BGCT Presidential Journal 22

BGCT Budget

The past ten days in the BGCT have been quite a roller coaster for me. Last Friday I met with the Randel Everett, CFO Jill Larson, and BGCT Executive Committee to begin planning for the 2010 BGCT budget. Money is tight as you might imagine, and hard choices are going to have to be made. Like most churches and organizations across the land serious evaluation must go into financial planning for the future.

The BGCT leadership has decided to face the future with a prudent and yet faithful approach. The budget will reflect our recent history and trends, and will boldly challenge us to continue to streamline yet to stay on task. One thing is clear, we need more financial support for the Cooperative Program if we intend to continue to hold the ropes of our institutions and if we are serious about implementing Texas Hope 2010. The BGCT receipts reflect the status of our churches, but this can change if our churches begin to turn the corner, or if our churches increase their financial support, or if we add a large number of new churches to our team.

I believe we need to work hard on all three fronts: 1) healthy churches make for a strong cooperative effort, 2) many of our churches may need to re-evaluate their percentage given to the CP and seriously consider giving at least 1% more, and 3) we need to start new churches by the dozens, and invite establish churches to join the fun. I am beginning a personal effort to reach out to strong churches across the state to ask for them to join us in our effort to make Texas Hope 2010 more than a slogan. If you know of a church that may consider being part of our effort and you want me to make contact with them, please pass the information on.

Hispanic Baptist Convention/Shared Leadership

One of the great joys of the week was the opportunity to participate in the Hispanic Baptist Convention held at Park Cities Baptist Church in Dallas. This was my first opportunity to participate with this exciting gathering of Baptist people. It was an amazing family reunion. The energy was high. The music was moving, and the preaching passionate.

One lesson I took away from the Hispanic convention was the simplicity and power of an open election. After Baldemar Borrego served a three year term as president, the convention had five qualified nominees to serve as president. After a couple of run offs, Victor Rodriguez was elected president. I had a brief opportunity to congratulate him for his election to leadership during the 100th year of this great convention. I am confident he will serve well as president, and it was exciting to see the people select their leader.

I believe the BGCT can learn from this example. I hope and pray for the day when we too will have a number of qualified candidates nominated. I remember when my father was elected president in Waco in early 1980’s there were at least five nominees for president that year.

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3 Comments

Filed under BGCT, BGCT Presidential Journal

3 responses to “BGCT Presidential Journal 22

  1. Lee

    “Give more” isn’t going to work. Our church took a long, hard look at our budget last year and determined that the amount we give to the Cooperative Program, a total of 12% of our undesignated receipts, plus Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong offerings that exceeded their goals last year, was all that we could do. The “giving more” part will come as a result of increased budget giving, which we have seen the past two years.

    It is difficult to educate our stewardship team, and our church members, on the need for many of the items in the BGCT budget. Cutting the missions budget at the Amarillo meeting, while increasing the amount given to the executive director’s office was noticed by at least two of our team members, prompting a move to shift more money to the SBC portion of our CP giving, and cuts in what we give to the BGCT. When the BGCT hired a former president as associate executive director, instead of cutting the position out completely, there was more discussion about cutting the BGCT portion of our giving.

    Real change must come before the churches will have their trust restored enough to increase their gifts. The BGCT must make genuine efforts to cut their expenses, rather than just cosmetic changes. There are too few churches who have members involved in convention leadership for the call to go out to increase giving. The perception exists that the BGCT is top-heavy with six-figure salary executive leadership. Solve those two problems, and you might see churches motivated to increase their giving.

  2. Laymen sometimes look at the pasper figures and draw unfounded conclusions. It seems to me that prudence wold suggest asking someone from the convention to meet with the committees and answer questions and explain rationality. Lee seems to suggest that his finance committee does not do much more than read the paper budget.

  3. Lee

    Ken,
    The paper budget is all we are given, and we don’t get that with much time to spare before it must be voted on. For the past two years, our stewardship team has worked tirelessly to make sure that our budget matches our income as closely as they can get it, and when we had some staff changes come about, we made two ministry positions bi-vocational and eliminated a secretarial position as a result of a retirement. We did all of this without dropping a dime from our missions commitment, in fact, we increased our Cooperative Program giving. The BGCT’s plan which allows us to determine our own percentage split helps us determine our priorities and gives us options to fund them according to our own convictions. The end result was a 10% decrease in the budget, but a 6% increase in giving over last year, in spite of the economy and several key members being laid off their jobs. The trust level that has been generated, and the sense that the church is being careful with its money has helped people determine to give more. That’s the kind of thing the BGCT needs to do if it expects its churches to “give more.”

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