SWBTS General 2

$1.375 million in grants to help seminaries, colleges, children’s home, church revitalization

November 17th, 2016 / By: Tammi Reed Ledbetter | Special Assignments Editor / comments

$1.375 million in grants to help seminaries, colleges, children’s home, church revitalization

AUSTIN—The Executive Board of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention elected new officers, approved new affiliation requests, and provided $1,375,000 in grants from reserve funds to the help Southern Baptist ministries in Texas and beyond the state.

The board elected Kie Bowman, pastor of Hyde Park Baptist Church in Austin, as chairman; Robert Welch, pastor of Rock Hill Baptist Church in Brownsboro, as vice-chairman; and Joe Rivera, pastor of Primeria Iglesia Bautista in Grand Prairie, as secretary.

Requests from 22 churches seeking affiliation with the SBTC were approved as the convention continues to grow. The number of affiliated churches stands at 2,610 with eight removed, three of which had disbanded, three merged with another church and two disaffiliated.

The Board released $1 million previously designated for transitioning returning IMB workers to church planting and revitalization efforts through Reach Houston. Only one church planter is still in the process and will be funded through budgeted church planting and revitalization funds.  

Anticipated year-end reserves in excess of the six months goal as well as the portion released from use for Reach Houston allowed the board to approve funds for a $200,000 grant to the Southern Baptist Convention for missions and ministry, $250,000 to Criswell College to assist with construction of a campus student dormitory, $150,000 to Jacksonville College for general operations or construction projects, and $100,000 to Texas Baptist Home for Children to offset a significant reduction in state funding due to a court ruling limiting the number of children that can be cared for in group homes.

Other grants included $135,000 over three years to the Dakota Baptist Convention to support pastoral salary and benefits for a church in Williston, N.D.; $200,000 to Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary for student center construction; and $50,000 to the Louisiana Baptist Convention for disaster relief.

Grants were also approved to fund costs related to cultivating diversity among SBTC churches and ministries, a revitalization consultant, technology projects, line item overage, year-end staff bonuses, SBTC reception and exhibit booth at the 2017 SBC meeting, a convention vehicle and a compensation study.

The board reaffirmed a rebranding project approved last spring to examine how SBTC can best present itself to pastors and church leaders with an ever-diversifying constituency.

Several SBTC ministry leaders brought reports of work among Spanish-speaking congregations, refugee and Asian people groups, and Texas borderlands church planting missionaries.

Chief Financial Officer Joe Davis reported that Cooperative Program receipts are $200,782 behind 2015 receipts with a net operating income of $884,128 through October. Davis expects that gap to close following a five-Sunday month in October and a typical pattern of strong year-end giving.

Contributions from SBTC churches to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions amounted to $2,765,492 for reporting year that ended in September, $31,205 more than the previous year. With four months reported for giving through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions, receipts are significantly lower at $510,439 as compared to $1,019,287 for the same period last year. Giving through the Reach Texas Offering for state missions was slightly lower than last year at $63,143 for the first month of reporting.

The board welcomed new members including Brian Haynes of League City, Maria Rolf of Carrollton, Norman Rushing of Pampa and Caleb Turner of Mesquite.