DULUTH — The Georgia Baptist Convention Executive Committee meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 15 was both positive and productive. In addition to affirming the name change and the reinvention of the GBC, the Committee also approved the 2016 budget.
Executive Director Robert White announced that Cooperative Program receipts through August 2015 totaled $25,339,852.19 representing a 2.49% increase over CP receipts for the same period last year.
2016 budget proposed
Darey Kittle, pastor of Salem Baptist Church in Dalton and chairman of the EC Cooperative Program Budget Committee, presented a budget of $40,600,000, a modest $200,000 increase over the current year’s budget.
Kittle explained, “The proposed budget increase was based in part on a projected income of $41,263,549 for 2015. The chairman indicated that the recommended budget would allocate 42% of Cooperative Program receipts to the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention for distribution to the two mission boards, six seminaries, and the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.
White explained, “Our previous budget had a line item of $1.6 million for the debt on our building, but now that the debt has been paid we decided to forward more than half that amount ($892,000) to Nashville for distribution to SBC agencies. In other words $483,593 will go to the International Mission Board, $203,287.00 will go to the North American Mission Board, $197,667.00 will go to our seminaries, and $14,718.00 to the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.”
White continued, “Rarely has a state convention been able to increase their gifts to the national convention by as much as two percent in one year, but if this budget is approved by the messengers at the annual session in November we will be able to do just that.”
Considering all receipts that come into the Georgia Baptist offices, White reported that 54% is sent on to Southern Baptist Convention causes.
Backpacks result in multiple salvations
State missionary Frank Nuckolls made an appeal for members of the Executive Committee to help spread the news about the need for backpacks for Appalachian children at Christmas. Nuckolls declared, “Over the last three years, Georgia Baptists have provided over 49,000 backpacks for children in one of the most depressed areas of America.
“Most importantly, as these backpacks were delivered, the Gospel was shared and over the past three years 1,891 people prayed to receive Christ as Lord and Savior. Georgia Baptists provided 23,211 backpacks last year resulting in 701 professions of faith.
“Our goal this year is 25,000 backpacks. Churches and associations are already responding to this great effort. As of today 24,387 backpacks have already been committed.” Nuckolls assured EC members that the need was greater than the goal and that additional participation was welcome.
ERLC’S Moore’s statement called into question
The Executive Committee heard concerns expressed about comments Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission President Russell Moore made at a National Conference on “The Gospel, Homosexuality, and the Future of Marriage.”
In a question and answer session Moore was asked, “If someone is invited to a wedding for a same-sex couple should he/she go to the wedding and reception?”
Moore responded, “Okay, this is not ‘thus saith the Lord’, but ‘thus thinketh Moore.’ I think a wedding ceremony is a gathering of witnesses who by their very presence are saying, ‘We are here to support this couple and walk with this couple forward and hold them accountable.’ Moore continued, “In that case I would not attend the wedding. I would attend the reception. That is a different thing. I think it is more than fine to say, ‘you are my friend. I love you. I disagree with this, but I love you and I am here with you.’ I would go to the shower, but I would not go the wedding itself, because I think that is involving you in the vows.”
White responded to Moore’s comments by saying, “A reception is a celebration of the wedding. There is no way under the sun you will ever find me at such a reception.
“In fact, we need to stand up strongly in support of Biblical marriage. The union of two people of the same sex is not a marriage. God defined Biblical marriage as one man and one woman for a lifetime. There is only one way you can be married. We must not divert from what is right and ordained by God.”