ST. LOUIS – Messengers to the Missouri Baptist Convention's 178th annual session approved new mission partnerships, adopted a 2013 budget and set offering goals, when they met in St. Louis Oct. 29-31.
Messengers approved a four-year partnership with Hudson River Valley Baptist Association, near Albany in upstate New York, to begin Jan. 1. The association had requested the partnership.
The Southern Baptist Convention International Mission Board's Connecting Cluster of the Americans and the Puebla/Tlaxcala, Mexico Regional Baptist Convention also sought a partnership with the MBC. Messengers approved a four-year agreement with the Mexican regional body, which also will start Jan. 1.
The regional convention's strategy calls for 10,000 baptisms, 100 church starts and 50 new congregations by 2020. Both agreements include a possible extension of up to four years.
In addition, messengers agreed to extend for another year a partnership with the IMB's Sub-Sahara Africa Affinity Peoples for the Western Gateway Cluster.
The cluster includes Senegal, Gambia, Mali, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Cape Verde.
Messengers approved a $14,645,000 Cooperative Program goal, with 5 percent earmarked for shared ministry items. The balance would be distributed at 37.5 percent for Southern Baptist Convention causes and 62.5 percent for MBC work.
The CP allocations budget plan continues to offer congregations the option to give Cooperative Program monies through Plan A, which includes a line item to cover fees for the MBC's ongoing legal action against formerly affiliated agencies. Lawsuits against The Baptist Home, the Missouri Baptist Foundation, Missouri Baptist University and Windermere Baptist Conference Center are still pending.
Churches can give through Plan B, which does not include the Agency Restoration Fund. Instead, the plan increases the percentage to the Missouri Baptist Children's Home from 2.75 in Plan A to 3.75 and to Christian higher education operations from 11.9 percent to 13.9 percent.
The executive board budget will receive 44.85 percent, an estimated $6,239,868, of CP funds. Messengers approved the executive board recommendation that any CP receipts above the goal would be distributed 50-50 between the MBC and the SBC.
Offering goals were set for 2013 including $4 million for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions, $1.75 million for the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions, $250,000 for World Hunger and $700,000 for the Rheubin L. South Missouri Missions Offering, which would be collected in 2013 and distributed in 2014.
In addition, messengers approved changes to Southwest Baptist University's charter to restrict sale of property in Bolivar. The institution had the authority to deal with property, including that designated as gifts. The change continues to allow that authority, except for main campus property in Bolivar.