2010 budget shrinks $5m, focuses on priorities
    October 2 2009 by Norman Jameson, BR Editor

    The Baptist State Convention (BSC) Board of Directors approved for recommendation Sept. 29 a 2010 budget nearly $5 million smaller, yet with significant increases to priority ministries.

    Working in the context of national recession and 2009 income 5 percent below last year’s receipts, the budget committee presented a $34.8 million budget that increases the percentage of Cooperative Program (CP) gifts going to the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), and increases church planting and evangelization and Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH).

    This will be the first budget since 1991 without optional giving plans.
    Additionally, the budget committee, chaired by Steve Hardy of Winston-Salem, dealt with decreasing income, incorporating a new ministry group, eliminating recipients that were in alternate plans, calculating the budget position of recipients from the several giving plans into one and rewarding priorities with increases. These changes make it difficult to compare line items between 2009 and 2010.

    “When people ask you about the budget I want you to say we are prioritizing three things,” said Hardy in his presentation to the board: “more money to our Southern Baptist ministry partners; evangelism and church planting.”

    The proposed budget is the smallest since 2000.

    The increase to the SBC continues a five-year trend of one-half percent increases annually. The proposed division of Cooperative Program funds between BSC and SBC is 65.5/34.5 percent. If budget is met, the 2.5 percentage point increase in share to the SBC since 2005 would mean an additional $870,000 to the SBC over 2005 allocations — and the same amount less for ministries in North Carolina.

    BR photo by Norman Jameson

    Allan Blume, board president, called the proposed budget “fabulous” because it is “honing in on priorities.”

    Partnership missions, funded gifts from giving Plans B and C which disappear Dec. 31, is still a priority. Although its budgeted amount is $82,000 less, actual funding will not reflect such a drop because it was being funded well short of budget through Giving Plans B and C where receipts are down 10 percent and 27 percent respectively through September. Partnership Missions will be folded into the Church Planting and Missions Development group budget.

    While Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute appears to be receiving a large increase, it was a special beneficiary of giving Plan D and its 2010 line item is a combination of the 2009 regular budget and Plan D income.

    The North Carolina Missions Offering goal will be unchanged from the $2.1 million in 2009.
    To fund significant increases in priority areas, such as $44,000 for church planting; $174,000 for SBC; $106,680 for Baptist Children’s Homes and $159,000 for campus ministry within a budget that is $4.8 million smaller, cuts had to come from somewhere.

    Convention and Board operations was trimmed the most, with $724,000 savings found in insurance, some cost shifting to employees for health care and annual meeting expense.

    The Congregational Services group lost $496,617 or 18.7 percent of its budget. This is the group whose consultants interact  most with existing churches in areas such as marriage and family ministry, senior adults, music, church health, Sunday School, children’s ministry, etc.

    The Public Relations and Resource Development group was dropped, with most responsibilities and their money shifted to several groups — including $576,541 to Church Planting and Missions Development — but total funds for those functions were cut by $240,000.

    The five Baptist universities, by previous agreement approved in 2008 will be in their second year of direct funding decrease on their way to zero, lowering CP budget by $1.2 million.

    The 2010 budget eliminates BSC contributions that had come through Giving Plans B and C to the ministries of the Baptist World Alliance, the Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs, Associated Baptist Press and the Baptist Center for Ethics, four entities that accounted for 2.6 percent of the Giving Plans B and C budgets, or just under $100,000.

    Also funded through those plans and eliminated were scholarships to non-SBC, non-North Carolina theological schools, a sparsely utilized scholarship. The new remittance form will include a check box by which a church can designate two percent of its gift for theological education at Campbell and Gardner-Webb universities.

    The Biblical Recorder was cut $25,500 and the Baptist Foundation remained the same.
    Budgeted scholarship funds for North Carolina Baptist students going to North Carolina Baptist schools decreases $350,000, after a $200,000 increase in 2009. The decrease reflects demand. In its first full year, every qualified student who applied received a $1,500 scholarship.

    A staff cut and job combination found another $500,000.

    “We have made very deep cuts in program funds, in ministry funds…and it hurts,” Hardy said.

    He said “the good news” is that working with a cooperative staff the budget committee was able to find the cuts necessary.

    “The bad news is this is a bare bones budget,” Hardy said. “I want you to be realistic about that.

    "If we cut more we’re going to be getting into real heart rending situations. I commend our staff because we put most of the onus on them to come back with what is essential.”

    He said the “good thing about a recession” is that it gives organizations the opportunity and obligation to ask the right questions about priorities.

    The Convention staff has been operating on an internal budget based basically on 2008 income, rather than the 2009 budget which messengers approved in 2007. John Butler, executive leader for business services said that through September the Convention is $600,000 “in the black.”

    This will be the fifth year of the past seven when income has been lower than the previous year.
    Contribution to the ministers emergency reserve fund is $75,000 less, but Hardy and Butler assured the Board there is sufficient money in the fund for the projected need, based on past experience.

    “We wish we didn’t have to cut back in our ministries, but we do because of income,” said Milton A. Hollifield, executive director-treasurer. “When the economy turns around we hope we can regain some of these funds.”

    Allan Blume, board president, called the proposed budget “fabulous” because it is “honing in on priorities.”

    10/2/2009 8:10:00 AM by Norman Jameson, BR Editor | with 2 comments

Brent Hobbs
I'm glad to see the continued 0.5% increase going to the national level; even though some very tough decisions had to be made to accomplish this goal.

As long as the state convention continues to take these kinds of actions, I believe trust will continue to build with most of the churches.
10/2/2009 6:11:31 PM

Gene Scarborough
3 things of significance here:

1. Most individuals, businesses, retirees have experienced a 40% reduction in business / income. The budget shows progress in the current economy to be less than 40%.

2. The NCBSC has forced autonomous churches to submit to their Financial Policy and many have left with their funds, feeling they no longer have a place.

3. Churches of all stripes no longer trust larger entities like the Association and NCBSC and prefer to do their mission work under their own control. This is sad--the growth of denominationalism and its funding was previously based on trust. When such is lost, everyone suffers in the worst ways.
10/2/2009 3:10:16 PM

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