JEFFERSON CITY — Messengers to the Baptist General Convention of Missouri’s annual meeting later this month will be challenged to consider new approaches and strategies for 2011-2015.
Meeting at First Baptist Church, Jefferson City, on March 5, BGCM board members approved First Priority 2015, a five-year strategy plan that includes an additional name, strategy initiatives and directional goals.
The board will present the plan at its annual meeting March 26-27 at First Baptist Church, Lee’s Summit.
If the plan is approved, the BGCM will seek to meet one directional goal in each of seven strategic areas — resources, training, relationships, consultations, missions, church starting and institutions — in each of the plan’s five years.
The convention plans to wrap its ministry in a five-year emphasis to be called Share Hope, which would “encourage, equip and assist” churches to mobilize members through relational evangelism, congregational ministry and community advocacy.
Board members also approved structural changes the strategy planning team recommended, including adopting an alias or a “doing business as” name and retaining its current legal name.
If approved, BGCM would operate as ChurchNet: A Baptist Network Serving Churches. The Baptist General Convention of Missouri name would appear in smaller letters under the new name and would continue to be used as the convention’s legal corporate name.
Messengers also will be asked to adopt membership changes. If the plan is approved, messengers will be called members, and any congregation or individual could be a member.
Members could become “voting members” if they are members of a church that supports or if they personally support network/convention causes. Churches and individuals would no longer be required to give a specific dollar amount to retain membership status. Currently, a church or individual must give at least $200.
“Why would we want to limit it [membership]?” executive director Jim Hill asked. “My conviction is we want to open it to broaden it.”
The directors also approved four budgets to be presented for messenger approval. The cooperative giving budget was set at $440,000, with 68.5 percent to be used for BGCM ministries and the remainder to assist institutions and agencies. The proposed budget reflects an anticipated 4.2 percent decrease from the current adjusted budget.
The proposed board of directors budget also reflects a decrease — 6.1 percent lower than this year’s adjusted budget. The proposed 2010-2011 budget stands at $528,000.
The proposal anticipates $488,000 in cooperative giving income, $18,000 in special projects income or designated gifts, $12,000 from state missions gifts, $7,000 in interest and $3,000 as miscellaneous income.
The board anticipates using $359,640 for funding its ministry initiatives, administrative expenses and operational expenses. One percent will be placed in reserves.
The 2010 state missions offering goal was set at $18,000, with 66.7 percent to fund church planting assistance and mission partnerships. The Baptist Home and the Missouri Baptist Children’s Home will each receive 13.3 percent, with the remaining 6.7 percent to go to the FreeWay Foundation.
The board will recommend a world missions initiatives budget that divides any gifts received as 50 percent to BGCM mission partners, 20 percent to the North American Baptist Fellowship and 30 percent to the Baptist World Alliance.
In other action, directors approved a recommendation from the missions mobilization team to give $100 per month for one calendar year to help start a coffeehouse for the Bosnian ministry in St. Louis.
In addition, they agreed to allow the church planting team to also contribute $100 per month from its budget. Hill noted that the North American Baptist Fellowship has given the BGCM another seat on its executive committee.
Hill already represents the Missouri body, and Donna Potts of St. Louis has been named as the additional representative.