By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
BRENTWOOD — The Executive Board of the Tennessee Baptist Convention adopted two recommendations during its Sept. 14 meeting at Brentwood Baptist Church in Brentwood.
Board members approved a budget of $35 million for 2016-17. The proposed budget, which must be approved by messengers to the annual meeting during the Summit in November, represents an increase of $750,000 over the current budget.
The new budget calls for a distribution of 54.48 percent to Tennessee Baptist causes with 45.52 percent being forwarded to the Southern Baptist Convention for SBC missions and ministries, an increase of 1.62 percent. During the current budget year (which ends Oct. 31), 43.9 percent has been sent to the SBC with 56.1 percent utilized for missions and ministries in Tennessee.
The budget recommendation also included the adoption of a Tennessee Missions and Ministries budget of $16,874,219 and a Convention Operations budget of $2,247,550. In addition, 2 percent of the $35 million will be used for Cooperative Program administration and promotion.
Steve Marcum, chair of the budget and finance team, noted the budget moves the TBC closer to its goal of a 50-50 distribution of funds with the SBC by the 2018-19 budget year.
TBC Executive Director Randy C. Davis affirmed Tennessee Baptist entity leaders for their spirit and cooperation shown during a recent meeting to discuss allocations for the next three years. “There was a spirit of revival,” he noted. They were more concerned about how they could help each other than what each entity was “giving up,” Davis added.
Board members also adopted City Reach, a six-year partnership effort with the five metro associations in Tennessee to reach the five largest cities in the state — Knox County Baptist Association (Knoxville), Nashville Baptist Association (Nashville), Mid-South Baptist Association (Memphis), Hamilton County Baptist Association (Chattanooga), and Cumberland Baptist Association (Clarksville). See separate story on page 3.
Pending adoption from Tennessee Baptist messengers at Summit in November, City Reach will officially launch in Knoxville on Jan. 1, 2017. It will continue each year until all five cities are reached. It will conclude Dec. 31, 2021.
Davis said that after he became executive director of the TBC six years ago he “became shockingly aware of the lostness of Tennessee.
“I can only begin to imagine what will happen if the churches and associations in our state capture a heart for the missions fields that are in our metro cities,” he said.
Davis observed that unless things change during the next decade in Tennessee, the Volunteer State will look like present day New England. “We need to work together to reach our state. This initiative will help us do that,” he said.
In its only other action, Executive Board members elected by acclamation Cal Hampton, pastor of Green River Baptist Church, Waynesboro, as chair-elect. Current chair-elect Michael Sams, pastor of First Baptist Church, Martin, will become chair of the Executive Board in November following Summit, succeeding current chair Steve Freeman, pastor of Grace Baptist Church, Springfield. Hampton was nominated by Mike Kemper, who recently retired as director of missions for Lawrence County Association of Baptists.
Board members heard challenges from Davis, Freeman, and TBC President Roc Collins, pastor of Indian Springs Baptist Church, Kingsport. They also heard progress reports on each of the Five Objectives, long-range goals for the convention.
The Five Objectives are:
(1) Seeing at least 50,000 Tennesseans annually saved, baptized, and set on the road to discipleship by 2024;
(2) Having at least 500 Tennessee Baptist churches revitalized by 2024;
(3) Planting and strategically engaging at least 1,000 new churches by 2024;
(4) Realizing an increase in local church giving through the Cooperative Program that reaches at least 10 percent by 2024; and
(5) Realizing an increase in annual giving for the Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions that reaches at least $3 million by 2024.
The Executive Board also heard reports from its standing committees and four of its ministry partners — Tennessee Baptist Foundation, Harrison-Chilhowee Baptist Academy, Union University, and Carson-Newman University.