Budget adoption, officer elections on annual meeting agenda

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Messengers to the 2019 Baptist General Convention of Texas annual meeting Nov. 17-19 in Waco will consider a $35.1 million total Texas 2020 budget and elect officers for a year marked by transition in some key staff positions.

Duane Brooks

“Compelled to Serve” is the theme of Texas Baptists’ annual meeting, which also includes presentations by featured speakers Duane Brooks, pastor of Tallowood Baptist Church in Houston; Victor Rodriguez, director of Hispanic evangelism with the BGCT; BGCT President Michael Evans, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Mansfield; and Executive Director David Hardage.

The proposed budget recommended by the BGCT Executive Board at its Sept. 24 meeting represents a slight decrease from this year’s $35.9 million budget. It projects a $32.58 million net Texas budget—based on Cooperative Program giving and investment income—for 2020, compared to $33.25 million in 2019. It reflects a 5 percent reduction in support for institutional ministries.

The recommended budget depends on $27.5 million in Texas Cooperative Program receipts from churches, compared to $28.35 million in the 2019 budget. It projects slightly more than $5 million in investment income, compared to $4.9 million in the 2019 budget. It also includes more than $2.5 million in additional anticipated revenue from conference and booth fees, product sales, the Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board and other sources.

Messengers also will be asked to approve continued division of undesignated receipts from affiliated churches, with 79 percent allocated for the BGCT and 21 percent for worldwide causes. Each church determines the recipient or recipients of its worldwide giving.

At the recommendation of the BGCT Executive Board, messengers will consider a proposed $1.15 million for Texas worldwide missions partnerships and initiatives in 2020. They include missions mobilization, River Ministry/Mexico missions, Texas Partnerships, Baptist World Alliance, intercultural international initiatives, Go Now Missions, Hispanic Education Task Force and chaplaincy.

Officers nominated for re-election

The current BGCT officers will be nominated for re-election to a second one-year term. In addition to incumbent President Michael Evans, other officers are First Vice President Jason Burden, pastor of First Baptist Church in Nederland, and Second Vice President Jason Atchley, pastor of Bacon Heights Baptist Church in Lubbock.

Officer of the Baptist General Convention of Texas are (center) President Michael Evans, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Mansfield; (left) First Vice President Jason Burden, pastor of First Baptist Church in Nederland; and Second Vice President Jason Atchley, pastor of Bacon Heights Baptist Church in Lubbock. All three are being nominated for a second term. (BGCT PHOTO)

While other nominations will be accepted from the floor, none have been announced in advance.

Each of the current officers said he was willing to allow his nomination for a second term to provide continuity during a transitional time for Texas Baptists’ senior executive staff leadership.

Earlier this year, Jill Larsen resigned as BGCT treasurer and chief financial officer to accept a position as CFO at VisitDallas. Steve Vernon, associate executive director of the BGCT for 11 years, announced his plans to retire at the end of the year. The BGCT Executive Board elected Craig Christina, pastor of Shiloh Terrace Baptist Church in Dallas, as Vernon’s successor.

In other business, messengers to the annual meeting also will consider a revised relationship agreement between the BGCT and the Baptist Church Loan Corporation to allow some out-of-state representation on the corporation’s board.

Texas Baptists’ annual meeting also includes about two dozen workshops on topics including evangelism, discipleship, preaching, missions, foster care ministry and church revitalization.

Prior to the annual meeting, a Hispanic Rally will be held at Woodway First Baptist Church in Waco, and an African American Rally will be at Greater Ebenezer Baptist Church in Waco.

Several meals and receptions sponsored by Texas Baptists’ ministries and by partner institutions are scheduled in conjunction with the annual meeting.

Baylor University’s Truett Theological Seminary and its Kyle Lake Center for Effective Preaching has scheduled its inaugural National Preaching Conference at First Baptist Church in Waco, Nov. 19-21, immediately following Texas Baptists’ annual meeting.

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