By Lonnie Wilkey
The board met in person for the first time since COVID-19, but also provided a virtual option that the majority of the directors chose to take. The in-person meeting was held Sept. 15 at Thompson Station Church, Thompson’s Station.
The $35 million goal, which includes $800,000 allocated to Cooperative Program administration and promotion, is the same as the current 2019-20 budget. The allocation to the SBC increased from 47.37 percent to 47.5 percent of Cooperative Program receipts.
Josh Lancaster, associate/executive pastor at Red Bank Baptist Church, Chattanooga, and vice chair of the budget and ministry committee, noted that due to the economic uncertainty caused by the pandemic caused the committee to propose a budget for 2020-21 with no increase. Information supplied to board members noted that “economic indicators are all over the map.”
The recommendation also included that “as a hedge against a significant economic downfall that the allocation of funds be broken down into three stages of $25 million, $5 million and $5 million, with percentage allocations at each stage. The first stage will prioritize funds to TBC causes which will be reversed in the later two stages. If the goal of $35 million is reached the allocation percentages will be 47.5 percent to SBC and 52.5 percent to TBC.
The adopted recommendation also approved the TBMB budget of $16,775,935 based on a CP allocation of $10,773,00; a Golden Offering allocation of $1,800,000 and generated and other income of $4,202,935 and a Convention Operation budget of $1,691,700 based on a CP allocation of $1,316,700 and generated and other income of $375,000.
The board of directors also adopted a recommendation from the budget and ministry committee that the convention “adopt a plan for achieving an equal distribution of CP funds between the Southern Baptist Convention and the Tennessee Baptist Convention, increasing the SBC percentage by 0.5 percent for every $500,000 increase in the total Cooperative Program budget. The plan will start when the total budget reaches $35.5 million, at which point the SBC percentage will go to 48 percent and stop when the total budget reaches $37.5 million with the SBC percentage at 50 percent.”
Lancaster said the committee received the recommendation from a Cooperative Program Allocation Task Force appointed in 2019.
Though Summit, which includes the annual meeting of the Tennessee Baptist Convention, has been cancelled, the board will vote on both recommendations again on Nov. 11, acting on behalf of the convention.
Board members also elected Marty Comer, pastor of Sand Ridge Baptist Church, Lexington, as chair-elect. Comer was nominated by Richard Bray, pastor of Rock Hill Baptist Church, Lexington. There were no other nominations.
Glenn Metts, pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church, Seymour, and current chair-elect will succeed current chair Clay Hallmark, pastor of First Baptist Church, Lexington, following the annual meeting in November. Comer will serve as chair of the administrative committee in 2021 and assume the chair following the 2021 annual meeting.
Due to the fact that the board of directors cannot vote to replace themselves, current members, who were scheduled to rotate off, will serve another year. The directors will act on behalf of the convention to adopt the CP Allocation budget, and the reports of the Committee on Committees and Committee on Boards at the Nov. 11 meeting.
Board members also approved recommendations related to the TBMB. They approved changing the name of the Convention Coordinated Missions Committee to Missions and Ministries Committee and simplified the meal reimbursement policy for the board of directors.
The meeting included a report from convention president Bruce Chesser, senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Hendersonville, who will serve another term due to the cancellation of Summit. He joked that he is the only Zoom president In the history of the convention. “It’s been a challenging year for everyone,” Chesser said, reminding the directors, however, that “Jesus is still Lord.”
Randy C. Davis, president and executive director of the TBMB, updated board members on the response of the Board since COVID-19 began spreading in March. He said that connecting with churches was the first priority. He noted TBMB staff made 7,088 contacts during the last two weeks in March and have since made a total of 39,919 contacts through Aug. 25.
He added that TBMB staff have provided numerous resources to assist churches with their ministries during the pandemic. “TBMB staff responded quickly to serve churches wherever and however they needed help,” he said.
New TBMB staff member Roger “Sing” Oldham presented a detailed plan for the proposed 317 Ministry Training Institute which will provide a centralized depository of ministry training resources to assist pastors and other church leaders achieve their goals of being fully equipped for effective service through the Lord’s churches. A detailed article of the Ministry Training Institute will be published in an upcoming issue of the Baptist and Reflector.
Davis also provided a visioning of the future and presented the report in written form to the board of directors. Davis said that has developed priority objectives and have prioritized strategies for maximum effectiveness in order to better serve churches.
“If the churches win, the TBMB wins,” Davis stressed. B&R