Executive Board taps
Sanchez, sets $51 million budget
___By Marv Knox
___The Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Board voted last week to propose a 2000 BGCT operating budget of more than $51 million, including almost $15 million earmarked for starting and strengthening churches.
___The board also elected Charles Wade, pastor of First Baptist Church in Arlington, as the convention's next executive director. He will succeed Bill Pinson, who will retire Jan. 31.
___And the board made history by electing its first Hispanic chairman, Rudy Sanchez,
pastor of Primera Iglesia Bautista Mexicana de Dallas.
Pastor, Primera Iglesia Bautista, Dallas
___The $51.15 million budget will be presented to messengers to the 1999 BGCT annual session in El Paso, Nov. 8-9.
___The new budget goal represents an increase of $1.42 million (2.8 percent) over the 1999 budget.
___The primary base of support for the operating budget is $46.75 million in Cooperative Program unified budget contributions from Texas Baptist churches. That amount reflects an increase of $950,000 (2 percent) over the Cooperative Program goal for this year's budget.
___Other sources of support for the proposed budget include endowment, $2.16 million; Southern Baptist North American Mission Board, $1.2 million; the Mary Hill Davis Offering for Texas Missions, $715,383; outside fees, $211,844; and Southern Baptist LifeWay Christian Resources, $118,560.
___The new budget tabs $14.97 million for sharing the gospel through starting and strengthening churches. That figure represents almost 30 percent of the budget and is a 4.2 percent increase over funds marked for the same purposes in the current budget.
___The start/strengthen churches portion of the budget will fuel Texas Baptists' goal of starting almost one church a day throughout the year. It will support the work of the State Missions Commission, Texas Baptist Men, the minister/church relations office, volunteer ministries and prayer and spiritual awakening efforts.
___The 2000 budget also sets aside $6.2 million for ministry to human needs. That amounts to 12 percent of the overall budget and is a gain of 1.75 percent over this year's budget.
___The human needs ministry funds will support healthcare ministry, which served 2.2 million people in the past year; aging ministry, which provided care to 4,744 people; and childcare ministry, which improved the lives of 37,602 children. In addition to the physical needs met by these ministries, they also resulted in more than 2,200 professions of faith in Jesus Christ.
___The next budget additionally earmarks $21.85 million for Christian education and other efforts to equip God's people and develop Christian families. That total is 42.72 percent of the complete budget. It is 2 percent more than the amount set aside for similar purposes in this year's budget.
___This portion of the budget will support Christian education programs and schools, the Christian Life Commission and the Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs.
___Next year's budget also will set aside $8.01 million for missions and ministry support, an amount that reflects 15.67 percent of the overall goal and an increase of about 2.5 percent.
___This portion of the budget will help underwrite the Ministers Counseling Service, Texas Baptist Missions Foundation, Texas Baptist Historical Collection, the ministers' protection plan insurance and general convention administration.
___Cooperative Program funds received in excess of the $46.75 million goal will be used to support starting new churches, multi-cultural missions and ministries, the convention's family emphasis, theological education, an emphasis on Baptist distinctives, strengthening churches, childcare ministries and the BGCT's Texas 2000 missions/ministry/church-starting campaign.
___The $46.75 million Cooperative Program goal represents about two-thirds of anticipated church contributions. The other third, about $23.4 million, will be forwarded to worldwide Baptist causes, such as the Southern Baptist Convention and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, as directed by the churches.
___In other business, the Executive Board:
___ Elected Rudy Sanchez as its first Hispanic chairman.
___"A few short years into the new millennium, more than half of all Texas Baptists will be Hispanic Texas Baptists," said Paul Kenley, pastor of Baptist Temple in Houston, who nominated Sanchez for the post. Sanchez is the kind of leader who bridges Hispanic, Anglo and other cultures in Texas, Kenley added.
___In addition to his service as a pastor, Sanchez has been president of the Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas, second vice president of the BGCT, a member of four BGCT boards including his current position on the Baptist Standard board of directors, and a member of numerous convention committees.
___Sanchez prepared for ministry at Howard Payne University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
___The board also elected Louis Cobbs, a retired administrator with the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board, as vice chairman.
___During his tenure with the mission board, Cobbs oversaw the appointment of 7,200 missionaries, said Mark Neeley, pastor of First Baptist Church in Mineola, who nominated him. Cobbs also was instrumental in founding the board's Journeyman program, which places young adults on the mission field for two-year assignments.
___Cobbs previously was Baptist Student Union director at the University of Texas at El Paso and Texas Tech and was associate director of the BGCT student work department. He is a member of First Baptist Church in Tyler and was interim director of missions for Smith Baptist Association.
___ Agreed to propose creation of two study committees, which will be considered by messengers to the BGCT annual session next month.
___One committee would study the "basis of associational formation." It was prompted by two recent developments. One is the creation of a "non-geographic" association by churches affiliated with the BGCT and several of its affiliated district associations, as well as churches affiliated with other state conventions. The other is a desire by some churches affiliated with the Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas to create a Hispanic association that would relate to the BGCT but would span the territory currently covered by several BGCT-affiliated associations.
___This committee is to have at least three laypeople, three church staff members, three directors of associational missions, three representatives of different racial and cultural groups and several BGCT staff members.
___The other committee would study the BGCT's relationship with churches aligned with another state convention in Texas. This proposal was prompted by formation of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, a group of conservatives disaffected with the BGCT who wish the BGCT would synchronize its efforts more closely with the Southern Baptist Convention.
___ Ratified changes in Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center documents regarding the nature of the Waco hospital's trustee board.
___Currently, the BGCT elects all the hospital's trustees. The new arrangement would ensure that the BGCT would elect a majority of trustees but would allow for election of some non-Baptist local trustees.
___The change is necessitated by an increasingly competitive environment, said Hillcrest President Richard Scott, who stressed the hospital would remain distinctively Baptist.
___"We're proud to be part of Texas Baptists. That's evident if you've ever been in our institution," Scott said. "We want to be definitely Baptist, Texas Baptist. But we want to be a community servant. It's important for the people of our community to know we're there for them."
___The hospital "will always operate within Christian ideals and aims of Texas Baptists" and adhere to the 1963 Baptist Faith & Message doctrinal statement, he pledged.
___ Affirmed the concept of the Texas Baptist Heritage Center. The BGCT Administrative Committee previously supported the idea of creating a heritage center, possibly in the Baptist Building in Dallas, "affording an opportunity for visitors to understand not only the past and the basic doctrines, but also to see how these are being put to work in the present."
___The center would be financed through purchase of materials, gifts and endowment, income from funds set aside for that purpose and possibly through Cooperative Program funds in the future.
___In addition to its materials and displays, the center annually would bestow four awards to highlight Texas Baptist history and recognize outstanding Texas Baptists.
___ Authorized formation of a scholarship endowment fund to provide support for students attending BGCT-related schools, universities and seminaries. Supporters of this move particularly discussed the need to provide financial aid for ethnic students who wish to attend BGCT schools.
___ Affirmed a suggested guideline change for the committee that nominates trustees for institutional boards, defining a "cooperating Texas Baptist church" as one that "positively supports the ministry, missions and budget of the BGCT." The guideline further notes positive support will be determined by the committee "considering all forms of participation which the committee deems relevant."
___ Learned of creation of the William M. Pinson Executive Director Discretionary Fund by the High Plains Christian Ministries Center in Amarillo.
___The fund, named for the retiring BGCT executive director, will provide for distribution of up to $50,000 per year at the discretion of the BGCT executive director.
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