Officers re-elected; new church funding policy adopted
February 1 2002 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

Officers re-elected; new church funding policy adopted | Friday, Feb. 1, 2002

Friday, Feb. 1, 2002

Officers re-elected; new church funding policy adopted

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

ASHEBORO - Dixon Free and David Horton return to the top two posts of the Baptist State Convention's (BSC) General Board after action taken by the board during its Jan. 29-30 meeting.

Free, pastor of First Baptist, Lincolnton, returns as president. Horton, pastor of Gate City Baptist in Jamestown, is vice president.

General Board members also filled out the 2002 Executive Committee with several new committee chairs and four at-large members (see Page 4). The General Board acts for the BSC between annual sessions, and the Executive Committee acts for the General Board on employment and other issues.

New church funding

The BSC will keep its guidelines for funding new churches primarily through the association where they are located, but will allow for some exceptions, the BSC's Executive Committee decided.

The Executive Committee accepted a report from the New Church Starts Study Committee, which was formed to deal with the issue of convention assistance for new churches that do not fit the traditional guidelines.

Committee chair Leland Kerr said the committee had recommended "that the present policy be affirmed as the norm for funding new church starts, and when exceptions arise the General Board staff be allowed to deal with them on a case by case basis." The Executive Committee approved the report and asked the committee to develop more specific guidelines for dealing with exceptions.

When asked about the current status of the Providence Baptist congregation in Hendersonville that initially sparked the study, Royston said the process for dealing with exceptions was still being developed after consultation with directors of missions across the state, so no action had been taken.

The Providence church, which plans no affiliation with the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), had made initial overtures to the Carolina Association, but learned that membership was limited to SBC churches. The church was later admitted to the United Association.

Executive director-treasurer's report

Executive Director-treasurer Jim Royston reviewed the five-year goals he set for the BSC in 2001. The BSC has shown some growth during the past 20 years, he said, but has lost ground in both membership and stewardship. North Carolina's population increased from 5.8 million to 8 million between 1980 and 2000, he said, but the BSC grew less than one percent (1.17 million to 1.18 million), becoming less of a presence in the state.

Cooperative giving receipts to the BSC increased more than 200 percent from $16 million to $34 million during the same period, Royston said, while BSC churches' receipts grew from $200 million to $704 million. That is an increase of more than 350 percent which resulted in the percentage of cooperative giving to the BSC falling from 8 percent in 1980 to less than 5 percent in 2001.

"But God still wants to use N.C. Baptists to make a difference in winning others to Christ," Royston said. He highlighted convention goals and efforts to begin new churches and to assist in revitalizing existing congregations.

Pursuing Vital Ministries

Don Bouldin, executive team leader for the Congregational Services Team, previewed "Pursuing Vital Ministries," a new coaching process now gearing up with a goal of assisting up to 120 churches per year in revitalizing their congregations.

"There used to be a day when somebody could bring a program for a church to follow," Bouldin said, "but that is long gone. We live in a post-modern world. Churches are different, and the same program won't work in different places.

"We are changing our concept from program to process, from consultant to coach," he said. "Coaches are being trained to work with individual churches, seeking to understand that church's specific needs, and how to help them confront their needs." It will be a "paraclete" experience, Bouldin added, "with the coach walking beside and helping the church to become all that it needs to be."

Special recognition

N.C. Baptist Men received a special recognition from Rear Admiral Casey Coane, reserve deputy for space, information and warfare, command and control at the Pentagon. Coane expressed thanks to N.C. Baptists for their disaster relief efforts at the Pentagon after the Sept. 11 attacks. He presented a plaque signed by the Secretary of the Navy and the Chief of Naval Operations, and another with an engraved picture of "The Lone Sailor" Navy memorial in Washington, D.C.

Coane said the plaques were "a tribute to the common bonds forged in the first battle of the war against terrorism.

"What you did for us was remarkable," he said. "Thousands of meals were served in that three week period. You fed not just mouths, but souls. You truly became your brother's keeper once again. We thank you deeply for that."

Hispanic task force

John Jones brought a report and recommendations from the Hispanic Task Force, which he chaired during the past year. The General Board had commissioned the task force to study the needs of Hispanic churches, especially with regard to educational needs.

Jones said the Hispanic population of North Carolina is growing rapidly and could exceed two million in the next 10 years. Educated leadership for the churches, however, is severely lacking.

The committee asked the General Board to affirm a purpose statement calling for the BSC to help "provide education for calling out, preparing, placing and supporting leaders for starting and developing cooperative Baptist congregations among North Carolina Hispanics."

Hispanic pastor Hugo Gallegos, pastor of Hispanic Baptist Church of Sanford, gave a personal testimony of how he came to North Carolina to work in the tobacco fields, and met Christ through the ministry of a Hispanic church in Pittsboro. He introduced a second recommendation calling for the formation of a Hispanic Congregation Leadership Team, with 70 percent of the leadership to be Hispanic.

The task force also recommended the hiring of a new General Board staff person to work specifically in the area of Hispanic theological education, and some realignment of current staff to integrate efforts and facilitate implementation of the stated goals.

The General Board approved the task force's report, with its recommendations.

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2/1/2002 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments
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