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OPINION

Messengers approve 7 EC recommendations

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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PHOENIX (BP)--Seven recommendations from the SBC Executive Committee were approved by messengers during the opening session of the SBC annual meeting June 14.

Four recommendations related to the "Great Commission Resurgence" report adopted at the 2010 annual meeting in Orlando, Fla.:

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-- Providing additional funding for international missions by reducing the Executive Committee's share of Cooperative Program funding and proportionately increasing International Mission Board funding. The proposal adopted by messengers calls for reducing the Executive Committee budget share from 3.4 percent to 3.2 percent in 2011-12, with a goal of over time reducing it to 2.4 percent.

-- Adding a new Annual Church Profile reporting category called "Great Commission Giving" to highlight each church's financial commitment to Southern Baptist mission enterprises. The recommendation also reaffirmed the Cooperative Program as "the most effective means" of missions outreach and asked churches to increase their Cooperative Program contributions by 2.5 percent of undesignated receipts by the end of the 2013 calendar year.

-- Amending the International Mission Board ministry assignment to allow the organization to "provide specialized, defined and agreed upon assistance to the North American Mission Board in assisting churches to reach unreached and underserved people groups within the United States and Canada." The current ministry assignment focuses IMB work outside the U.S. and Canada.

-- Rewriting the North American Mission Board's mission statement and ministry assignment. The new mission statement refocuses NAMB on partnership with churches, associations and state conventions in "mobilizing Southern Baptist as a missional force" in North America. The new ministry assignment consolidates nine points to six and rearranges its priorities. Where appointing missionaries was the first assignment, planting churches now heads the list. A previous ministry assignment on "Christian social ministries" has been merged into an assignment to assist churches "in the ministries of evangelism and making disciples." The assignments of "communicating the Gospel ... through communication technologies" and "strengthening ... and providing services to associations" have been eliminated.

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Two recommendations related to the 2011-12 budget:

-- Adopting a $186 million 2011-12 Cooperative Program Allocation Budget that increases the International Mission Board's percentage of budget receipts from 50 percent to 50.2 percent and decreases the Executive Committee's percentage proportionately to 3.2 percent.

-- Adopting a $7.47 million 2011-12 SBC Operating Budget that allocates $2.2 million to administration expenses and $5.26 million to operations expenses. The budget represents a reduction of more than $1.2 million over 2010-11.

The final recommendation was a response to motion made during the 2009 annual meeting, directing the Executive Committee to study greater involvement in the convention by ethnic churches and leaders. The proposal offered 10 specific points "designed to foster conscious awareness of the need to be proactive and intentional in the inclusion of individuals from all ethnic and racial identities within Southern Baptist life."

The points included encouragements to make committee appointments and select program personalities that represent the diversity within the convention, "particularly ethnic diversity." A failed attempt to amend the recommendation, brought by Channing Kilgore of South Whitwell Baptist Church in Whitwell, Tenn., would have replaced ethnicity with "Gospel minded" as the criterion for selecting committee appointees.

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Mark Kelly is senior writer and assistant editor for Baptist Press.

Copyright (c) 2011 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net

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