ASSOCIATION PROVIDES TAX FILING SERVICE

By Connie Davis Bushey
News Editor, Baptist and Reflector

tax-form-1040-calculatorCLEVELAND — For the seventh year about 10 volunteers of the CrossNet Baptist Network (formerly Bradley Baptist Association) will help about 200 citizens here file their annual income tax with the Internal Revenue Service.

The service — the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance — is free which saves the people coming to use the service the filing fee charged by a company to file taxes. It is offered out of the CrossNet Network office in Cleveland.

While there, the Baptist volunteers also help the tax filers spiritually. [Read more…]

Facebooktwittermail

HELP CAN HURT

By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Lonnie Wilkey

Lonnie Wilkey

I recently came across an article on the International Mission Board website (www.imb.org) by former president Jerry Rankin. The title immediately caught my attention: “Help that Hurts: Considering the Long-Term Cost of Missions Subsidy.”

Rankin observed: “We have made many mistakes over the years of missions work around the world. One of the errors has been trying to accelerate growth by an infusion of financial aid to build churches and support pastors. The result almost invariably was a welfare mentality among the recipients of the support.”

Jerry Rankin understands missions. In addition to serving as president of the IMB for 17 years, he and his wife were missionaries for 23 years prior to that. [Read more…]

Facebooktwittermail

YEAR-END GIVING TIPS

By Chris Kelly
Exec. VP/General Counsel, Tennessee Baptist Foundation

Chris Kelly

Chris Kelly

’Tis the season — the season for celebrating our Savior, gathering with friends and family, looking for that perfect gift, and taking last-minute advantage of the charitable giving opportunities to Baptist causes within this calendar year. While I’ll admit that it is surprising that no one has ever written a Christmas song about charitable giving, it is important to consider whether you may lose some significant giving opportunities if you haven’t taken action by New Year’s Eve. These are just a few ideas to consider implementing before the big ball drops:  [Read more…]

Facebooktwittermail

JUDGE’S BLOCK OF OVERTIME RULE RECEIVES PRAISE

By Tom Strode
Baptist Press

punch-clock-handWASHINGTON (BP) — A federal judge has blocked a looming Department of Labor overtime rule considered burdensome by Southern Baptist and other nonprofit entities.

Amos Mazzant, a judge in the Eastern District of Texas, issued a nationwide temporary injunction Tuesday (Nov. 22) to prevent enforcement of a DOL regulation that would have increased the number of workers eligible for time-and-a-half overtime pay by more than 4 million. The rule was scheduled to go into effect Dec. 1.

The regulation would double the salary threshold for overtime eligibility to $913 a week or $47,476 a year, meaning 4.2 million more workers would qualify to receive extra pay beyond 40 hours weekly. As a result, employers would have to pay the overtime, increase salaries to reach the new threshold or restrict employees to 40 hours a week. [Read more…]

Facebooktwittermail

FIRST BAPTIST, NEWBERN, REACHES MILESTONE

By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Burning the note at FBC, Newbern, are, from left, Jeff Thomas, Bill Adcock, and Tom Foster.

Burning the note at FBC, Newbern, are, from left, Jeff Thomas, Bill Adcock, and Tom Foster.

NEWBERN – First Baptist Church here reached a milestone on April 3 as the congregation celebrated becoming debt free.

The church held a note-burning service on its new sanctuary. The church borrowed $1 million in 2011 to go along with the $1,032,923 in cash the church had raised before breaking ground for its new $2.3 million facility. The church moved into the new building on Aug. 5, 2012.

Pastor Danny Klutts chose the title “Milestones” based on Matthew 17:1-9 for his message on April 3. [Read more…]

Facebooktwittermail

WE MUST CHOOSE CHILDREN OVER MONEY

Editor’s Note: Tennessee Rep. Susan Lynn of Mount Juliet announced April 18 that she is delaying action on the “bathroom bill” this year in an effort to further study the issue. She told The Tennessean, “I am still absolutely 100 percent in support of maintaining the privacy of all students. But I’m going to roll the bill over until net year so we can work on those issues.”

 

By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Lonnie-Wilkey

Lonnie Wilkey

The Bible (and especially Jesus) has a lot to say about children.

In Matthew 18:1-5 (NIV) Jesus said that “unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.”

Mark 10:13-16 (NIV) recounts how the disciples tried to stop people from bringing their children to Jesus so He could place His hands upon them. Jesus made it very clear to His disciples that they were to allow the children to come to Him. “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” [Read more…]

Facebooktwittermail

CHURCHES CONTINUE TO FACE BUDGET SHORTFALLS

By Bob Smietana
LifeWay Research

160321lifewayNASHVILLE, Tenn. — When it comes to finances, the new normal for American churches seems to be “just getting by.”

A third of Protestant senior pastors say their church’s giving was under budget in 2015, according to LifeWay Research.

One in five saw their finances decline.

Overall, about half of pastors say the economy negatively affected their churches this year.

Scott McConnell, associate director of LifeWay Research, says pastors are still uneasy about their church’s finances.

“Wages grew in 2015, and inflation and unemployment remained low,” said McConnell. “Yet the financial picture for many churches did not improve.” [Read more…]

Facebooktwittermail

HELP SOUGHT TO COMPLETE COMPENSATION STUDY

GuideStone News Office

160201Compensation-SurveyDALLAS — GuideStone Financial Resources, along with LifeWay Research and Baptist state conventions, including the Tennessee Baptist Convention, has opened the biennial SBC Church Compensation Survey in 2016.

Ministers and church employees are invited to participate in the survey, a resource used by churches of all sizes to determine fair wages and benefits. Survey participants will have the opportunity to enter for a chance to win an iPad®. The survey and complete contest rules are available at GuideStone.org/CompensationSurvey.

The survey’s results will be made available in the early fall, in time for many churches considering their 2017 budgets. The survey is the largest free church compensation study conducted in the United States. The most recent survey results, conducted in 2014, have been visited almost 55,000 times.

“GuideStone works tirelessly to be an advocate for pastors and church staff, ensuring that they are compensated fairly,” said O.S. Hawkins, president of GuideStone Financial Resources.

“The surveys can help churches benchmark their own salary and benefits packages against churches of like size within Southern Baptist life,” he added.

Gary Rickman, ministry coordinator for the TBC, observed that the study can be invaluable for churches as they consider compensation packages for pastors and other staff members.

For the survey to be most effective, however, churches of all sizes need to complete the survey, he urged.

“If churches will spend just a little time to complete this survey, they will have a valuable resource to use when it comes time to determine their own compensation packages,” Rickman said.

Contact GuideStone Financial Resources with any questions or issues. Call toll-free at 1-888-984-8433 Monday–Friday between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. CST to speak with a customer relations specialist.

Facebooktwittermail

IMB: MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS

By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Lonnie Wilkey

Lonnie Wilkey

Earlier this year when the Southern Baptist International Mission Board announced that it needed to eliminate 600-800 positions, Southern Baptists were saddened and shocked.

IMB leaders have allowed the idea to propagate among Southern Baptists that there is a financial shortfall. The cutbacks did not occur because Southern Baptists didn’t give. Cooperative Program giving on the national level has increased in small increments over the past few years and the IMB gets the largest percentage of that offering. Just three years ago (2013), Southern Baptists gave more than $154 million to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, a record amount. Gifts topped $153 million the following year. In addition, the TBC began moving in 2011 toward a 50-50 distribution of wealth for Cooperative Program funds. This is resulting in hundreds of thousands of more dollars being funneled out of Tennessee and through the SBC for Great Commission causes. When the cutbacks were announced IMB leaders acknowledged that they had overspent millions of dollars over the past few years. Throwing more money at something won’t help it until the main problem of managing its money is corrected. [Read more…]

Facebooktwittermail

FOCUS ON LONG-TERM MARKET GOALS

By Roy Hayhurst
GuideStone Financial Resources News Office

Photo -Richard Drew/AP, Creative Commons

Photo -Richard Drew/AP, Creative Commons

DALLAS — After a volatile start to the first week of trading in the 2016 calendar year, some investors are understandably concerned about their portfolios, but long-term investors should continue to consider their objectives and time horizons.

David S. Spika, global investment strategist at GuideStone Capital Management, LLC, offered perspective on the cur-rent market, noting 2016 likely will be a volatile year. Last year, after a bout of volatility, Spika was featured in a commentary posted on GuideStone’s website (GuideStone.org/VolatilityVideo), explaining the nature of the stock price swings at the time, as well as offering perspective on the market. In reflecting on the current market news, he said the volatility experienced in the second half of 2015 will likely persist for the foreseeable future and is not abnormal in the later stages of an economic cycle such as today’s. [Read more…]

Facebooktwittermail