By Vicki Brown, Word&Way Associate Editor
Roach — The Baptist General Convention of Missouri and the Baptist General Convention of Texas have joined forces for cooperation and mission outreach. Meeting at Windermere Baptist Conference Center on March 4, BGCM board members unanimously approved a three-year partnership agreement with the BGCT.
Texas' Executive Board already has approved the proposal, which includes a provision to renew for an additional three years.
Under the partnership, leaders from the two conventions will meet annually to develop joint strategic initiatives for the year. Each annual agreement will include commitments from both sides for resources, including materials, financial assistance and personnel.
BGCM president Bill Miller noted the agreement is based on mutual understanding and respect rather than a "big brother/little brother" relationship.
BGCT executive director Charles Wade will attend the BGCM annual meeting set for March 31-April 1 at First Baptist Church, Lee's Summit.
Also on March 4, BGCM directors approved two missions partnerships, one with WorldconneX and one with Guatemalan Baptists.
In a three-year agreement with WorldconneX, the BGCM will include the organization in its budget and designate WorldconneX among giving options for its affiliate churches. The BGCM also will host an annual planning session.
WorldconneX has agreed to facilitate international mission opportunities for the BGCM, to offer short- and long-term mission projects for individuals, to link churches together for mission trips and to provide conferences on missions in the 21st century.
Through WorldconneX, BGCM churches will be able to participate in mission projects in Egypt, Sudan and Nigeria.
The organization also would assist BGCM churches in sending and supporting their own long-term missionaries.
BGCM board members agreed to a three-year partnership with the Guatemalan Baptist Convention. The Missouri convention will coordinate volunteers to serve in the Central American country, pray for the work there and send designated contributions for the ministry.
The Guatemalan convention will coordinate projects and work with Missouri volunteers. It also will seek and coordinate Guatemalans to minister in specific projects in Missouri.
In other action at the March 4 session, board members approved proposed 2006-07 cooperative program and board budgets. Those budgets will be presented to and must be adopted by messengers to the annual meeting.
The proposed $598,000 cooperative program budget reflects a 4.8 percent increase over the 2005-06 budget. It projects $524,000 in cooperative program gifts, $48,000 in designated gifts for special projects, $20,000 from the annual state missions offering, $5,000 in interest and $1,000 in miscellaneous income.
Of the total cooperative program budget, 75 percent is earmarked for BGCM causes and 25 percent for worldwide missions.
Fifty-nine percent of the cooperative program allocations budget is designated for BGCM ministries, including $135,400 for administration and $58,800 for operations. One percent, or an estimated $5,240, will be placed in reserve.
The remainder, about $109,720, will be used for the BGCM's initiatives and mission activities.
Some $214,840 will support Missouri institutions, agencies and ministries. Eight percent of cooperative program gifts has been designated for Word&Way, with The Baptist Home, Windermere Baptist Conference Center, Missouri Baptist University and William Jewell College to each receive 6 percent.
The Missouri Baptist Foundation will receive 3 percent, and 2 percent will be given to the Missouri Baptist Children's Home.
Central Baptist Theological Seminary, Hannibal-LaGrange College and Southwest Baptist University will each receive 1 percent. An additional 1 percent has been designated for Woman's Missionary Union projects.
Board members set distribution percentages for four mission initiatives. BGCM mission partnerships will receive 40 percent. The Baptist World Alliance will receive 30 percent, with its affiliate, the North American Baptist Fellowship, to receive 20 percent. Ten percent has been designated for WorldconneX.
BGCM directors set the organization's 2006 state missions offering goal at $30,000. Two-thirds of the total will benefit BGCM ministries, with $13,000 earmarked for church planting assistance and $7,000 for mission partnerships.
The remaining $10,000 includes $4,000 each for The Baptist Home and the Children's Home and $2,000 for the Freeway Foundation. (03-10-06)