Columbia -- The Baptist General Convention of Missouri board of directors authorized executive director Jim Hill to prepare a proposed budget to be presented to the board at its March 4, 2005, session.
The board also approved an investment agreement with the Missouri Baptist Foundation. Since the BGCM does not have a finance committee, convention officers will direct how funds will be invested.
According to executive assistant Veronica Kramer, gifts to the BGCM are pacing ahead of last year. Called the largest Cooperative Program month in the convention's history, November saw income of some $49,773. Expenses stood at nearly $29,329 for the month.
Income for the fiscal year, which began July 1, was almost $200,699, with expenses at nearly $146,642.
In his report, Hill noted that the BGCM's leadership team is about halfway through strategy planning. A survey is available online at baptistgcm.org for input from ministers and laypersons.
"There is a lot of openness, particularly among laypeople, to changes in denominational life," Hill said. He noted that denominations that focus on providing value to their constituents are the ones that will thrive.
Results of the strategy planning effort will be presented at the board's March meeting. Directors approved a request for a retreat March 4-5 to fully discuss the plan and to finalize arrangements for the convention's annual session in April.
The board approved a recommendation for production of an 8- to 10-minute video about the strategy plan. The video will be shown at the 2005 annual meeting and will be distributed to churches. The estimated cost of $10,000 will be covered by the special projects fund.
Directors also approved a recommendation by the church relations and missions committee to give stewardship materials to churches that request them. The BGCM would purchase materials from Resource Churches, which Hill owns, at cost and provide the materials free to congregations.
The board welcomed new member, Kathy Scott of St. Louis, and heard a report from Frank Shock, president of Windermere Baptist Conference Center.
L.D. and Peggy Silvey were recognized as BGCM Founders. They received a plaque for giving $10,000 or more to the convention.