General Board adopts Plan C study, hears reports
May 30 2003 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

General Board adopts Plan C study, hears reports | Friday, May 30, 2003

Friday, May 30, 2003

General Board adopts Plan C study, hears reports

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

North Carolina Baptists continue to face budget woes that might not improve in the near future, executive director-treasurer Jim Royston told the Baptist State Convention's (BSC) General Board during a meeting on May 20-21.

Royston reported that through May 9, BSC income was $413,665, or 3.18 percent, below budget for the year and $646,411, or 4.89 percent, behind giving at the same time last year.

An updated report provided to the Recorder by BSC Comptroller Robert Simons showed giving at just over $13.5 million through May 23, nearly $938,000, or 6.5 percent, below budget needs of $14.44 million. Compared to last year, giving was down in Plans A (4.96 percent), B (10.37 percent) and C (5.45 percent), but up in Plan D (5.28 percent).

Royston said giving from the churches tends to run in patterns, with stronger offerings the first Sunday of the month and slower offerings after, "and in the summer months it tends to be a lot slower."

Royston said convention officials "are doing all we can" to hold the line on expenses. Actions include asking staff members to plan for lower expenditures and not replacing some departing staff. Deeper and more painful cuts are possible if the outlook does not improve, he said. For the first time in recent memory, the proposed budget submitted by convention staff to the budget committee is smaller than in the previous year, he said.

In an earlier meeting, Royston told a gathering of agency leaders and budget committee members that he believes four issues are contributing to the downturn.

The economic doldrums facing the nation continue to be the major reason for declining revenue, Royston said, as both individuals and churches struggle with their own finances.

Cultural shifts in religious giving are also a factor, he said, noting a recent Barna report showing that tithing as a discipline has decreased significantly.

Royston said convention politics have also impacted giving: "There has been a lot of 'wait and see-ness' about the Plan C report," he said.

Finally, Royston suggested that cooperative missions giving is no longer a given. "People are more prone to support things they want to, when they want to, the way they want to," he said.

In a budget-related report, Charles Page presented the findings of the Plan C Study Committee, which he chaired. The committee concluded that Plan C does not violate the constitution, he said (see related story, p. 7), and the General Board voted to adopt the report.

In other business, the board honored Robert Stewart, the Bible Study team leader and a tireless promoter of Sunday School, who is retiring after 25 years of service to the BSC.

Don Bouldin, executive team leader for congregational services, said that with Stewart's departure, the Bible Study team will be combined with the Church Administration team, which is led by Phil Stone.

Bill Yates, vice president for pastoral care at Baptist Hospital, introduced Steve Scoggin as the new director of CareNet, a network of counseling centers. Scoggin, who previously led the Greenville office of CareNet, became known to many N.C. Baptists in the late 1990's, when he was asked to facilitate a series of conversations between conservative and moderate representatives.

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5/30/2003 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments
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