Proposed Virginia Baptist budget almost $1 million lower than current - Word&Way

Proposed Virginia Baptist budget almost $1 million lower than current

LYNCHBURG, Va. — Virginia Baptists’ 2012 ministry budget will be almost $1 million less than their current one, if they adopt a proposal next month at the annual meeting of the Baptist General Association of Virginia.

The proposed $12.4 million budget — unveiled by the BGAV’s budget committee Oct. 4 — is $950,000 less than the $13,350,000 budget for 2011. That 7 percent decrease follows a 4.6 percent reduction adopted last year. The 2010 budget goal was $14 million.

Next year’s budget proposal was broadly based on anticipated receipts this year, budget committee member David Washburn told the Virginia Baptist Mission Board at its Oct. 4-5 meeting at Eagle Eyrie Baptist Conference Center. Washburn, pastor of First Baptist Church in Waynesboro, Va., presented the proposal in the absence of committee chair Jim Slatton, who was unable to attend the meeting.

At the end of September, total receipts were $11,638,444, BGAV treasurer Eddie Stratton told Mission Board members. He predicted receipts for the year to total about $12.3 million.

Virginia Baptists get their first glimpse at proposed budgets each year in October, when the documents are presented at the Mission Board’s fall meeting. Though the Mission Board does not approve BGAV budgets — they come as direct recommendations to the state association from the budget committee — the budget must be presented to the board for “information and counsel.”

The BGAV will vote on the budget during its annual meeting Nov. 8-9 in Richmond, Va.

Though the overall reduction is 7 percent, because of the way the budget is divided among state, national and international causes, allocations for most Virginia ministries actually will be reduced by more — some by as much as 15 percent. The Mission Board’s allocation — typically the largest line item in any given budget — is reduced by more than $460,000.

Apart from the reductions, three other changes are included in the budget.

  • For the first time, a specific line item for new church starts is included, with an allocation of $100,000.
  • Averett University in Danville, Va., is allocated $2,000, pending approval of a proposal to renew ties with the school, which were broken in 2005.
  • The allocation to Virginia Intermont College in Bristol, Va., is reduced from more than $22,000 to $2,000. Washburn said the school, despite several requests, had not submitted a covenant and other information required by the budget committee before allocating money.

The proposed 2012 budget allocates $8,928,000 to Virginia mission and ministries and $3,472,000 to world mission causes, both reductions of 7 percent. It continues to offer churches three pre-set giving tracks and a fourth customized option, all of which divide funds between Virginia ministries and national and international causes.

The percentage divisions in the pre-set giving tracks remain unchanged:

  • The World Missions 1 track provides 66 percent for Virginia ministries and 34 percent for Southern Baptist Convention ministries.
  • The World Missions 2 track provides 72 percent for Virginia ministries and 28 percent for a combination of Virginia, SBC, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and other ministries.
  • The World Missions 3 track provides 72 percent for Virginia ministries and 28 percent for CBF ministries.
  • The customized plan allows churches to select or delete any item in WM1, WM2 or WM3 and adjust percentages to reflect their own priorities.

In other action, the Mission Board adopted a 2012 budget of $7,248,664 for its own ministries, a 6 percent reduction. The board is funded by an allocation from the BGAV — which will be $6,075,842 in 2012 — and by other sources, including the Alma Hunt Offering for Virginia Missions, income from the Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board for shared ministries between the two and LifeWay Christian Resources of the SBC for promotion of its publications.

Robert Dilday ( is managing editor of the Religious Herald.