NASHVILLE — Directors of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board will recommend a $35 million budget for messengers to consider during Summit, which meets Nov. 13-16 at Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova.
The proposed budget for 2022-23 is the same amount as the 2021-22 budget and is one of three recommendations TBMB directors approved for consideration by TBC messengers.
“There is still a great deal of financial uncertainty anticipated for the rest of this year and next year,” said Jeff Bowden, chair of the Budget and Ministry Committee and associate pastor of education for Forest Hills Baptist Church, Nashville, which hosted the meeting on Sept. 13.
“No one can predict what the economy will do, yet church members and churches have responded with consistent generosity and missionary zeal,” Bowden continued. “We pray that we will continue to see strong Cooperative Program giving.”
Directors also renewed its current partnership with the Guatemala Baptist Convention through Dec. 31, 2027. The partnership was originally approved for 2016-2020 but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, trips to the country were severely impacted, according to information supplied to the board members. Since 2016, 149 Tennessee teams have served in Guatemala with an estimated 3,200 professions of faith as a result. This year, 1,706 volunteers from 26 teams are scheduled to participate in the partnership.
Directors also revised the existing covenant with the Tennessee Baptist Foundation to include the phrase: “Tennessee Baptist Foundation may also provide these same services to like-minded evangelical Christian institutions and organizations.” In response to a question from a board member, Foundation vice president Tod Tanner said it would include organizations that could work within the framework of the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message statement.
Both the Guatemala and Foundation recommendations, along with the budget proposal, require approval by TBC messengers.
Acts 2:17 Initiative
TBMB directors also received detailed information on the new Acts 2:17 Initiative and the report of the Sexual Abuse Task Force which will be presented to messengers in November.
Randy C. Davis, president and executive director of the TBMB, and Clay Hallmark, president of the Tennessee Baptist Convention, both addressed the Acts 2:17 Initiative in their respective reports. The Acts 2:17 Initiative seeks God’s vision for Tennessee Baptists following the conclusion of the Five Objectives which served as the vison for the convention from 2014-2024.
The process begins in November at Summit. Messengers will be divided into small groups so they “can dream about what they would like to see the Tennessee Baptist Convention (which celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2024) accomplish in the future,” Davis said. Listening sessions also will be held throughout the state in 2023.
Davis stressed that prayer is an essential element of the Acts 2:17 Initiative. “We have asked Claude King, co-author of Experiencing God, to make sure this process begins with prayer and is bathed in prayer as we seek the heart of God for what is next,” he said.
Hallmark agreed. “We want our agenda to start in the throne room of heaven and work its way down to us,” he said.
Hallmark has appointed Acts 2:17 Vision Team to coordinate the efforts to get input from Tennessee Baptists as to “what new things do we need to do for your glory?” as well as, “What are the things we need to stop doing for your glory?”
Team members include Donny Crass, pastor, Niles Ferry Baptist Church, Greenback; Melody Cain, member, Seymour First Baptist Church, Seymour; Matthew Daniel, pastor, First Baptist Church, Whitwell; Jordan Easley, pastor; First Baptist Church, Cleveland; Jay Hardwick, pastor, Forest Hills Baptist Church, Nashville (chair); Cliff Marion, pastor, First Baptist Church, Covington; Jeff Mims, pastor; Judson Baptist Church, Nashville; Drake Nosco, pastor, Grace Baptist Church, Nashville; Joel Pigg, pastor, Salem Baptist Church, Trenton; Martha Pitts, member, Germantown Baptist Church, Germantown; Ronny Raines, pastor, First Baptist Church, Clarksville; and Pete Tackett, pastor, Antioch Baptist Church, Johnson City.
TBMB directors were given a preview copy of Ministering Well: Best Practices and Resources Related to Sexual Abuse Prevention and Response. The booklet is not yet complete, but “we wanted to give you an opportunity to look at it and share any thoughts or concerns,” said Victoria Tillman, chair of the Sexual Abuse Task Force and member of Bell’s Campground Baptist Church, Powell.
The task force’s desire was to produce a resource for Tennessee Baptist churches, enabling them to both prevent sexual abuse and to be able to “minister well” to abuse victims, she said.
In addition to the booklet, which will be distributed to messengers at Summit, resources will include a website where Tennessee Baptists can download an interactive, searchable PDF of the booklet, Tillman said.
The booklet includes a list of 12 things churches can do to protect minors, a sexual abuse response checklist, Tennessee statutes regarding abuse, how to report abuse, a resource library with links, forms and sample policies and more.
Tillman stressed that the role of the SATF is not to go to churches and investigate claims of abuse. “We are here to equip and to enable you (the churches) to respond well,” she said.
• Jeff Bowden of Forest Hils was elected chair-elect by the board of directors. Current chair Marty Comer, pastor of Sand Ridge Baptist Church, Lexington, will serve through Summit. Last year’s chair-elect, Victoria Tillman, will become the new chair.
• The directors authorized the construction of Cabin Village 1 at Linden Valley Baptist Conference Center at a cost not to exceed $1.9 million. The new cabin village at Linden Valley was approved in April of 2021. When completed, it will provide lodging for 64 individuals in bunk beds and associated meeting space for up to 100 people
• Directors heard institution reports from Dub Oliver, Union University; Charles Fowler, Carson-Newman University; Jeremy Sandefur, The King’s Academy; and Tod Tanner of the Tennessee Baptist Foundation.
The next TBMB directors’ meeting will be held Nov. 14, prior to the start of the annual meeting on Nov. 15 during Summit. B&R