Georgia Baptists will budget an additional $400,000 for missions and evangelism efforts in 2017 to reach the state’s unchurched with the gospel.
The proposed $41,000,000 Cooperative Program budget will be presented to messengers at the Nov. 14-15 annual meeting in Savannah. Calvary Baptist Temple will host this year’s 195th session.
The budget discussion was the leading agenda item at the Sept. 13 Executive Committee meeting at the Baptist Missions and Ministry Center.
Of that total, 42% – $17,220,000 – will be forwarded to Southern Baptist Convention ministries. Another 11.74% – $4,812,500 – will be allotted to Georgia Baptist Mission Extension Ministries such as colleges and universities, the Ministerial Education Fund, the Education Commission, Baptist Village, Baptist Retirement Communities of Georgia, and the Georgia Baptist Foundation.
The balance of 46.26% – $18,967,500 – will fund Georgia Baptist Mission Board ministries beginning in Georgia and extending around the world. The Board is expecting to receive additional non-Cooperative Program income of $2,983,745 from the Mission Georgia Offering of $1,450,000; Cooperative Agreements of $522,000; and Investment/Registration/and other Income of $1,011,745.
Georgia Baptist Mission Board Executive Director J. Robert White thanked churches, associations, and laity statewide for promoting and sacrificially supporting the state missions offering.
He noted that 34% of the proposed budget is invested in the future “by providing ministry to children, youth, and college age students.” He called the earmarked funds among the best investments that Georgia Baptists could make in the future.
Nearly 54% forwarded to national SBC ministries
White also said that nearly 54% of budget receipts are sent off to other ministries before any funds are spent by the Georgia Baptist Mission Board.
The budget also provided a 2% raise for the agency’s 147 employees – the second consecutive year for a salary increase after six years of no raises due to the recession.
Georgia Baptist Convention President Thomas Hammond noted that he is overseeing the launch of a pastor-to-pastor prayer network to build unity and familiarity among the senior pastoral staff.
“This is all about pastors praying for pastors. Starting in January, if you want to be involved, you will receive a text each month with the name, address, and church name of a pastor whom you will be praying for that month.
“I encourage to give him a call, send a text, learn about each of your joys and sorrows. Share personal information like your family or hobbies. Put a face on that name and develop a bond to be co-laborers together in building the Kingdom.
“I know, being raised as a son of a pastor, how lonely it can be when everyone calls you with problems but you have no one to call with your problems. Pastors have a difficult time ministering to others without having anyone ministering to them.
“This is something simple, something easy. Technology allows us to do it, so why not do it?” he asked.
Hammond to oversee initiative to invite 1-million to Easter services
He also announced an initiative for Georgia Baptists to invite one million people to church next Easter.
“I would like to have all of our churches participate but if only 2,500 of our 3,593 churches invited 400 people each – some more, some less depending on their location – we would have the million invitations.”
Hammond noted that studies from Lifeway Christian Resources showed that 83% of Americans said they would be “somewhat likely” to visit a church if someone invited them. But the other side is that only 2% of believers ever invite someone to their church, he added.
An eight-week preparation time for churches to gear up for the event will precede the emphasis as churches will need to be ready for a larger attendance.
“If you invite them, they will come,” he stated.
Four resolutions approved
In other business Executive Committee members approved resolutions regarding:
- The appointment of a study task force to review the current budget allocation being provided to the Convention’s education institutions and to make recommendations regarding the Convention’s future allocations and other matters related to the Convention’s relationship with the institutions;
- The location of the March 2017 meeting of the Executive Committee in locations others than the Missions and Ministry Center, in keeping with the reinvention of the Mission Board. The recommendation suggested a location in a church in central or south Georgia, depending on availability of lodging, meeting space, and food service.
- Changing the wording of Truett-McConnell College to Truett-McConnell University in the Articles of Incorporation.
- Changes to its Church Affiliation/Disaffiliation Policy. The will allow the state executive director to approve a church remaining a Georgia Baptist church while seeking at-large affiliation with the Georgia Baptist Mission Board.
During the meeting several Georgia Baptist ministries gave reports or overviews of upcoming events. Read those reports here.