Budget adopted after failed attempt to cut Recorder funds : Monday, Nov 17, 2003
November 17 2003 by Tony W. Cartledge

Budget adopted after failed attempt to cut Recorder funds : Monday, Nov 17, 2003
Monday, Nov 17, 2003

Budget adopted after failed attempt to cut Recorder funds

By Tony W. Cartledge
BR Editor

Messengers to the Baptist State Convention (BSC) adopted budget goals and expenditures for 2004 and 2005 by a wide margin on Nov. 12, after defeating an attempt to cut BSC funding to the Biblical Recorder by nearly half.

Budget committee chair Tom Crow recommended a 2004 budget goal of $35.18 million, which is 6.3 percent smaller than the 2003 goal. Income for 2003 is currently running 6.94 percent under budget for the first 10 months of the fiscal year.

The 2005 budget goal is fractionally larger, at $35.68 million. The committee recommended that the four giving plans remain in force, with no changes to Plan A, and minor modifications to Plans B, C, and D to include a 0.5 percent contribution to the Southern Baptist Annuity Board's "Adopt an Annuitant" program, designated for retired BSC pastors. Plans B and C were also tweaked slightly to raise the Baptist World Alliance's allotment to 0.5 percent.

Most of the discussion time was given to consideration of an amendment that would have reduced BSC funds to the Biblical Recorder by $200,000, almost half of the $417,000 amount in the recommended budget. That amount was already $23,000 less than the 2003 budget figure, as the Recorder shared in across-the-board reductions to the BSC's institutions and agencies. The Recorder recently reduced its budget by $53,000, from $960,000 in 2003 to $907,000 in 2004.

Tim Rogers, pastor of Victory Baptist Church in Seagrove, made the motion to amend, asking that $200,000 be taken from the Biblical Recorder and redistributed at the discretion of the General Board.

Rogers said the Recorder should be able to make up the difference by raising subscription rates and increasing advertising revenues. "If the Biblical Recorder is truly the paper of the people of North Carolina, I believe the people of North Carolina would not mind paying extra for a class paper distributed by the Biblical Recorder," he said.

Budget chair Tom Crow spoke against the motion, saying the budget committee was aware that the Recorder has already taken steps to reduce expenses because of declining income, and that making up a $200,000 budget reduction would probably require a drastic increase in subscription costs.

John Butler, pastor of First Baptist Church, Matthews, spoke against the amendment. "My church and many other North Carolina Baptists are saying 'Stop it!'" he said. "We're tired of constant bickering and battling. We don't need a change in the budget or the plans... What we need is a change of heart."

Butler said the motion should be defeated and messengers should stop trying to control the hard work of the committees and individuals who make up the General Board. "We need to get past bickering and repent of the selfishness that has caused this in years past," he said.

Joe Babb, a retired pastor and director of missions from First Baptist Church in Arden, also spoke against the amendment. Babb, a member of the Biblical Recorder's board of directors, said he knew how hard the Recorder's staff has worked to hold down costs while producing a quality paper that keeps Baptist informed. "I commend them," he said.

Cameron McGill, pastor of Dublin Baptist Church in Dublin, supported the amendment. McGill said he spoke as a pastor with a heart for evangelism. "We need not to divide, but to work together," he said. McGill said he believes the Recorder brings more of a spirit of division than of unity.

The proposed cut would not be a cut to an outreach tool, he said, since he could not see what "overwhelming evangelistic purpose" the Recorder provides to the convention.

Kenny Davis of Wise Baptist Church said "If you read the Biblical Recorder when it comes, ... the front page always ... is missions news." The Recorder helps N.C. Baptists understand what other N.C. Baptists are doing well. "That's what we need," he said.

When the question was called, messengers voted to defeat the amendment with about 70 percent of the votes, according BSC officials. The vote was taken by a show of ballots.

Anita Thompson of First Baptist, Ahoskie, pointed out a typographical error in the budget, which was corrected by common consent.

J. D. Greear of The Summit Church in Durham noted a 2005 budget increase for the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) in the "Convention Special" section of the budget. The budget calls for an increase from $3,000 in 2004 to $10,000 in 2005. Greear, who is an SBC representative to the BWA, asked if the increase was in response to the SBC's partial defunding of the organization.

Executive secretary Jim Royston responded that N.C. Baptists have long supported the BWA, but have not increased their financial support for some years. The additional funds were intended in part to assist the BWA in preparing for its centennial celebration in 2005, he said.

Tony Spencer, of First Baptist Church in Forest City, asked why the Strategic Initiatives and Plans (SIP) group was still in the budget, since it had reportedly been dissolved following staff cuts in August. Royston explained that the main work of SIP had not ceased, though it no longer functioned as an organizational unit on the General Board staff. Two staff members were cut and others were redistributed throughout the Baptist Building, but their work continued, he said.

Following a call for the question, the budget was adopted with only a few scattered votes in opposition.

11/17/2003 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge | with 0 comments

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