Executive Committee hears Rammell on motion
    July 19 2010 by Norman Jameson, BR Editor

    Austin Rammell, pastor of Venture in Dallas, said unless priorities change in Cooperative Program (CP) allocations, he sees a “massive decrease” coming in CP giving. 

    Rammell was invited to address the Executive Committee meeting July 15 to explain issues behind his May motion that the Board of Directors study the feasibility of moving priority items funded through the North Carolina Missions Offering (NCMO) into the budget, and moving “non-mission and non-high priority items” out of the annual CP budget and into a “new statewide offering” that would replace the NCMO.

    Rammell said his experience as a personal evangelism consultant on the Florida Baptist Convention staff for four years prompted him to say, “This doesn’t make any sense.” He said he drove the state, consuming lots of time and money to talk to small groups of people about evangelism who were already excited about evangelism.

    BR photo by Norman Jameson

    Austin Rammell, pastor of Venture in Dallas, explained the motive behind his motion to change Cooperative Program budget priorities.

    Instead, he said, with modern technology and young pastors adept at networking, churches who seek information can find it among themselves, freeing missions funds consumed in the current BSC structure for work overseas where Christians do not have the “billions of dollars” in resources that North Carolina Baptist churches enjoy.

    “We’re too big,” he said of state conventions. “We’re replicating the local church on a massive level, and it costs a lot of money to do it. I’ve heard the same thing from other pastors.”

    That conviction led him to recommend the elimination of many positions in Florida, he said, including his own. He resigned and came to North Carolina to pastor a church.

    Rammell said marketing the Cooperative Program is not the issue, and that next generation pastors understand it just fine. “The issue is what we then do with that money and how we divide it up,” he said.

    His recommendation seeks to put “what we say are our priorities” into the budget and let non-priority items fend for themselves in a special offering. If the churches do not support some area financially, “You’ll give it its democratic death,” he said.

    Rammell said this is “not a young people issue. Don’t make the mistake that this is a bald headed and goateed guy issue.”

    He said he’s heard similar dissatisfactions voiced by pastors in very traditional churches.  

    Which items?
    Budget committee chairman Steve Hardy asked Rammell to identify “non-priority” items he would move from the budget to such a special offering.

    Rammell said he would begin by identifying anything that replicates the local church, or could be done better by “raising heroes and leaders out of local churches” who would pull together the resources of several churches to produce something the state convention now does.

    He used as an example an annual evangelism conference, and said First Baptist and Hickory Grove churches in Charlotte “could combine with other local churches and put on an evangelism conference the state convention couldn’t compete with.”

    “One of the ways you’re going to get guys like me excited about giving more to the CP is to get more money out of the state,” Rammell said, “and then to use what money stays in this state more effectively.

    “That’s my motive, where I’m coming from. That’s why I made the motion.”

    Executive Committee Chairman Bobby Blanton will name a committee to take up Rammell’s motion.  
    7/19/2010 7:27:00 AM by Norman Jameson, BR Editor | with 1 comments

Brent Hobbs
I'm glad Austin's voice is being heard. He represents the thinking of many others of us out here. Maybe not specifically on the priority/non-priority items issue (he may be right that it's an important move to make, I'm just not sure)... but certainly on the fact that we do not see the Cooperative Program as being as effective as it should be when such a high percentage of our resources stay here in our own state.
7/19/2010 5:20:47 PM

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