Also during the Feb. 22 meeting in Nashville, Tenn., EC President Frank Page reported that state convention executive directors unanimously agreed to affirm a 50/50 division of Cooperative Program (CP) receipts -- after consideration for shared ministry funds -- between state conventions and the Southern Baptist Convention, as suggested in a portion of the Great Commission Resurgence report. That affirmation was adopted during the annual meeting of the Fellowship of State Executive Directors Feb. 14-17 in Williamsburg, Va.
During the Nashville meeting, Executive Committee members voted unanimously to recommend increasing the International Mission Board's percentage of budget receipts from 50 percent to 50.2 percent and decreasing the Executive Committee's percentage by the same amount. The committee also voted to recommend directing 51 percent of any missions receipts exceeding the proposed 2011-12 budget to the overseas mission entity. The budget being recommended to messengers in June anticipates the national convention receiving $186 million from local churches through their state conventions.
The report of the SBC's Great Commission Resurgence Task Force, which was adopted during the convention's 2010 annual meeting in Orlando, had asked the Executive Committee to consider a full 1 percent increase to the IMB. Al Gilbert, chairman of the EC's Cooperative Program subcommittee who was a member of the GCR Task Force, told Executive Committee members the group intends to move toward the 1 percent goal as quickly as possible, but that dramatic budget and staff reductions already made to accommodate reduced income in the current fiscal year made it impossible to accomplish that goal this year.
In a related matter, Executive Committee members voted to add a category of "Great Commission Giving" to the convention's Annual Church Profile survey. The Great Commission Resurgence Task Force had suggested adding that category as a way of celebrating what Southern Baptist churches are doing in missions beyond the core strategy of giving through the convention's Cooperative Program. However, rather than replacing the existing "Total Missions Giving" category, the recommendation proposes adding the "Great Commission Giving" category, providing a clearer picture of the overall missions endeavors of SBC churches.
Mark Kelly is assistant editor and senior writer for Baptist Press. A complete Baptist Press report on the Executive Committee meeting will be published Feb. 23.
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