PHOENIX (BP)—Flanked by more than two-dozen Florida pastors, Tommy Green of the Florida Baptist Convention presented a $3,136,500 gift to the Southern Baptist Convention during the Executive Committee report in Phoenix.
Presentation of the gift, from the sale of the Florida convention’s former building, was part of a report that also included convention adoption of an Executive Committee recommendation to establish a process to sell the SBC Building in Nashville in the event of a significant offer.
The Florida convention’s gift to the Cooperative Program was 51 percent of $6.15 million received from the sale of the former Baptist Building in downtown Jacksonville, which was completed June 7.
The allocation is in keeping with the convention’s Cooperative Program budget that sends 51 percent to the Cooperative Program and retains 49 percent for Florida Baptist ministries.
Process put in place to sell downtown Nashville building
Messengers approved a process for the sale of the SBC Building in Nashville if a favorable offer is received. Acting on a recommendation by the Executive Committee, messengers authorized it “to continue studying the advisability of a sale of the SBC Building, and to sell the property upon such terms and conditions, and at such a time, if any, as the Executive Committee may hereafter approve.”
Should a sale occur, various costs such as the current feasibility study would be deducted from the proceeds, which would then be distributed according to agreed-upon percentages based on those in place when the building opened in the mid-1980s:
- The Executive Committee would receive a 56 percent share, including the original interests of the former Education Commission and Stewardship Commission, which were closed as part of the 1990s Covenant for a New Century SBC reorganization.
- The Council of Seminary Presidents would have a 26 percent share, encompassing the original interests of the former Historical Commission, which also was closed in the SBC reorganization, and Seminary Extension. The seminary presidents’ council now operates the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives.
- The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission would receive a 14 percent share, reflecting the original interest of the former Christian Life Commission.
- The Southern Baptist Foundation would have a 4 percent share.
Cooperative Program budget approved
Messengers approved a 2017-18 Cooperative Program allocation budget of $192 million.
The budget maintains current allocations to the convention’s ministries, including 50.41 percent of receipts to the International Mission Board and 22.79 percent to the North American Mission Board, for a total of 73.20 percent allocated for world missions ministries.
The convention’s six seminaries will receive 22.16 percent. The seminary enrollment formula for funding will be: Gateway Seminary, 2.11 percent; Midwestern Seminary, 2.93 percent; New Orleans Seminary, 3.72 percent; Southeastern Seminary, 4.03 percent; Southern Seminary, 5.17 percent; Southwestern Seminary, 3.96 percent; and .24 percent to the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives, a ministry overseen by the seminary presidents.
The budget designates 1.65 percent to the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. The SBC operating budget, the only Cooperative Program-funded facilitating ministry, encompassing SBC annual meeting costs and the work of the Executive Committee, will receive 2.99 percent of the budget.
Additionally, messengers amended the formula for distributing any overage of gifts above the Cooperative Program allocation budget to increase the IMB’s portion from 51 percent to 53.4 percent and decrease the SBC Operating Budget portion from 2.4 percent to 0 percent.
Messengers also approved an SBC operating budget of $7.45 million for the 2017-18 fiscal year.
Resolution of appreciation for registration secretary
At the Executive Committee’s recommendation, messengers also approved a resolution of appreciation for Jim Wells, the SBC’s outgoing registration secretary for 15 years, who is battling cancer.
Wells most recently had been the Missouri Baptist Convention’s strategic partners catalyst after serving as director of missions for the Tri-County Baptist Association and pastor of nine churches in nearly 50 years of ministry.
Frank Page, president of the SBC Executive Committee, recognized the work of the Women’s Advisory Council, which he appointed two years ago to address his conviction that women were under-involved in SBC processes. Women make up 52 percent to 53 percent of the Southern Baptist population, he said.
“God gifts women according to his biblical roles, but those gifts that he has given them must be utilized in his kingdom,” Page said. “We know women can minister so beautifully to each other, and we wanted to find a way to find out what were the best practices and just encourage women in their involvement of ministry to each other and in the kingdom of God.”
The Women’s Advisory Council, chaired by Rhonda Kelley of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, presented its report to Page June 12 at the Many Faces of the SBC booth in the convention’s exhibit hall.
The report, which includes the council’s findings, suggestions and action steps, will be posted online at sbc.net for all Southern Baptists to read and “to hold us accountable for the implementation of these suggestions,” Page said.
Messengers approved additional recommendations from the Executive Committee to:
- Provide representation to four states or territories on the Executive Committee, although they do not have the number of church members stipulated by SBC bylaws. The recommendation amended a bylaw to list the Dakotas, Iowa, Minnesota-Wisconsin and Montana as each being entitled to a single representative on the Executive Committee. All other states and defined territories have Executive Committee representation.
- Select three cities for upcoming SBC annual meetings—Salt Lake City in 2025, the site of the SBC’s 1998 meeting; Orlando, Fla., site of the 1994 and 2000 annual meetings; and Indianapolis, site of the 1992, 2004 and 2008 annual meetings.
- Streamline a section of the SBC business and financial plan concerning publishing and merchandising to read in part: “All entities of the Convention should give priority to using the services of LifeWay Christian Resources for editing, publishing, and distributing published materials that are to be sold. Entities may publish their own materials in print or digital form promoting their assigned ministries.”
- Authorize the International Mission Board to move to an Oct. 1-Sept. 30 fiscal year, responding to an IMB trustee request that would enable the mission board “to conduct their finances more efficiently and more effectively evaluate and project the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.” The Executive Committee, LifeWay Christian Resources and North American Mission Board use an Oct. 1-Sept. 30 fiscal year, while GuideStone Financial Resources utilizes the calendar year and the six SBC seminaries utilize an Aug. 1-July 31 fiscal year.