DALLAS–The September meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Board was held on Sept. 27-28 in Dallas, TX. Directors approved the 2022 proposed budget, elected officers, heard ministry reports, and approved business related to 26 unique recommendations. There were 33 online attendees and 11 regrets, with the rest of the board members attending in person.
The board approved the proposed 2022 Texas Baptists missions and ministries budget of $34,588,280. This includes the first Cooperative Program increase in decades, which is budgeted at $27.4 million, 101.26% of the year prior. It also includes increases in investment incomes and donor-designated funds.
“Every dollar earned or every dollar saved is another dollar we get to put into missions,” Ward Hayes, treasurer and chief financial officer, said.
Benefits of the proposed budget include Cooperative Program increases to ministry centers and new ministries, including Women’s and Singles’ Ministries. The Church Starting ministry is also now fully funded through the Cooperative Program, Mary Hill Davis Offering and designated gifts, with less reliance on investment earnings for additional funding, as it has done in previous years.
The board also approved a recommendation to continue allocating undesignated gifts from affiliated churches at a split of 79% for Texas Baptists and 21% for BGCT Worldwide, with each church deciding the recipient of its Worldwide giving.
Board members re-elected Clint Davis, current Chair and pastor of First Baptist Church of Mt. Pleasant, to serve again in 2022. Bobby Contreras, pastor of Alamo Heights Baptist Church in San Antonio, was also re-elected to serve as Vice Chair.
Widespread ministry efforts and listening to God’s call
During his Monday evening address, Executive Director David Hardage shared updates on Texas Baptists ministries including work in church replanting and Baptist Student Ministry. He also highlighted River Ministry, which has missionaries working along the Texas/Mexico border and the Mexico interior. During the recent immigrant crisis in Del Rio, Texas Baptists gave extra financial support to missionary Shon Young and City Church Del Rio as they responded to the influx of need.
“We have sent more of our staff and extra resources to him and to [those helping]. We do two things on the River–we don’t do politics, we do two things–we meet human needs and we share the gospel,” Hardage said.
He also emphasized the Mary Hill Davis Offering, which funds state missions. Following his remarks, Executive Board Chair Clint Davis extended a challenge to board members to give their “pocket money” to the Offering, resulting in over $1,000 being raised.
Convention President Jason Burden shared from Philippians 3:12-14 about pressing on towards the goals the Lord has set for Texas Baptists. He said that the hardships over the last year-and-a-half did not stunt the work of God, and that Texas Baptists are called to trust in Him and to listen to His call.
Burden called on Texas Baptists to support each other as the Convention as a whole strives to share the gospel.
“The success of our Convention depends on the many looking out for the few…,” he said. “We’re not here for what Texas Baptists can do for us, we’re here for what Texas Baptists as a whole can do for God. We’re here to help each other [with that mission], and we don’t want to just reach our neighbors, but the nation.”
Hayes, provided an update on giving to the Cooperative Program. He said that giving through the end of July was at 97.8% compared to the prior year, though August showed an increase in giving. The Mary Hill Davis Offering is slightly up, at 102.2% of 2020. Hayes asked board members to continue encouraging their churches to give to the Offering, which funds many Texas Baptists statewide missions efforts. BGCT Worldwide giving is steady and about the same as 2020. He also reported that the Cooperative Program Investment Income was ahead of budget, with total investments reaching over $200 million for the first time. Hayes explained that with ministry activity going strong, expenditures were at budget.
“[These numbers] are just a language to tell the testimony of what God is doing,” said Hayes. “[It is] evidence of the goodness of God and the generous provisions He pours out on us.”
Additional business approved
Bob Temple, chair of the Administration Support Committee, brought a recommendation from the Committee to adopt Policy 525.1 on sexual abuse and/or exploitation by church leadership. The recommendation, which was passed with one amendment from Sector 5 Representative Chad Edgington, clarified the Convention’s stance against registered sex offenders serving in church leadership roles, and said that churches violating this standard may be considered out of harmonious cooperation with the churches of the BGCT. After discussion, the amended recommendation was passed unanimously.
“We take sexual abuse seriously. And we want our churches to be safe places and we want to do all we can to protect children and vulnerable adults in our churches… This is just one way to say together that this is a serious issue and that we want to do all we can to encourage our churches to promote safe practices and not allow sexual predators to be in a position of leadership and have the chance to offend again,” Associate Executive Director Craig Christina explained.
Davis, who also serves as chair of the Executive Committee, brought a recommendation to adopt the GC2 Statement of Faith. The statement is not intended to take the place of any other faith statements, but instead serves as a guide for collaboration with like-minded conventions, denominations, churches, ministries, foundations, institutions, or Christians. Davis explained that the GC2 Statement would act as a summary of the Convention’s core beliefs.
The recommendation explains that, “The need exists for a big-tent approach to missions and ministry that affirms the historic truths of Scripture and Baptist distinctives. This organic movement has created an opportunity for Texas Baptists to lead the way in offering a new vision for collaboration: the GC2 Movement.”
The recommendation was approved unanimously.
Darrell Tomasek, chair of the Center for Collegiate Ministry Committee, brought three recommendations for property changes or purchases for the Galveston BSM, Texas State BSM and West Texas A&M BSM buildings.
In other business, the following individuals were elected to fill vacancies on councils, committees and boards of affiliated ministries:
Chaplaincy Endorsement Council: David Cross, First Baptist Church, Lumberton; George Will Bearden, First Baptist Church, San Antonio; Sara Hester, First Baptist Church, Oneonta, AL; Robert Pipkin, West End Baptist Church, Suffolk, VA; and Rachelle Binion, Invitation American Baptist, Sioux Falls, SD.
Hispanic Education Initiative Council: Rolando Aguirre, Park Cities Baptist Church, Dallas; Felipe Garza, Bill Harrod Memorial Baptist Church, Dallas; Tina Cooper, Calvary Baptist Church, Corpus Christi; David Reyes, Fielder Baptist Church, Arlington; and Pablo Juarez, First Baptist Church, Kaufman.
Christian Life Commission: Abigail Rojas, Azle Avenue Baptist Church, Fort Worth; Bryant Lee, Higher Expectations Church, Humble; Alice Ward, Cornerstone Baptist Church, Arlington; Kalie Lowrie, First Baptist Church, Brownwood; and Emmanuel Roldan, Primera Iglesia, Waco.
GC2 Press Advisory Council: Joshua Hays, First Baptist Church, Waco; and C.V. Blake, First Baptist Church, Abilene.
Theological Education Council: Dan Upchurch, Sunset Canyon Baptist Church, Dripping Springs; and David Smith, First Baptist Church, Quanah.
Texas Baptist Missions Foundation Council: Ed Dyer, Tallowood Baptist Church, Houston; Steve Dalrymple, First Baptist Church, Amarillo; Carla Robinson, Park Cities Baptist Church, Dallas; Alice Curtis, Agape Baptist Church, Fort Worth; Michael Griffin, Park Cities Baptist Church, Dallas; Jack Woodworth, Park Cities Baptist Church, Dallas; Ben Raimer, First Baptist Church, Galveston; and Pat Hyde, First Baptist Church, Kennedy.
Center for Missional Engagement Committee: Oza Jones, Westside Baptist Church, Lewisville; and Ryan Jespersen, Hillcrest Baptist Church, Cedar Hill.
Missions Funding Council: Bill Skaar, First Baptist Church, Grand Prairie; Robert White, Freedom Church, Bedford; Fernando Rojas, Azle Avenue Baptist Church, Fort Worth; Ken Holden, Park Cities Baptist Church, Dallas; and Charlotte Greenhaw, First Baptist Church, Garland.
Western Heritage Council: Tuffy Loftin, Cowboy Church of Leon County, Centerville; and Jerry Stewart, Lone Star Cowboy Church, Lubbock.
Ministerial Health Council: Alan Grisham, First Baptist Church, Buffalo; and Leonard Hatcher, Oasis Baptist Church, Dallas.
Other business included:
A recommendation to form a new Ministry for Single adults was brought by the Administration Support Committee and passed unanimously.
Recommendations for approving the autonomy of STARRY from Children at Heart Ministries and to approve the restated Certificate of Formation for Children at Heart were brought by the Institutional Relations Committee and passed unanimously.
Recommendations for the 2022 Texas World Mission Initiatives and Partnership Allocations were brought by the Finance Committee and approved unanimously. This includes: $340,000 for missions mobilization, $200,000 for River Ministry and Mexico Endeavors, $100,000 for Texas partnerships, $55,000 for Baptist World Alliance, $5,000 for North American Baptist Fellowship, $50,000 for Intercultural International Initiatives, $200,000 for Go Now Missions, $20,000 for the Hispanic Education Task Force and $30,000 for chaplaincy.
A recommendation to allocate the 2021 JK Wadley Endowment Fund Earnings at $320,000 for church starting, $150,000 for collegiate ministries for building maintenance and $30,000 for Campus Missionary Interns was passed unanimously.