Wrap: Messengers worship, adopt single giving plan
    November 17 2008 by Norman Jameson, BR Editor

    North Carolina Baptists celebrated world missions to open their 178th annual meeting Nov. 10-12 and restricted missions giving options to close it.

    Between those bookends, the smallest number of messengers since 1956 commissioned 38 international missionaries; approved an extensive rewrite of the Baptist State Convention’s Articles and Bylaws; witnessed the launch of three ministries and adopted 2009 North Carolina Missions Offering allocations.

    Hundreds of the 2,136 messengers and 237 visitors responded to altar calls issued by International Mission Board Vice President Tom Elliff during the commissioning service and by BSC President Rick Speas after his sermon. The convention atmosphere met planners’ goal to have a worshipful meeting.

    Business sessions moved according to script and were often ahead of schedule.

    Until the final morning not a single ballot vote was required, nor had a single messenger spoken from a floor microphone.

    That rapid trip through the agenda slowed for the budget report and when Ed Yount presented the long anticipated Giving Plans Study Committee report, which messengers adopted after making a significant amendment.

    The committee’s recommendation reduced North Carolina Baptists’ four giving plan options to a single plan, with options. The primary option would have allowed a church to forward 10 percent of its gift to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF).

    Other options let a church designate two percent to the adopt-an-annuitant program or two percent for divinity schools at Gardner-Webb or Campbell universities, and it allowed for up to three negative designations for the gift still to be counted as Cooperative Program.

    The CBF option was an attempt to keep a place at the table for North Carolina Baptists who also have an affinity for the mission of CBF.

    Matt Williamson, pastor of Oak Forest Baptist Church in Fletcher, said CBF does not ascribe to scriptural inerrancy, so he moved the option be deleted. After much discussion, it was.

    For the second straight year messengers voted down a proposal to include Woman’s Missionary Union of North Carolina (WMU-NC) in the North Carolina Missions Offering (NCMO).

    Vic Ramsey, pastor of Moyock Baptist Church, moved to include $500,000 for WMU-NC in the NCMO. Roy Smith, retired BSC executive director-treasurer, made the same motion last year, with the same result. Ramsey’s motion received about 10 percent approval.

    Earlier, messengers had voted down a motion by Ramsey to remove the 10 percent of NCMO allocated for associational projects. He said he made the motion because the rationale last year to remove WMU-NC from the NCMO was that it was not “directly connected” to the BSC.

    Ramsey said he supported the associational projects allocation, but since the associations also are not “directly connected” to the BSC, they should not be in the NCMO. He said he planned to vote against his amendment and would be happy if it failed because its failure would repudiate the principle by which WMU was excluded last year.

    After that proposal failed with only about 25 people voting in its favor, Ramsey moved to include WMU-NC in the NCMO.

    Final allocations approved include:

    North Carolina Baptist Men, $840,000 or 40 percent; church planting, $546,000 or 26 percent; mission camps, $315,000 or 15 percent, associational projects $210,000 or 10 percent; missions education and promotion $189,000 or 9 percent.

    Three ministries launched
    Three new ministries were introduced to messengers: North Carolina Baptist Aging Ministry (NCBAM); Embrace women’s ministry; and a church loans program from the North Carolina Baptist Foundation.

    NCBAM will be under the auspices of Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina (BCH). Messengers released the approximately $880,000 to BCH that had been held in escrow from Cooperative Program funds originally intended for Baptist Retirement Homes (BRH).

    That money was being held pending resolution of the relationship between BRH and BSC. That has been at an impasse since a task force recommended last year — after an amendment initiated by Philip Addison, of Stoney Point Baptist Church — to withhold funds from BRH until it initiates the process to sever its relationship according to BSC bylaws.

    BRH did not initiate such a process. Messengers Nov. 11 voted for BSC to initiate the severance process and bring closure and clarity to the relationship.

    Blackwell introduced NCBAM to messengers with an outline of what he intends it to become. Bobby Boyd, retiring director of Catawba County department of social services, will assist Blackwell and an initial director in developing the ministry.

    Nearly a million dollars budgeted in 2009 for ministry among the aging will be available to NCBAM, with a “significant amount” of that to be administered by the BSC for special projects, according to John Butler, BSC executive leader for business services.

    Embrace women’s ministry will focus on evangelism, discipleship and missions, according to Phyllis Foy, a North American Board missionary who led the task force that formed it.

    The new ministry will engage women with the gospel, help form Bible studies and equip women to minister locally and globally.

    Clay Warf, executive director of the North Carolina Baptist Foundation (NCBF), announced an opportunity for North Carolina Baptists to invest in “certificates of participation” that will provide resources by which the Foundation can make church loans.

    The BSC has contributed $100,000 in startup funds and its investment committee will consider investing in the church loan pool.

    The NCBF is the nation’s oldest Baptist foundation, but not the first to be involved in church loans.

    11/17/2008 10:28:00 AM by Norman Jameson, BR Editor | with 4 comments

Kevin is right about the difficulty of scheduling, and especially right that for years budget issues have been scheduled for Wednesday morning. I may have faulty memory, and please correct me if I'm wrong, or expand this thought if i'm right, but it seems budget issues used to come up earlier, but they bogged down proceedings. And, frankly, I seem to remember the budget disccusion was shifted to Wednesday at that time principally because Wednesday was usually a low crowd and cantankerousness would be at a minimum. This was during a time when giving plans were being fashioned, etc. Even if that sketchy memory is right, that scheduling was put into place long ago and not instituted just for the Giving Plans Study Committee Report. That said, because this report was the single most anticpated "business" part of the annual session, presenting it earlier might have left more messengers feeling they had a part in the discussion. No one told them to go home early. And, as Kevin knows also, the Program, Place and Preacher committee often discusses ideas about how to keep more messengers at the meeting through to the end.
11/20/2008 4:21:29 PM

Kevin Clubb
I had the privilege of serving on the Program, Place & Preacher committee for a couple of years and I can tell you it is a difficult task deciding when things will take place during our convention meetings. That committee works hard to weigh the desires of our different convention groups to share what God has been doing through their ministry efforts and the need to present significant issues to the convention messengers. What I can say about the scheduling of this particular issue is that information about when it would be brought before the messengers was provided in the Biblical Recorder prior to the convention meeting. It was also available on the convention website. In addition to that, every year I've attended the convention, we discussed the budget and budget issues on the closing morning of the convention.
I am concerned about the implication in a previous post that there might have been some behind the scenes maneuvering going on so that this issue came up at a time that was more conducive to the CBF option being removed. No one invited messengers to leave before the conclusion of the Wednesday morning session and to imply that there was something shady going on behind the scenes or something being cooked up without any evidence of such is just not appropriate.
11/18/2008 4:33:24 PM

Brent Hobbs
T Parker,
It was clearly announced on the schedule, everyone who cared to know had ample opportunity to find out when the vote would be.

11/18/2008 1:04:08 PM

T Parker
"Business sessions moved according to script and were often ahead of schedule.

Until the final morning not a single ballot vote was required, nor had a single messenger spoken from a floor microphone."

That rapid trip through the agenda slowed for the budget report and when Ed Yount presented the long anticipated Giving Plans Study Committee report, which messengers adopted after making a significant amendment.

Please someone tell me if it was intentional or unintentional that a significant amendment was made when there was the fewest messengers that were available to vote for or against the amendment.

And some wonder why so few attend these events any more.

If this was the long anticipated Giving Plans Study Committee report, why not address it when the most messengers are there to vote???????? Why not announce ahead of time when it will be addressed--day-time, etc.

11/17/2008 5:41:34 PM

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