Supporting Our State Conventions
by Tom Goodman
January 17, 2015
Our church is affiliated with two state conventions, and we need to move toward equal support of both. I've asked our deacons and the members of our Missions Committee to discuss this.
Hillcrest has been affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT) for all of our 85 years in existence. A few years ago, we also became members of the Southern
Baptists of Texas Convention (SBTC).
Why belong to two state conventions? These days, if you want to share ministry and training opportunities with fellow Baptists, some are involved with the BGCT and some with the SBTC. So, for example, Gene just took a number of people in our Second
Half ministry to the Boomer Conference (sponsored by the BGCT). On the other hand, Steve has taken the youth to an evangelism conference hosted by the SBTC. Last fall I enjoyed attending the annual meetings with friends in both organizations. I wrote about it here. (In fact, some of what I'll propose below was first suggested in that article.)
If we're going to belong to both organizations, we need to move toward equal support of both. I'm proposing three things:
First: It's time we sent our gifts to the national SBC through the SBTC. The Southern Baptist Convention is the national denomination we belong to. Historically, Hillcrest has sent our SBC giving through the
state BGCT office. (If you're wondering, these days that amounts to about $44,000 a year.) I suggest we start sending that through the SBTC office. This change won't make any difference in what we give the BGCT or the SBTC. It's just a bookkeeping
move. But here's why I think it makes sense:
- The SBTC identifies itself as a convention of Southern Baptists serving in Texas.
- The BGCT identifies itself as a convention of Texas Baptists who may or may not have anything to do with the SBC.
I think the state convention that highlights our national SBC identity should have records of how we support the national SBC. And, at present, they have no record of this. The deacons have already voted to support the Missions Committee should the
committee decide to do this.
Second: It's time we moved toward equal support of the two state conventions within our budget. When we joined the SBTC a few years ago, we decided to stick our toe in the water with a small sum of $100 a month. This is in sharp contrast to
the approximately $2,250 per month we send to the BGCT. A few years ago, this was entirely understandable given our church's historic ties to the BGCT. But now that we're more and more deeply connected to both conventions, I think we need reflect
that with greater parity in our giving. I'd like to eventually see a 50-50 division of the funds we dedicate to state convention work. However, even if we could start with a 70-30 split with the BGCT retaining the lion's share, I think that's
progress. At present, if my math is correct, it's more like a 96-4 split.
Third: I also think our annual Fall state convention offering should be divided between the two conventions. We promote a state missions offering every September. This is in addition to the portion of our church budget that goes to support state
convention work. Even though we've been a part of two state conventions for several years, the collection for the state missions offering continues to go to just one convention -- the BGCT. Again, I suggest that we divide the collection so that an
equal amount goes to the two state conventions.
The way our church decision-making is structured, the Missions Committee has the assignment to decide on these matters. However, they benefit from the advice of the deacons, and they welcome your input. Pat Stivers is chairing our committee this
year, and Gene and I sit with the committee in an advisory role. So feel free to contact Pat or Gene or me if you
have any questions or suggestions. John Alvis is our deacon chair this year, and he would be happy to hear from you as well.
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