HOUSTON?As the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention prepares to enter its second decade with an increased budget and larger contribution to Southern Baptist causes, the SBTC Executive Board devoted most of its Nov. 12 meeting following the annual meeting to the allocation of an anticipated 2008 budget overage.
Hurricane-affected ministries, as well as missions and evangelism endeavors, are the primary beneficiaries of the generosity of SBTC churches.
Administrative Committee Chairman Steve Cochran of Longview told the board: “We’re excited to be able to recommend spending money over and above the budget. We know the economy is suffering, but we also know that our God is blessing and we certainly never want to forget that the Scripture says, Give and it shall be given unto you.'”
While the SBTC business plan calls for a long-term reserve of three months, current receipts $2.2 million ahead of the pro-rated budget prompted the board to allocate just over $1 million to specific needs, including depleted disaster relief funds, Ike-related relief, the SBTC Foundation, information technology, missions mobilization and literature, student and collegiate ministry, supplemental funds for evangelism events, the Hispanic Initiative, and the Asian Family Retreat..
Even with the additional expenditures, the SBTC will have seven months in reserve funds.
SBTC Minister/Church Relations Director Mike Smith told the board of ministerial supplements being given to about 30 pastors affected by Hurricane Ike.
“We agreed with them that we’d go three months and review it again for another three months,” Smith said. With various degrees of damage, Smith said some church buildings are water damaged and need repair, some are completely destroyed and others were situated in towns that are completely gone, referring the board to a list of church needs accessible at sbtexas.com.
Earlier this fall the board authorized an additional $100,000 in designated disaster relief funds as well as $15,000 each for New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and the Louisiana Baptist Convention to address emergency needs following Hurricane Gustav.
The increased allocations will provide new equipment for disaster relief, a retreat for Ike-affected ministers and wives in conjunction with the evangelism conference in February, funds to assist SBTC ministers whose income was severely depleted due to the hurricane and general relief to meet other needs and circumstances.
Following the discussion of allocating additional funds, board member Terry Turner of Mesquite remarked, “Just hearing what this convention is doing to help those in need makes me proud to be a part of SBTC.”
Cochran added: “We’re trying as a convention to create the awareness and help open the eyes of our churches because our churches need to be responding … and say, ‘What can my church do to adopt one of these pastors, one of these churches?'”
An additional request by board member Doug Hixson of Pampa was approved, authorizing the administrative committee to consider a $65,000 allocation to the Dakotas Baptist Convention to assist with church planting leadership development and the Sturgis Bike Rally outreach each summer.
“With our official partnership with Dakotas Baptist Convention, the SBTC has a great opportunity to connect our churches with the great need of the Dakotas,” Hixson said. Like many “frontier conventions,” he noted that there are more opportunities for ministry than resources and personnel to complete the task. “The ability of the SBTC, along with our churches, to come alongside them and offer help opens the door for great kingdom work and opportunities for many to hear the message of the gospel.”
Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s request to cons