Dallas: This week I had opportunity to participate in the Executive Board meetings in Dallas. This two day meeting is pack with meetings, both formal and informal, as the board oversees the work of the convention between annual meetings.
One huge development this week was the absence of John Petty, who resigned as chairman of the board. Petty stepped down for personal reasons, and his presence was missed. Petty had proven himself as a capable leader over the past two years, and helped Dr. Everett greatly in his re-introduction into BGCT life. Petty was open, fair, firm, and a very capable leader.
Debbie Ferrer, who served as vice chairperson, stepped up in Petty’s absence and did a wonderful job overseeing the events of the week. In addition, Ferrer was elected to be chairperson of the board next year. Joining her in leadership will be Van Christian, pastor of First Baptist Church, Comanche, who will serve as the vice chair next year. Christian will be moving up from his post as chairperson of the Missions and Ministries Committee. Christian also serves as chairman of the Christian Life Commission. Both Ferrer and Christian care deeply for the future of the BGCT and will do a good job helping the convention navigate the coming days.
The big item of discussion this week was the proposed BGCT budget for next year to be recommended for approval at the Annual meeting in Houston. The $41 million budget marks another sharp reduction in spending by the BGCT. Dr. Everett and Jill Larson should be commended for their attempt to bring the spending of the BGCT in line with its income projects for the coming year. Over the past two years under Everett’s leadership, the budget has been slashed 20%. Yet, the spirit of the convention and the Executive Board staff seems to be very optimistic in spite of this reality.
In order to trim spending to meet the anticipated income for next year, the budget required sacrifices on every front. Two noteworthy sacrifices were on the part of the BGCT staff and institutions. The staff will see their employee contributions to their annuities reduced by 50% (10% to 5%). This cut in benefits will save the BGCT over $600,000. In addition, the universities, seminaries, children’s homes, hospitals and other institutions experienced another reduction in revenues. These two actions appear to have been necessary, but these trends need to stop if the convention is going to be a force for change in the future.
To address the issue of institutional support, the EB will form a study committee to take a hard look at how the BGCT funds its institutions and this committee will be making a report to the board by its May meeting. It is critical for the committee to help the BGCT to develop an effective strategy for funding its institutions for the future. Even though the Cooperative Program has taken some hits in the last decade, it still seems to be the most effective and efficient means of funding Kingdom enterprises.
I believe the EB is working hard to help the BGCT move forward into the future. Dr. Everett and his staff are giving visionary leadership, and I hope next year when we meet to discuss the budget we will actually have more money to spend and will be talking about a larger budget. When I was a church planter in the early days of Mission Texas, we were taught “the resources are in the harvest.” Let’s get to work on Texas Hope 2010 and trust God to provide the resources we need for today and for tomorrow.