Brunswick limits funds for new work with CBF ties
October 31 2002 by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor

Brunswick limits funds for new work with CBF ties | Friday, Nov 1, 2002

Friday, Nov 1, 2002

Brunswick limits funds for new work with CBF ties

By Steve DeVane BR Managing Editor

A N.C. Baptist association has voted to limit funding for a planned church if it affiliates with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF).

The move by Brunswick Baptist Association marks the third time this year that a N.C. Baptist association has made it more difficult for a new CBF church to get off the ground.

The motion by the Brunswick Association limits funding for a church being formed in the northern part of Brunswick County to 10 percent of more than $75,000 set aside for the project unless the church affiliates with only the association, the Baptist State Convention (BSC), and the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). The motion specifically says that the church cannot get more than 10 percent of the money if it affiliates with CBF or Mainstream Baptists.

The motion also said only 10 percent of the money can be used until a demographic study of the area is completed. After the study is done, an associational committee "will gain a consensus of the Brunswick Baptist Association pastors as to the direction of said project," according to the motion.

The motion passed 48-36 by a show of hands at the association's annual meeting Oct. 25, said Sam Murphy, the association director of missions.

Brunswick Islands Baptist Church in Supply, Southport Baptist Church in Southport and two churches in Wilmington, First Baptist Church and Winter Park Baptist Church, have been working on plans for the new church for about a year.

Brunswick Islands Baptist Church openly supports CBF, said David Stratton, its pastor. Southport Baptist Church allows its members to designate funding for CBF, said Wayne Adkisson, pastor of the church. The two Wilmington churches also support CBF.

Adkisson, who moderated the associational meeting as vice moderator and was later elected moderator, said the new church could miss out on about $140,000 in funding from the association and the BSC because of the decision. BSC officials have indicated that the association must support the new church in order to receive BSC funding, he said.

A cooperative agreement between the association and the BSC is required to receive BSC money, Stratton said.

"My guess is we'd be ineligible for state funding," he said. "There's some folks in this association that aren't comfortable working with CBF."

Murphy said it's too early to say if the new church will get BSC funding.

Murphy said some in the association might interpret part of the motion as implying that the pastors must sign off on the direction of the new church. Instead, he sees the motion as calling for ongoing reports to the pastors, which he said was already happening.

Murphy said the key word is "consensus."

"I see the word 'consensus' as basically an agreement - feedback from the pastors - not an official vote," he said.

Stratton said the motion seems to give the pastors control over the direction of the new church.

"I've never heard of pastors getting to be a decision-making body like that in an association," he said.

Adkisson said the motion doesn't seem to uphold the value of lay people.

"It's not really clear, but it's implied to me if the pastors say, 'Go ahead,' then they can go ahead, but if they say, 'No,' it's dead in the water," he said.

Anthony Clemmons, pastor of Mount Olive Baptist Church in Bolivia, made the motion. He said Murphy's interpretation seemed closer to the discussion at the meeting but referred further questions to Murphy.

Adkisson said the motion places greater restrictions on the new church than those on existing churches.

"We thought it was rather sad that existing churches would not be able to start a church somewhat as a template of the partnering churches," he said.

Adkisson said supporters of the new church had indicated that the church would likely be dually aligned with CBF and the BSC.

"We wanted to build a church built on traditional Baptist heritage and beliefs," he said. "All they heard was CBF."

Adkisson said new work supporters had been told they will receive funding from the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina but haven't been told how much.

Stratton and Adkisson said it's too early to say if their churches will continue to support the new work. Adkisson said it's possible that the church would be started without support from the association.

Representatives from the four sponsoring churches plan to meet Nov. 7 to discuss the issue, Adkisson said.

Jim Everette, associate pastor at Wilmington First Baptist Church, said the group will explore its options.

"I think there's a big need for a new church in the northern part of Brunswick County," he said. "My hope is we would be able to get the church started with or without the blessing of a majority of the Brunswick Baptist Association."

The new church would be located about five miles from Wilmington, just across the Cape Fear River in Brunswick County.

Wilmington First Baptist Church and Winter Park Baptist Church are both part of the Wilmington Baptist Association. BSC funding through the Wilmington Baptist Association appears unlikely since the BSC has given local associations heavy influence over BSC funding for churches in their areas.

Earlier this year, the Carolina Baptist Association in effect vetoed BSC funding for a CBF church in Hendersonville that became a member of the United Baptist Association.

In another vote, the Buncombe Baptist Association adopted a report at its October meeting that lessens the chances of association support for a CBF church.

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10/31/2002 11:00:00 PM by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor | with 0 comments
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