The September meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Board was held virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. During the meeting on Sept. 21-22, directors elected board officers, approved the 2021 proposed budget, heard a report on updates to the convention’s vision and mission, and approved additional business.
The board approved the proposed 2021 Texas Baptists missions and ministries budget of $34.26 million, with an additional $1,050,000 proposed for the 2020 Texas Worldwide Missions Initiatives and Partnerships. While the 2021 proposed Texas CP budget is 98.2% of the previous year’s giving, an anticipated $1.1 million increase in donor-designated funds and flat investment income sets the total budget at $44.1 million, which is 101% of the 2020 overall budget.
Board members elected Clint Davis, current Vice Chair and pastor of First Baptist Church of Mt. Pleasant, to serve as Chair for 2021. Bobby Contreras, pastor of Alamo Heights Baptist Church in San Antonio, was elected to serve as Vice Chair.
Convention President Michael A. Evans, Sr. shared from John 15 and encouraged board members to love one another amidst times of trouble, and racial and social injustice, reminding them that Christians are the presence of Jesus in this world.
The call to love one another is not a suggestion but an order, a charge to Christ’s disciples, Evans said. He noted that there was tension in the Upper Room, and there is tension in America today.
“In the midst of chaos and confusion God calls us to be unified together and He says to every one of us that we must abide in his love,” Evans said.
Our response as a diverse body of believers is to love one another well.
Ward Hayes, CFO/Treasurer, reported as of July 31, 2020, Texas Baptist Cooperative Program giving remained strong at 97.4% and investment income was down $747,000 but had rebounded significantly since the pandemic hit. Hayes is encouraged by the continued generosity of churches in the midst of a pandemic.
“It is important in life to celebrate God’s goodness and blessings,” Hayes said. “Texas Baptists are known for generosity as an action of love. During the pandemic, Texas Baptists were blessed to hold steady, step forward and lean into the needs that surrounded our state and even the world. That was expressed in $1.4 million given through special ministry grants above other giving.”
Hayes shared that 347 bivocational pastors had been supported through Pastor Relief Grants since March, made possible through gifts of $740,000. Additionally, 26 Texas Baptist camps were supported through the 636 gifts which totaled $604,000 to the Camp Relief Fund.
During his Monday evening address, Executive Director David Hardage reviewed a new staff structure organized around five ministry centers, and introduced “GC2” as a new way of identifying who Texas Baptists are and what they do. The GC2 label is derived from the convention’s dual emphasis on the Great Commission and the Great Commandment. Hardage will review the new structure during his address to messengers and visitors of the online-only Annual Meeting Nov. 16-17.
Hardage also recognized several Texas Baptists leaders who accepted a generous voluntary retirement offer in July, including Bill Arnold, president of the Texas Baptist Missions Foundation (TBMF), and Rollie Richmond, director of Human Resources. Jerry Carlisle was introduced as the new President of TBMF and Ray Malone was introduced as the new Human Resources Director.
Associate Executive Director Craig Christina delivered a report on behalf of the Institutional Relations Committee Tuesday morning and shared new vision and mission statements undergirding the five ministry centers Hardage announced the previous day.
Lester Leonares, chair of the Finance Committee, brought additional recommendations for the use of investment income from the J.K. Wadley Endowment to support church starting and campus missionary interns. The board also approved a loan forgiveness plan for the Baptist University of the Americas in the amount of $1 million, if the university can match the funds from January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2022.
Two additional recommendations were brought for consideration by the Administration Committee to increase the paid time off rollover for convention staff and to allow retirement contributions for eligible staff to remain at 6% annually.
In other business, the following individuals were elected to fill vacancies on councils, committees, and boards of affiliated ministries:
Cultural Engagement Council: Larry J. Sanders, Keller Springs Baptist Church, Carrollton.
Christian Life Commission: Ryan Buck, Immanuel Baptist Church, San Angelo; Irene Gallegos, Iglesia Bautista Getsemani, Fort Worth; Raymond Sanchez, First Baptist Church, Weslaco; and Brandon Skaggs, First Baptist Church, Belton.
Baptist Distinctives Council: Jimmy Garcia, First Baptist Church, Duncanville; and Jeff W. Smith, Park Cities Baptist Church, Dallas.
Baptistway Press Advisory Council: Megan Maxwell, The Woodlands Baptist Church, The Woodlands; Nataly Mora, Park Lake Drive Baptist Church, Waco; and Larry Soape, First Baptist Church, San Antonio.
Theological Education Council: Craig Curry, First Baptist Church, Plano; and Ronny Marriott, First Baptist Church, Burleson.
Chaplaincy Endorsement Council (Texas): George W. Bearden, First Baptist Church, San Antonio; Rochelle Binion, Agape Baptist Church, Fort Worth; Gary Patterson, Berean Baptist Church, San Antonio; Judy Collins, The Crossing Baptist Church, Mesquite; David Kirk, First Baptist Church, San Antonio; and Elmo Johnson, Rose of Sharon Baptist Church, Houston.
Chaplaincy Endorsement Council (Out of State): Robert Pipkin, First Baptist Church, Suffolk, VA; Richard Brown, Bonsack Baptist Church, Roanoke, VA; Clint Calvert, Emmanuel Baptist Church, Rochester, MN; Sara Hester, First Baptist Church, Oneonta, AL; and Kristen Curtis, First Baptist Church, Farmville, VA.
Missions Funding Council: Bart Howell, Eagles View Baptist Church, Fort Worth; Chad Bertrand, South Park Baptist Church, Alvin; Bryan Pinson, First Baptist Church, Midland; Chad Mason, Calvary Baptist Church, McAllen; Debra Perry, Coulter Road Baptist Church, Amarillo; Edgardo Martinez, First Baptist Church, El Paso; Mike Miller, Central Baptist Church, Jacksonville; Jeff Covington, Oakwood Baptist Church, New Braunfels; Nancy Jackson, First Woodway Baptist Church, Woodway; and Robert Watson, First Baptist Church, Tyler.
Texas Baptist Missions Foundation Council: Larry Landusky, Second Baptist Church, Lubbock; Ann Bradshaw, Tallowood Baptist Church, Houston; Don Allen, Sugar Creek Baptist Church, Sugarland; Grady Tyroch, First Baptist Church, Temple; David Lake, South Spring Baptist Church, Tyler; Robert Power, First Baptist Church, Richardson; Jim Newman, First Baptist Church, Frisco; and JoAnn Botts, First Baptist Church, Plano.
Evangelism Strategic Planning Council: Darin Wood, First Baptist Church, Midland and Midland County.
Baptist Student Ministry Council: Linda Templin, First Baptist Church, Arlington; and John Wheat, Trinity Baptist Church, Kerrville.