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No growth 2013 CP budget approved; SBC increases by one percent
By Barbara Denman
August 28, 2012

JACKSONVILLE—A stagnant 2013 Cooperative Program budget of $31.6 million–an amount identical to the 2012 budget—was approved by the Budget-Allocations Committee of the State Board of Missions during its annual meeting Aug. 16 in Jacksonville.

The budget, based on gifts from Florida Baptist churches through the Cooperative Program from June 1, 2011 to May 31, 2012, will increase giving to the Southern Baptist Convention by one percent to 41.5 percent. The increase in the SBC portion sustains a commitment by Florida Baptists to raise the percentage allocated nationally to an even 50/50 percent division of funds between the national and state entities.

“We are on track to be 50/50 in the next seven years,” said John Sullivan, executive director-treasurer of the Florida Baptist Convention.

The $31.6 million will be divided between the SBC, 41.5 percent; Florida Baptist Convention operating budget, 46.60 percent; and Florida Baptist agencies and institutions, 11.81 percent.

The budget proposal must be approved by the full Board during its Sept.21 meeting and then by the messengers to the Florida Baptist State Convention when it meets Nov.12-13 in Orlando.

The 50/50 split was approved by messengers to the 2010 Florida Baptist State Convention meeting in Brandon from a recommendation made by the Imagine If Great Commission Resurgence Task Force. As part of that recommendation, messengers also made a commitment to increase CP giving by Florida Baptist churches.

Sullivan noted, however, that CP giving from churches has not increased as anticipated, as shown in the flat budget. “The bad news is it hasn’t gone up; the good news is it hasn’t gone down.”

He warned that the development of the 2014 budget will be extremely critical as the Convention absorbs expected budget cuts from the North American Mission Board (NAMB), which jointly funds mission and ministry efforts in the state that are mutually beneficial to the goals of both entities.

To balance the budget with the proposed NAMB cuts, coupled with sluggish giving, will require additional adjustments as “we live within our income,” he said.

“We are going to do our very best in cutting expenses as we increase the income side,” he promised.

Sullivan noted that since 2005 the Convention has “pared out $10 million out of the budget” and downsized the staff by 53 employees, or 25 percent of its work force. “So we have downsized. We have kept our word. We have cut our expenses,” he said.

“So we are going to have to share the pain,” he said.

Sullivan noted that State Convention agencies and institutions have not shared in the reduction of expenses made to the overall Convention budget. “They have gotten full percentage every time. In my proposal for 2014, they will share the pain with us rather than the state convention staff having to share all the pain,” he said

“No one in the Southern Baptist Convention has given up more than this staff—no raises for five years. They have given up their annuity except for two percent and there was a time when we could get up to 15 percent, so that is pretty drastic.”

Sullivan suggested that board members “pray and encourage others to give” to get “Cooperative Program monies up.”

In the proposed 2013 budget, the SBC will receive $13,114,000, or 41.5 percent, which represents a one percent increase from the 2012 allocations of $12,798,000, or 40.5 percent.

Two priority items also will receive funding—church protection plan, $600,400 or 1.90 percent; and church planting assistance, $632,000, or 2 percent of CP income.

The Florida Convention’s program budgets are earmarked to receive $13,520,900, which represents a 2.39 percent increase from the 2012 budget of $13,204,900.

Also, Florida Baptist institutions and agencies allocations will remain identical to the percentages and amounts as 2012—$3,732,700 or 11.81 percent; which will be divided as: The Baptist College of Florida, $1,738,000 or 5.5 percent  for general education support and $221,200, or 0.7 percent for ministerial tuition support; Florida Baptist Children’s Homes, $1,358,800, or 4.3 percent; Florida Baptist Witness, $339,700 or 1.075 percent; and Florida Baptist Financial Services for Florida Baptist Retirement Centers, Inc., $75,000 or .0237 percent.

The Convention will receive another $1,477,448 in budgetable income from a variety of sources including NAMB, Guidestone Financial Resources, LifeWay Christian Resources, Maguire State Mission Offering proceeds and interest and trust income.

Sullivan noted in the Convention’s total budget, 16.59 percent, or $3,976,152 is earmarked for church planting; another 3.44 percent or $824,541 will benefit church planting support.

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