By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
BRENTWOOD — The Executive Board adopted a budget of $34,250,000 for the 2014-15 budget year.
The action was one of several that took place during the Executive Board’s Sept. 9 meeting at Brentwood Baptist Church here.
Board members were informed that the new budget is a reduction of $2,250,000 or 6.16 percent from the 2013-14 budget. The new total is more consistent with income for the previous 12-month period, according to information supplied to board members.
Board members also learned the new budget includes funding for the Five Objectives adopted by the board at their June 24 meeting. The Five Objectives include:
(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 reached at least $3 million by 2024.
The 2014-15 budget will distribute 42.07 percent to the Southern Baptist Convention while 57.93 percent will remain in state. Last year’s distribution was 41.25 percent to the SBC with 58.75 percent remaining in Tennessee.
The budget must be approved by messengers to the annual meeting held during The Summit, scheduled for Nov. 10-12 at Brentwood Baptist Church.
During the meeting, board members heard challenges from TBC president Larry Robertson and Randy C. Davis, TBC executive director/treasurer.
Robertson observed that doing and saying the same things over and over will not translate to the world in which we live today.
“Don’t assume that because we speak the same language we are communicating,” he cautioned.
He reminded board members that “we speak the loudest when we are loving people with our hands and hearts and meeting them at their point of need.”
As the annual meeting approaches, Robertson challenged Board members to take ownership of the convention theme, “Whatever It Takes.”
“I hope that will permeate our approach to ministry,” Robertson said.
Davis stressed the Five Objectives during his report to Board members.
“These are God-sized objectives,” he acknowledged.
Yet, he noted they are not impossible because “Scripture tells us God is able to do anything.”
Davis observed that the state has been divided into seven harvest fields (regions). “This represents a decentralization. We are pushing our resources to where the churches are,” he said.
The harvest field approach will allow for intimate knowledge of each area, provide opportunities for strategic planning, and lead to measurable results, he said.
Davis challenged Board members to be praying for the staff and each of the harvest fields.
“This is not the time to be discouraged. This is the time to rise and move forward,” he said.
In other actions, Roc Collins, pastor of Indian Springs Baptist Church, Kingsport, was elected chair of the Executive Board over Corey Cain, pastor of Maplewood Baptist Church, Paris. Cain served this past year as vice chair of the Executive Board.
Michael Crandall, pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church, Ripley, was elected vice chair with no opposition.
Board members approved without opposition a recommendation to create a “Board Organization Task Force” within the Executive Board. The task force is charged with designing “an efficient and effective committee structure that facilitates the work of the revised staff structure in light of regionalization and the Five Objectives.”
Board members also adopted recommendations related to church planting strategy and its policy and guidelines as well as amendments to the Business and Financial Plan in regard to the budget process and Cooperative Program promotion.
In addition, the Executive Board recognized years of service by Board employees and heard a series of reports from heads of TBC-related entities.