CSBC Executive Board recommends budget, approves church action

Published Oct 02, 2014

FRESNO – Withdrawing fellowship from a member congregation and approving a reduced 2015 Cooperative Program objective for California Southern Baptist Convention topped the organization’s fall Executive Board meeting, Sept. 11-12 in Fresno.

In an historic move, CSBC board members unanimously (35 of 41 present) voted to withdraw fellowship from New Heart Community Church in La Mirada after its pastor said he believes homosexual acts are not always sinful.

The La Mirada congregation first made headlines as pastor Danny Cortez gained national attention when one of his sermons was posted on YouTube in which he said he had revealed to elders of the congregation that he had “changed my stance on homosexuality.”

In the video Cortez acknowledged his endorsement of homosexuality “is a radical shift from the longstanding belief of our church. This is a radical shift from our statement of faith, aligned with the Southern Baptist Convention.”

In the sermon, Cortez argued that Romans 1 does not condemn all homosexual acts but only those committed in a spirit of violence or unbridled lust. He said modern homosexual relationships are different from the grotesque forms Paul referred to.

The Board also voted a reduced 2015 CP objective of $6.8 million, a 4.7 percent decrease over the 2014 objective of $7.14 million.

Jenice Moore, chairperson of the finance committee and minister of administration at Trinity Baptist Church in Livermore, reported Cooperative Program gifts have been “erratic” in 2014, making it difficult to produce a budget based on sound financial numbers, unlike previous years.

She said the finance committee believes the $6.8 million CP objective for 2015 is realistic in today’s economy.

Moore also reported to the Board that budget formation is a challenge with the changing percentage ratios between CSBC and the North American Mission Board, and with increases in percentage giving to the Southern Baptist Convention.

The ratio for CSBC/NAMB dollars increases 2 percent from 24.5/75.5 in 2014 to 26.5/73.5 in 2015. This is the third year of a five-year transition plan to culminate in a 30/70 ratio by 2018.

In 2013 messengers at the CSBC annual meeting in El Cajon voted to increase giving to the SBC for world missions by .5 percent annually until the total for SBC causes reaches 35 percent. In the proposed budget, the SBC percentage moves from 33 to 33.5 percent.

Messengers to the annual meeting, Oct. 21-22 in Clovis, will vote on the budget that also allocates 5 percent to California Baptist University, 1 percent to California Baptist Foundation and 60.5 percent for missions in the Golden State.

Any excess of CP gifts over the $6.8 million goal is earmarked for SBC world mission causes.

A budget summary explained a 3 percent increase in salary for CSBC employees while retirement benefits were adjusted from a contribution based on 5 percent of annual compensation per employee to a flat $100,000 “allocated equally to each participant.”

The budget summary reported, “Economic constraints and strategic changes by financial partners continue to impact the resources available, as well as the discretion allowed CSBC to use those funds. This budget seeks to distribute all available resources in a way that best provides for ministry strategies that fulfill all CSBC mission assignments for CSBC churches.”

In other business the Board approved transferring accumulated earnings for 2014 from the Executive Board Reserve and O. Dean Johnson Trust, as well as the Cooperative Program Endowment, for revenue as needed to meet budget requirements for 2014 (approximately $14,000). The Board also approved the accounting firm of Linger, Peterson, Shrum & Co. as auditor for 2014.

Board members elected new leadership for 2015 including Shawn Beaty, senior pastor of Clovis Hills Community Church in Clovis, as chairman, and John Powell, pastor of Calvary Church in West Hills, as vice chairman. Beaty succeeds Montia Setzler, pastor of Magnolia Church in Riverside, who completed his second, one-year term as chairman, the maximum allowed under Executive Board bylaws.