Proposed BGCT budget shows 10 percent cut
By Ken Camp
Texas Baptist Communications
DALLAS–The Baptist General Convention of Texas Administrative Committee has approved a $45.8 million operating budget recommendation for 2004, a 10 percent decrease from the 2003 budget.
At its Sept. 4-5 meeting, the committee voted to recommend to the BGCT Executive Board a $45,800,960 total budget for next year. Of that amount, $39.77 million is dependent upon the Cooperative Program giving of Texas Baptist churches.
The remaining $6.03 million is projected to come from gifts to the Mary Hill Davis Offering for Texas missions, endowment income, allocated funds, fees and funding from LifeWay Christian Resources and the North American Mission Board.
The budget projects a 14 percent drop in Cooperative Program income from this year's giving goal of $46 million, but it is in line with projected income for this year, according to David Nabors, BGCT treasurer.
The Executive Board will consider the budget recommendation at its Sept. 30 meeting. Messengers to the November BGCT annual session in Lubbock will vote on the budget proposal approved by the board.
More than half the $39.77 million recommended Cooperative Program giving plan is budgeted for institutional ministries, including more than $15 million for 23 schools, hospitals, child- and family-care ministries, and homes for the aging. It also includes $3.8 million for collegiate ministries through Baptist Student Ministry programs on about 100 campuses and $3.4 million for theological education.
The proposed 2004 Cooperative Program budget also includes:
$4.6 million for the BGCT Church Missions & Evangelism Section, including about $1.26 million for new-church support through the Church Multiplication Center.
$3.66 million for the BGCT Church Health & Growth Section, with $1.24 million going to the Bible Study/Discipleship Center.
$1.54 million to the BGCT Associational Missions & Administration Section, which includes African-American ministries, Hispanic work, intercultural initiatives and ministries to bivocational ministers and small-membership churches.
$584,868 for the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission and $48,762 for the Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs.
Of more than $6 million reduced from the Cooperative Program budget for 2004, a little more than $1 million was eliminated through staff reductions. Other extensive cuts are proposed in ministry areas where staff remain.
Examples of ministry budget cuts include:
A church health and growth contingency fund that provided more than 5,000 staff consultations with churches in 2002 has been cut from a budget of $105,103 this year to zero next year.
Leadership development for bivocational and small-church pastors that was budgeted at $27,969 this year has been cut to $9,000 next year.
Budgeted funding for the Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas and related ministries is cut dramatically, from $384,344 this year to $190,299 next year.
A line item that budgeted $23,803 this year for intercultural projects will receive no funding next year.
Grants for small churches through the church facilities office are cut from $25,000 this year to nothing next year.
In other business, the Administrative Committee endorsed a recommended ongoing partnership between the BGCT and the National Baptist Convention of Mexico. Under a covenant agreement, the two conventions would work cooperatively from 2003 to 2006, particularly in the areas of prayer, evangelism, church starting, missions, social ministries and leadership training.
The Administrative Committee also authorized $20,000 from available contingency funds for operational support of the Baptist World Alliance, and it allocated $180,000 from unrestricted earnings to the Texas Baptist Laity Institute for 2004.
With additional reporting by Managing Editor Mark Wingfield.