Board OKs record budget, East Asia partnership
DAVIS—In a plenary session replete with action items Sept. 22, members of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma’s Board of Directors approved a record budget for 2010, established a three-year missions partnership with East Asia beginning in January, elected Douglas E. Baker executive editor of the Baptist Messenger, approved a Falls Creek Master Plan and amended a bylaw outlining how members of the Board are elected, among other items of business.
Meeting in the Jenny V. Massey Chapel in the tabernacle at the Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center, the Board unanimously approved a proposed 2010 Cooperative Program objective of $26 million, designating that 60 percent of the amount be distributed to BGCO causes and 40 percent to the Southern Baptist Convention.
The 2010 budget is up 3.2 percent from the 2009 budget of $25.2 million, with the slight increase mainly driven by increases in operating costs.
“For example, we have budgeted for a 12 percent increase in medical insurance next year, but hope it comes in under that,” said BGCO Finance Team leader Kerry Russell after the meeting.
The Board unanimously endorsed Baker, who came to the BGCO from the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, and has served as Communications Team Leader since August. Baker holds a B.A. in Music and Philosophy from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, La., an M.Div. in Historical Theology from New Orleans Seminary and an M.A. in Government from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
The Board also voted to extend the BGCO’s existing partnership with the Utah-Idaho Southern Baptist Convention through Dec. 31, 2011, in addition to establishing the new agreement with East Asia.
Executive Director-Treasurer Anthony L. Jordan, in his comments to the Board, referenced successful partnerships in Malawi and Mexico and those expiring with Armenia and Bangladesh.
“We have been praying for more than a year about where God would have us go, and He has led us to East Asia,” said Jordan, who recently returned from the area with a group who took a vision trip there led by Sam Porter, BGCO partnership missions specialist. “It is a remarkable place with a remarkable opportunity for Oklahoma Baptists to make an eternal impact for the Kingdom of God.
“I truly believe this could be one of the one of the most exciting times in Oklahoma Baptist history as we connect in this place with the privilege of sharing the Good News of Christ and being involved with others in helping to train them to do so.”
The Falls Creek Master Plan was designed by Fletemeyer and Lee Associates Inc. of Boulder, Colo. It includes four phases for future development at the conference center.
“It’s really a conceptual design,” Jordan said. “It just gives us a concept of where we’re going to head in the future. That’s not to say it’s not important. It’s very important. It’s a direction we are setting for ourselves, but changes to that direction and any actual building that would be done has to come back to this Board for approval.”
The Board amended Article 1, Section 1, Paragraph 4 of the BGCO Bylaws, which delineates how the Convention’s 64 board members are elected. The change basically increases the number of at-large Board members from three to 11. New language allows for at-large members to be elected from any area of the state and allows at-large members who move from one associational area to another to retain their seat on the board.
In other business, the Board:
• Accepted the report from the Audit Committee, prepared and presented by Eide Bailey, CPAs, and approved it to be included in the Convention Annual for distribution to all churches.
• Approved a request by the Audit Committee to adopt a resolution adopting the Oklahoma State Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act.
• Accepted the Belvin Cabin from Indian Falls Creek and in return, approved the establishment of a $50,000 endowment with the Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma, the proceeds of which will be used to benefit Indian Falls Creek.
• Approved a motion that as of Jan. 1, 2010, the BGCO cease providing matching contributions to the GuideStone 403(b)(9) Church Retirement Plan for current Plan members. New Plan enrollees serving in qualifying ministry positions determined by the BGCO may receive matching contributions during the first 12 calendar months of their enrollment.
• Approved a motion that as of Jan. 1, 2010, the BGCO cease providing disability and survivor protection benefits related to the GuideStone 403(b)(9) Church Retirement Plan for people serving in non-ministry positions.
• Approved the four-day work week for Baptist Building staff, which has been in effect during a test period since January, be codified in the Personnel Policy Manual, effective immediately, and approved respective revisions to the dress code, holidays, sick leave, vacations and working hours sections of the Manual.
• Approved a request by the Oklahoma Baptist University Board of Trustees for approval of amendments to the university’s bylaws with regard to meeting dates of the Board of Trustees.
The Board also heard updates from the heads of the various BGCO affiliates: David Whitlock, president of OBU; Tony Kennedy, president of Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children; Robert Kellogg, president of the BFO and Bill Pierce, president of Baptist Village Communities.
The next meeting of the BGCO Board will be Feb. 2, 2010 at the Baptist Building in Oklahoma City.