission Board).”  
    7/19/2010 7:31:00 AM by Norman Jameson, BR Editor | with 0 comments

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