By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
The goal is an increase of $250,000 or 13.5 percent over the 2017-18 goal of $1.925 million. The projected income is $1.85 million.
The Golden Offering for Tennessee Baptist Missions is a cooperative effort of Tennessee Woman’s Missionary Union and the TBMB. The goal also was approved by the Tennessee WMU Executive Board.
The Golden Offering “is an important part of what we do,” affirmed Martha Pitts, president of Tennessee WMU.
TBMB directors heard a number of reports during their April 24 meeting in Franklin.
David Leavell, pastor of First Baptist Church, Millington, and president of the Tennessee Baptist Convention, reminded the board that “God is about His business in Tennessee.”
He noted that his mission as president of the TBC this year is simple. “We need to make it hard to go to hell from Tennessee,” he challenged.
Leavell introduced TBMB members to his John 3:16 Challenge, an invitation to every Tennessee Baptist to share John 3:16, once a week, with a lost person, with the intention of leading them to a personal faith in Christ. “Share John 3:16 with a lost person. It’s not hard. Anyone can do it,” he challenged.
Randy C. Davis, president and executive director of the TBMB, emphasized that Tennessee is a missions field. He reminded the directors of the TBMB’s mission, values, and vision which are primary elements of the convention-adopted Five Objectives (at the 2014 Summit in Brentwood).
Davis provided an update on each of the objectives.
Objective 1: Seeing at least 50,000 Tennesseans annually saved, baptized, and set on the road to discipleship by 2024. He noted there was a slight increase in baptisms over the year before. Any “uptick” in baptisms is positive, Davis stressed.
Objective 2: Having at least 500 Tennessee Baptist churches revitalized by 2024. “We are ahead of schedule in revitalization,” Davis said, noting approximately 250 churches throughout Tennessee are in the process of revitalization.
Objective 3: Planting and engaging at least 1,000 new churches by 2024. “We are seeing a church planting movement beginning to take hold in Tennessee,” Davis said. He credited the movement with an increased effort on equipping churches to plant churches rather than focusing primarily on church planters.
Objective 4: Realizing an increase in local church giving through the Cooperative Program that reaches at least 10 percent by 2024. Davis said Cooperative Program giving has increased this year over last year and that in the last two years there has been an increase in the number of churches that give through the Cooperative Program.
Objective 5: Realizing an increase in annual giving for the Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions that reaches at least $3 million by 2024. “Last year Tennessee Baptists gave a record amount for the GOTM,” he said.
Board members heard a number of reports from each of its standing committees and three of its ministry partners: Tennessee Baptist Adult Homes, Tennessee Baptist Children’s Homes, and Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation.
The Budget and Ministry Committee, chaired by Steve Marcum, and the Resource Development Committee, chaired by Bob Connerley, sought input from TBMB directors on a motion that was referred back to the board for further study by messengers from last year’s Summit held at First Baptist Church, Hendersonville.
The motion was an amendment to the constitution that would define cooperating Baptist churches as those “that contribute financially through the Cooperative Program of the convention or through the Tennessee Baptist Convention portion of the Cooperative Program, without restriction or designation, in the fiscal year immediately preceding the annual meeting of the convention and subscribe to and support the principles, programs, and policies of the convention.”
“We want to hear your heart,” Marcum told board members. “We need to sing the same song and be on the same page,” he added. After hearing comments from board members, Marcum said a subcommittee will study the motion and report to TBMB directors at their September meeting.