Clemson BCM to get new, larger home

Acting upon a recommendation from its properties committee, the South Carolina Baptist Convention’s Executive Board unanimously approved a recommendation for the appointment of a task force to exercise an exchange of property, paving the way for a new Baptist Collegiate Ministry center at Clemson University.

Properties committee chairman Rick Caldwell said the new property has better visibility and accessibility to student traffic, and will be larger than the current facility. “This exchange really puts [South Carolina Baptists] front and center at Clemson,” Caldwell said. “We will be adjacent to intramural fields and have high visibility for football-season traffic.”

Caldwell said the board’s approval empowers the task force to act on the board’s behalf through property rezoning, and the panel will return with future recommendations as necessary. He said the task force will be appointed by board chairman Keith Davis.

The property exchange, Caldwell said, will not incur a financial cost to the convention.

The approval came at the board’s April 9-10 meeting at White Oak Conference Center near Winnsboro.

The board also heard a report that Cooperative Program giving for the first quarter of 2012 is ahead of budget by $530,000 (as reported in the Courier April 12).

Budget, finance and audit committee chairman Steve Cartin reported clean and unqualified audits from the accounting firm of Capin Crouse for the South Carolina Baptist Convention, Connie Maxwell Children’s Home, The Baptist Courier, and South Carolina Baptist Ministries for the Aging.

Cartin also reported a decision to move investment funds to the Baptist Foundation of South Carolina, a move that “will save thousands of dollars in fees.”


Executive director’s report

SCBC executive director-treasurer Jim Austin praised the work of the convention staff, which has maintained services to churches while seeing reductions from approximately 95 to 70 staff members over the past few years.

Austin’s report detailed increases in missions mobilization training, missions partnership participation by churches, multihousing ministry involvement by churches, professions of faith through Vacation Bible School, and attendance at the Summersalt youth camps at White Oak. He said that a three-year trend in statewide baptisms is “as high as we’ve ever seen.”

Austin praised the work of Baptist Collegiate Ministry, pointing to increases in faith decisions on campuses and more students becoming involved as summer missionaries.

Austin called on board members to be leaders in partnership involvement with India, Atlanta, Nova Scotia and London.


White Oak update

Board members heard a report that White Oak Conference Center’s dependency on Cooperative Program funding is decreasing, while usage of the center, especially by SCBC churches, continues to increase. Roger Orman, associate executive director of the SCBC’s communications and mission development team, said the center experienced a 12-percent increase in usage in 2011, including 225 total events.

Orman said the center is “almost saturated” with weekend events and “our next goal will be building that weekday business, Monday through Wednesday.”

The board also learned that the new 1,400-person-occupancy Oak Arbor Recreation Pavilion has been completed, replacing a former structure destroyed by a storm. Also, new flooring has been installed in the dining hall.


Other business

Board members heard about a proposed initiative to assist pastors with a two-to-four week time of renewal by providing churches with pulpit and pastoral supply while their pastor participates in an intentional time of training and renewal.

Naveen Balakrishnan, chairman of the planning and ministries committee, said Monty Hale, director of the SCBC’s pastoral ministries and bivocational office, is developing the curriculum for this project.

Balakrishnan also reported that 43 churches are involved in the convention’s Intentional Church Multiplication Process, and 100 churches are projected to be involved in clusters during 2013.

Executive Board vice chairman Tom Tucker said, “God is at work through ICMP. If we want to start churches, we have to have healthy churches working together to do that.” He also praised the convention’s CHAMPS (Church Health and Mobilization Planning Strategy) process, which assists churches in revitalization.

Also, Executive Board members:

? Heard that the board’s scholarship committee is beginning interviews with 101 students applying for scholarship aid for biblical education through the convention.

? Heard that the board appointed a study committee to research possible solutions for pastors and church staff without healthcare.

? Learned that Dave Patterson will chair a special committee to analyze convention building operational costs (pursuant to a motion from the floor of the 2011 annual meeting in Columbia).

Heard a report from convention president Brad Atkins that the 2012 annual meeting theme will be “Great Commission Living.” Mark Dever of 9 Marks ministry will be the Tuesday evening speaker. Wednesday’s speaker will be pastor Michael Catt of Sherwood Church, Albany, Ga., home church of Sherwood Pictures, producers of the movies “Courageous,” “Facing The Giants,” and “Fireproof.” – SCBC