Executive Board debates, passes budget; okays “Care2Connect”

Executive Board debates, passes budget; okays “Care2Connect”

FRESNO – California Southern Baptist Convention Executive Board members adopted recommendations for a leaner budget for 2012 and an electronic media tool that promotes and encourages financial participation in CSBC ministries.

With a few opposed, Board members approved a proposed 2012 budget of $10,866,414, which includes a Cooperative Program objective of $6.44 million, a decrease of almost 7 percent from the 2010 objective of $6.92 million. The proposed budget is a $209,400, or 1.9 percent, decrease compared to the 2011 budget of $11,075,814.

If the Cooperative Program objective is met in 2012, the Southern Baptist Convention would receive for world missions $1,964,000, or 30.5 percent; CSBC Executive Board ministries for evangelism, missions and ministry in the Golden State would total $3,928,400, or 61 percent; California Baptist University would receive $483,000, or 7.5 percent; and California Baptist Foundation would receive $64,400, or 1 percent.

The budget reflects an increase of a half-percent to SBC causes and 2 percent to CSBC ministries. The 2.5 percent increase is offset with a 2.5 percent decrease for CBU.

In a report to the Board about California Baptist University, Mark A. Wyatt, vice president for marketing and communication, spoke to the reduced amount in the CSBC budget for the Riverside school.

With the CP allocation being reduced from 10 to 7.5 percent and with the reduced overall CSBC budget, Wyatt noted the university’s dollar allocation “will go from $682,000 to $483,000 next year.”

He noted the $483,000 allocation for CBU represents one-third of one percent of the school’s $143.2 million budget. “I did a calculation one time and found out it means it would cover CBU operating costs for about 29.5 hours. That is a pretty dramatic way of looking at it,” Wyatt said.

“We do appreciate whatever support the Convention feels is appropriate to continue to provide to the university. We ask you to pray for (us) and keep sending your students.”

Matthew Spradlin, Board member and pastor of Copper Springs Church in Clovis, said he was concerned the budget didn’t show movement toward a 50/50 split between state convention and SBC ministries.

“This budget seems to move in the opposite direction,” he noted.

Milton Steck, chairman of the Board’s finance committee and pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Vacaville, said he appreciated the questions from those who had concerns. He explained that it may be necessary for the Board to “reconsider” the budget during 2012 because of the changing financial environment such as Focus 21 Task Force report implications and the budgeting process at the North American Mission Board.

Steck noted CSBC gifts to the SBC are based on 100 percent of Cooperative Program gifts received, unlike many other state Baptist conventions that deduct “preferred items” before applying their percentage for worldwide missions.

“Our percentage would be much higher if we did what the other states did,” Steck asserted.

He said the issue is that there is not a “standard” formula to which state conventions adhere. “We (the SBC) need to get it so all state conventions are on the same page.”

Board members also approved “Care2Connect,” an electronic media tool that promotes the ministries of CSBC and encourages financial participation in those ministries by individuals.

Steve Pearson, CSBC chief financial officer, said Care2Connect will provide “new opportunities to highlight and tell the story of CSBC ministries and needs in micro ways, while seeking individuals to financially participate in ministries with which they connect emotionally.”

Pearson demonstrated to Board members the Care2Connect Website, which is in the development stage. Listed on the site were two CSBC projects, both related to the “Feeding Those Who Feed Us” migrant ministry. He noted migrant ministry and church starting are two things that could particularly benefit from the initiative.

Pearson said CSBC is working with the Website developer to build in “prayer” and “volunteer” components since many Southern Baptist supporters will want to engage in those aspects of ministry in addition to giving.

A few Board members questioned the cost of licensing and credit card fees for the project. Montia Setzler, pastor of Magnolia Avenue Baptist Church in Riverside, said those aspects are “the cost of doing business.”

He noted his church has struggled with the issue, but said it is one way to reach a younger generation who “won’t give” if it has to be done by writing a check.

The new initiative is a continued expansion of CSBC’s strategic giving efforts directed by Judy Logan, but the entire staff is involved in the process.

Determining number of messengers
Also approved was a recommendation to change the method of determining the number of messengers churches may elect for the annual meeting. The current formula is solely based on church membership. The proposed change allows each church to have three messengers, regardless of size, with additional messengers based on participation through CSBC Cooperative Program giving.

Alan Thompson, pastor of First Baptist Church of Clairemont in San Diego, moved that the CSBC constitution be amended to allow messengers to be elected based on CP giving to the state convention.

Thompson said, “I love Jesus and I’m a die-hard Southern Baptist. But my church is a river, not a pond, and people come and go.” Because of that, Thompson explained his congregation can only elect three messengers “even though we’ve given more to the Cooperative Program than ever before.”

He suggested a formula similar to the Southern Baptist Convention’s structure. The proposed amendment would allow every church to have three messengers, and one additional messenger for each $500 given through CP. The amendment keeps the cap of no more than 10 messengers per church.

Thompson said the change would allow “greater participation” at the annual meeting. The proposal will be introduced at the 2011 gathering in Fremont and considered at the 2012 annual meeting in Clovis.

Other business
In other business Board members: approved a recommendation for the accumulated earnings from specified CSBC trusts and endowments be transferred to revenue as needed to meet budget requirements for 2011, re-elected Don Fugate, pastor of Foxworthy Baptist Church in San Jose, chairman for 2012 and elected Phillip Alfeld, a layman from South Valley Church in Newhall, as vice chairman.

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