Exec. Board hears reports on budget, annual meeting, ‘Advance’ initiative

Meeting April 24 at the South Carolina Baptist Convention building in Columbia, the SCBC Executive Board heard a report on the pending sale of White Oak Conference Center (see related story) and conducted other business.

Board members met that morning in subcommittees and then convened for further business and reporting during the afternoon session. 

The board heard from Talmadge Tobias, chair of the Budget, Finance & Audit Committee, who reported that Cooperative Program giving for the first quarter of 2018 is 1 percent above budgeted needs. By comparison, this amount is 5.7 percent more than CP giving during the first quarter of 2017. 

The committee shared that 2017 CP giving was 4.5 percent under budget, a slightly larger margin than 2016 giving, which was 3.2 percent under budget. The committee also reported that the SCBC’s 2017 spending was less than monies received. 

Tobias shared the findings of an independent auditing firm engaged to review the annual audits of the convention and its institutions. The South Carolina Baptist Convention, North Greenville University, Connie Maxwell Children’s Home, South Carolina Baptist Ministries for the Aging, The Baptist Courier, and the South Carolina Woman’s Missionary Union all received favorable reviews. Audits for Anderson University, Charleston Southern University, and the Baptist Foundation of South Carolina will be completed and reviewed in December.

SCBC president Marshall Blalock updated board members on plans for the 2018 SCBC annual meeting, to be held Nov. 13-14 in Charleston. In his role as pastor of First Baptist Church of Charleston, Blalock spoke about the Emanuel AME Church shooting in 2015 and about his relationships with the survivors. Blalock shared more about the theme “Building Bridges,” and his vision for the meeting.

“When we gather in Charleston, my prayer is that we build bridges so that the world will see that we love each other and that, indeed, Christ is Lord of all,” Blalock said, adding that the pastor of Emanuel AME Church, Eric Manning, has invited messengers to worship in the church during the annual meeting. 

The chair of the Priority Advance Committee, Jim Schiele, presented the five pillars of Advance to board members. Committee members previewed Advance print pieces and were introduced to online resources offered through www.scbcadvance.org. Advance resources are designed to assist churches in making their “next move” as they progress in becoming a Great Commission church. 

In other news, SCBC chief strategist Mark A. introduced the Priority Advance Committee to the Palmetto Collective, a sending initiative designed to disciple college students who show interest in or are committed to missions or ministry. These students would receive financial support during their education and would commit to two years of missions deployment following graduation. The concept supports the Advance Send initiative and would work in collaboration with International Mission Board and North American Mission Board workers. The Palmetto Collective is already engaging the three South Carolina-affiliated universities and SCBC Baptist collegiate ministers throughout the state in preparation for a pilot project as early as this fall.

Addressing board members, executive director-treasurer Gary Hollingsworth said South Carolina Baptists must be strategic in order to reach the estimated 3.6 million lost people living in the state. He reminded the board of the convention’s vision, mission and purpose while elaborating on the value of its strategy, goals, actions, resources, and the importance of Holy Spirit-inspired passions.

“As we think bigger, we are trusting God to do things that only He can do,” Hollingsworth said.

— Julia Bell writes for the South Carolina Baptist Convention.