Board of Directors recommends reduced Cooperative Program budget for 2015

by Mike Creswell
Monday, October 6, 2014 | 6 yrs old

The Baptist State Convention's Board of Directors (Board) approved a reduced Cooperative Program budget for 2015, took action on several properties, heard reports and approved proposals for changes in convention bylaws during its meeting Sept. 30-Oct. 1 at the North Carolina Baptist Assembly at Fort Caswell on Oak Island.

Michael Barrett, board president, presided. He is pastor of Pleasant Garden Baptist Church at Pleasant Garden, near Greensboro.

A Cooperative Program budget of $29 million, $1 million less than the 2014 budget, was approved by the Board.

The budget increases the percentage going to the Southern Baptist Convention to 37 percent, up from 36.5 per cent in 2014. The budget will be presented for consideration by messengers during the convention's annual meeting Nov. 10-11 in Greensboro.

For more details on the budget, click here.

The Business Services Special Committee brought three recommendations and several updates to the board. The board authorized action on several pieces of property owned by the Baptist State Convention, approving recommendations from the committee. Jimmy Adams, member and deacon chairman at Cornerstone Baptist Church, Greensboro serves as chair of the committee and brought the recommendations.

Two of the properties are buildings that have been used by the convention's Baptist Campus Ministry (BCM) program. The convention has replaced BCM with a new collegiate partnership strategy which mobilizes local churches to reach students on campuses. During the meeting the board also heard a report on the new ministry from Jonathan Yarboro, acting team leader for collegiate partnerships.

The board authorized the sale of the Baptist Campus Ministry (BCM) building on the campus of the University of North Carolina-Asheville, partly because of the 30-year-old building's poor condition. Bids will be taken for the property beginning October 6, 2014 for a minimum of 45 days. Consideration of this property was precipitated by the receipt of an unsolicited offer to purchase the property. Proceeds from the sale would go into a reserve to fund future collegiate partnerships. 

A BCM building near the campus of the University of North Carolina-Pembroke will be transferred at no cost to Burnt Swamp Baptist Association to use as a ministry center. This facility will continue to be used for Baptist Campus Ministry. Adams explained that land was originally owned by the Baptist Children’s Homes and that a provision was included with the transfer of property requiring the Children’s Homes to have the first right of refusal if the Convention ever decided to give up ownership. Children's homes administrators have indicated to Adams they do not want the land and building, and supported transfer to Burnt Swamp Association.

Adams said the committee is studying other convention-owned property, including at least one other student center.

The board authorized Fruitland Baptist Bible College to construct a four-unit student family housing building, which will have two two-bedroom apartments and two four-bedroom apartments. Board approval is required for any such construction project, although in this case the construction cost is being donated by Jim Jacumin of Connelly Springs, a lay member of East Valdese Baptist Church, Valdese. 

The Jacumins have requested that the building be named the Nancy Nell Jacumin Family Apartments, in honor of his late wife, who passed away earlier this year. Jacumin received the 2014 Heritage Award from the Baptist State Convention, in recognition of his generous support of Baptist and other causes over the years. 

Fruitland president David Horton said the school is gradually disposing of the mobile homes used for student houses; those units date back to the 1980s, he said.

Another gift from Jacumin, the Jim and Nancy Nell Jacumin Retreat Lodge at Caraway Conference Center near Asheboro is now complete and will be dedicated in a 1 p.m. service there Oct. 28, Adams reported.

Hollifield Hall auditorium at Caraway is now under construction, Adams said, part of an expansion program under way for several years. That new facility is expected to be completed by the Board of Directors meeting there in May, 2015.

Bylaw amendments
The Board of Directors approved six amendments to the convention's 
bylaws, which will be considered by messengers at the annual meeting next 
month. The amendments came from the board's Articles and Bylaws Committee, chaired by Bartley Wooten, pastor of Beulaville Baptist Church, Beulaville.

The amendments proposed include:
1--Changing the procedures and requirements for submitting resolutions for consideration at the annual meeting. 
2--Setting procedures for service on the Board of Directors when weather or other factors cause meetings to be prevented.
3--Clarifying qualifications and limits on who can serve on the Board of Directors.
4--Updating wording related to the Christian Life & Public Affairs Committee.
5--Updating names for Fruitland Baptist Bible College (from institute)
6--Clarifying inconsistencies on description of trustees for North Carolina Baptist Hospital.

Board member Chris Hawks told of witnessing to people from Tibet on a vision tour to Toronto, Canada, during his report on the Evangelism and Discipleship Committee he chairs. There are only 100 Tibetan believers in the world, he said, but after their visit there are 101, because one Tibetan girl prayed to receive Christ as her Savior.

The Tibetans had never heard of Jesus; when they heard prayers ending in "amen," they asked who is this god named "Amen"?
Hawks used the story to illustrate the effectiveness of using "The Story" in witnessing encounters. "I'm happy this works. It's a real tool to go and to use," he said.

He said the Baptist State Convention is on target to train 500 people in using The Story this year; two more training events will be this year: Oct. 4 at Mountain View Baptist Church, Hickory, and a second Oct. 28 at Green Pines Baptist Church, Knightdale.

Milton A. Hollifield Jr., executive director-treasurer, also referred to a trip to Canada earlier this year during his report to the board. He said in Quebec Baptists are seeing a lot of success in reaching Millennials. One Baptist leader there said, "We are standing on the shoulders of those here 50 years ago who were praying. Now we're seeing it happen -- a movement of God and many coming to faith."

Hollifield urged the board to pray for a spiritual awakening in North Carolina. "Let's pray that, if we don't see it in our lifetime, that others will," he said.

Highlighting the convention's new nine-month-old strategy focused on impacting lostness through disciple making, he urged the board, "Just begin investing your life in others."

A lack of disciple making has resulted in declining baptism statistics, he said. "The baptism figures across the Southern Baptist Convention for 2013 match the figures when Harry Truman was president," he added.

Teaching others to share their faith is a part of discipling them. "My prayer is that churches and associations and agencies and all of our partners in ministry will fully embrace disciple making and that each will develop a disciple making culture within their organization. You can become a catalyst for disciple making," Hollifield said.

Engaging People Groups
Chuck Register said a new research project has identified 78 clusters of lost people across Charlotte, the Triad and the Triangle. Register is executive leader for Church Planting and Mission Partnerships.

"God is bringing to North Carolina people of the world who have not heard the Good News," he said. 

Now that many of these have been identified, "We are calling for engagement," he said. He showed maps marked with dots to show where clusters of people from other parts of the world live.

To speed the engagement process, he said the Baptist State Convention will launch a pilot project in January which will place 10 young people to work with churches in the three areas and help them engage these groups. The young people will be those who have served overseas as Southern Baptist missionaries and have language and cross-cultural skills needed to serve as bridges between the clusters of newcomers and the congregations.

Register said his office will work with volunteers who will build a guest house in an Asian nation which future teams can use as a base for witnessing. The convention will also provide scholarships to students of Fruitland Baptist Bible College to involve them in reaching unreached people groups.

More details on Register's report

Collegiate Partnerships
Jonathan Yarboro told of the Baptist State Convention's new model of collegiate partnerships to reach students on some 200 campuses across the state. Yarboro is acting team leader of the collegiate partnerships office.

He said the convention is moving from a model which focused on nine campuses to one setting up partnerships with churches to engage the 591,000 college students in all the schools across North Carolina. This will include outreach on the state's many community colleges for the first time, he said.

Some 90,000 international students are studying at schools in the state. "God is bringing the nations to us as international students," he said. They also want to reach the estimated 35,000 faculty and staff who work at the schools.

A church may not be able to target an entire school, he said. But if a local church has, say, a nurse, the church may want to reach out to the nursing students at a school while other churches reach other groups.

NC Baptist Men
NC Baptist Men (NCBM) volunteers have rebuilt 104 homes in New Jersey and New York which were damaged by Super Storm Sandy in 2012, reported board member John Gore, president of NC Baptist Men.

"There is still much to be done there," said Gore, a member of Greenwood Baptist Church, Thomasville. Volunteers will continue to work in that area through August 2015, he said.

Gore told of personally taking part in preparing 2,000+ meals a day in Piscataway, NJ, using NCBM's new kitchen unit two.

Clean-up work led to faith sharing and people have come to faith in Christ through the work, Gore said. One person they helped said seeing the volunteers was like seeing Jesus in his front yard. "That's what it's all about -- being Jesus to the people of New Jersey," he said.

North Carolina Missions Offering
Brian Davis told board members about safety billboards asking North Carolinians along the coast if they are storm ready. "North Carolina Baptists are storm ready when they give to the North Carolina Missions Offering," said Davis, the convention's associate executive director-treasurer.

He said the offering provides the operating budget for North Carolina Baptist Men and also supports church planting and associational missions projects. 

"Choose Now" is the offering theme for 2014.

Baptist Children's Homes
North Carolina Baptists served 9,983 children during 2013 through the NC Baptist Children's Homes, reported Mrs. Brenda Gray, executive vice president for development and communication. They also worked with families, mothers and developmentally handicapped adults.

"Redeemed" will be the theme for the Thanksgiving offering the children's homes receive from churches for their ministry, she said.

But she said there are other ways to help, such as one church who saved them $20,000 by taking on a painting project.

Mrs. Gray also gave the report for the NC Baptist Aging Ministry (NCBAM), operated by the children's homes from their Thomasville campus.

She said NCBAM now gets 350 calls a month requesting help for senior adults. To respond NCBAM has enlisted more than 2,000 volunteers to help. They enlisted 1,243 volunteers to install smoke alarms for seniors; they also distributed 16,000 "red bags" which help seniors manage their medications.

A $15,000 grant from the NC Baptist Foundation will be used to prevent seniors from falling, by providing wheelchair ramps and other helps.

NC Baptist Hospital
FaithHealthNC is a partnership ministry between NC Baptist Hospital and faith groups; it includes training volunteers to work with patients before, during and after hospital stays in order to keep people healthier, said board member Mrs. Wanda Dellinger, chairman of the Christian Social Services Special Committee. She is a member of Green Street Baptist Church, High Point. 

She said Ashe, Brier Creek and Brushy Mountain Baptist associations have signed agreements to encourage church participation with FaithHealthNC.

Last year's Mother's Day Offering, used by NC Baptist Hospital to help needy patients, provided $579,000 in medical care to 59 patients, she said. Also, CareNet counseling centers maintained by the hospital across the state provided $600,000 in free pastoral counseling last year.

Fruitland Baptist Bible College expects to have about 188 students enrolled this fall, reported President David Horton.

He told the board about the many advantages Fruitland offers, especially lower cost. It costs about $6,000 a year for a Fruitland student's tuition, meals, room and board. "Many similar schools are five times as much," he said. 

Fruitland students can also transfer to many schools, he said. For example, a student can attend Fruitland two years, transfer to Gardner-Webb University and complete a divinity degree in five years.

Fruitland now has satellite campuses in Monroe, Wilkesboro and Rocky Mount, plus Hispanic campuses in Sylva, Statesville, Charlotte and Wilmington.

Biblical Recorder
"People in Baptist pews need to know what's going on," said Editor Allan Blume in his report on the Biblical Recorder newspaper he leads.

He said the North Carolina Baptist newspaper is one of the top three Baptist newspapers in the country in terms of readership; between January and August this year, web traffic increased by more than 100 percent.

While the newspaper has digital versions online and through an app, subscriptions for the print edition remains the main way the newspaper gains income. And print circulation continues to decline even as digital soars. Advertising is "holding its own," he said, but not enough to make up the difference.

He told of signing up a group subscription for 94 readers at a church 
in Shelby recently.


Gordon Benton gave highlights of the five Baptist universities which have partnership ties to the Baptist State Convention as part of his report from the Christian Higher Education Special Committee.

Chowan University has the highest enrollment the school has seen since 1971 and launched a new student chaplaincy ministry this year. 

Campbell University has received a $1.5 million gift to establish a chair of evangelism and missions in the divinity school, plus another $1 million to implement it.

Christian Life and Public Affairs
Chairman Roy Barnhill introduced Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League (CAL), to talk about the work of CAL, a public policy group representing conservative evangelicals from 17 church groups in the state, in 2014.

Creech said the organization is facing its most severe financial shortfall; if things don't improve, "We may be forced to suspend this ministry of seven decades," he said.

A motion during the 2013 annual meeting of the Convention regarding the financial needs of the CAL was referred to the Board. The Christian Life and Public Affairs Committee was tasked to address the motion.

Barnhill said the Baptist State Convention cannot offer additional funding support for the CAL but worked with Creech to encourage churches and individuals to support CAL. Barnhill said the convention had sent out letters requesting support for CAL and encouraging churches to invite Creech to speak. 

Creech indicated that the effort was making a difference, financially, for CAL. "Thank you so much," said Creech. "We consider the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina our mother. We were birthed by you," he said.

Communications Committee
Board member Micheal Pardue, chairman of the Communications Committee, reported the committee is working John Jones, the convention's team leader for information technology and services, on a new approach to getting information from churches affiliated with the convention. The Annual Church Profile (ACP) reports, gathered for LifeWay Christian Resources, has been the traditional tool for this, but many churches do not return the reports.

Pardue said getting information from the churches is important, because even the size of the board of directors depends on ACP reports from the churches.

Pardue announced that Mrs. Kathryn Carson was named as team leader of the convention's communications team. She has served with the convention staff since 2005, first as graphics designer and then graphics manager. 

In other matters the Board elected Mrs. Ginger Brown as board secretary, replacing Mrs. Pam Young, who had filled in temporarily as board secretary after another staff person resigned.

The board approved a recommendation from Baptist State Convention President C.J. Bordeaux that Mrs. Debbie Smith be named to fill the unexpired term of Bobby Lewis on the executive committee. Lewis, who filled an at-large position on the executive committee, has moved out of the state to serve a church. Mrs. Smith is a member of Dudley Shoals Baptist Church in Granite Falls, where her husband serves as associate pastor. The Smiths served earlier as missionaries to the Philippines.