SCBC messengers approve budget, adopt resolutions

Messengers to the 197th annual meeting of the South Carolina Baptist Convention on Tuesday adopted a budget and approved resolutions during the opening session of their two-day assembly at Shandon Baptist Church in Columbia.

At 10:40 a.m., there were 511 registered messengers in attendance, representing the state convention’s 2,100-plus churches.

Messengers adopted a Cooperative Program operating budget of $28 million, down $500,000 from last year’s budget. Talmadge Tobias, chairman of the convention’s Budget, Finance & Audit Committee, told messengers the last time the convention’s receipts exceeded budgeted needs was 2012. He said budget receipts have ranged from $27.3 million to $27.5 million over the last five years at a time when the SCBC annual budget was set at $28.5 million.

“This is a more realistic budget,” Tobias said while recommending the “faith-based” budget proposal to messengers. Messengers adopted the budget without debate.

Messengers also adopted a slate of resolutions, including expressing 1) approval for the work of South Carolina Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers and staff members, 2) opposition to the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana, 3) commitment to repentance and fervent prayer for revival and spiritual awakening, 4) opposition to all expressions of hatred, and 5) appreciation to Shandon Baptist Church and those involved in planning the annual meeting. The full text of the resolutions is available at

John Goudelock, chairman of the SCBC’s Executive Board, updated messengers on the status of the proposed sale of the convention’s White Oak Conference Center in Fairfield County. He reported that the Executive Board has signed an intent-to-sell contract with a group seeking to purchase White Oak for $5.4 million for the purpose of establishing a charter school. The group has 24 months to secure funding through grants and other sources. Goudelock said the convention’s summer programs, including SummerSalt and KidsSalt, will continue to be held at White Oak in 2018 without interruption.

Volunteers gather outside the Shandon Baptist Church auditorium before departing for “One Day” ministry events around the Columbia area.

At the conclusion of the morning session, Keith Shorter, pastor of Mt. Airy Baptist Church in Easley and 2017 SCBC president, exhorted messengers to fan out across Columbia to serve in one of two dozen organized ministry opportunities as part of a “One Day” missions emphasis.

“Serving is not easy or convenient,” Shorter said. “But just ask the people you serve if it matters. Go love people like God loves them. You’re going to get your hands dirty, but you’re going to make a difference in somebody’s life.”