The Budget-Allocations Committee will recommend a $30 million Florida Baptist Convention Cooperative Program budget for 2017—the largest annual increase in more than a decade–to the State Board of Missions when it meets Aug. 26.

The 2017 CP budget of $30 million will send 51 percent—or $15.3 million–of the anticipated gifts to the SBC Cooperative Program for global missions and keep 49 percent—or $14.7 million for mission and ministry causes in Florida. The 2017 proposed CP budget is a million dollars above the 2016 CP budget of $29 million representing a 3.45 percent increase over the previous year.

“This is the first time in 10 years the Convention has been in a position to recommend an annual budget amount significantly greater than the previous year’s budget,” said Tommy Green, executive director-treasurer of the Florida Baptist Convention. “This is a testimony to all God is doing through the churches of the Florida Baptist Convention through Cooperative Program giving.”

Upon approval by the State Board, the proposed budget will be considered by messengers to the Florida Baptist State Convention when it meets in Clearwater, Nov. 14-15.

Meeting at the Baptist Building in Jacksonville, Aug. 9,  Green told the committee that through July of this year, Florida Baptists have sent $9,154,000 in CP funds to the SBC–more than $2.2 million ahead of any year-to-date amount for the past six years. “That is a game changer,” said Green. “That’s our churches increasing worldwide missions resources.”

And within the state, Green said, Florida Baptists had partnered financially with 82 churches, either by assisting in the planting of churches or revitalizing congregations. “We are putting money back in the churches and watching God multiple the fishes and the loaves.”

The 2017 budget represents the second year of Florida Baptists’ commitment to ‘give away more than we keep,” by sending 51 percent of the receipts to the SBC. In 2015, 40 percent of the budget was earmarked for SBC causes and 60 percent remained in Florida.

This change in formula presented a “monumental year of transition in our ministry” said Green. Throughout the presentation to the committee, the state executive shared how the budget had been streamlined by reducing personnel and programs, and instituting cost-saving measures to cut the state convention’s  budget while sending more money to global missions.

The 16-member committee authorized a proposed budget for 2017 that will send $7,712,730 to the International Mission Board and $3,486,870 to the North American Mission Board, earmarking more than $11 million to world missions. Southern Baptists’ six seminaries and accompanying theological education ministries will receive $3,390,480, while the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commissions and SBC Executive Committee will receive more than $700,000 combined.

The $14.7 million budgeted for Florida in 2017 will be divided between: personnel, 35.70 percent;  operations, 9.38 percent; ministry investment, 2.2 percent; church planting, 8.44 percent; revitalization, 5.63 percent; regional ministries, 5.98 percent; Next Generation ministries, 4.93 percent; missions and ministries, 2.67 percent; State Board and FBSC meetings, 1.62 percent; and Cooperating Ministries of the Florida Baptist State Convention, 21.74 percent.

The $3.139,000 budget earmarked for Cooperating Ministries will provide increases to the Baptist College of Florida, expected to receive $1,650,000; Florida Baptist Children’s Homes, $1,140,000; and the Florida Baptist Witness, $284,000. The Florida Baptist Retirement Center will receive $65,000, which is the same amount as in 2016.

The 2017 proposed budget will provide additional monies for the Convention’s ministry investment to encourage and support pastors, missions and ministry, and multicultural church ministries.

The convention’s dramatic changes in CP giving has resulted in other state conventions reprioritizing their budgets, Green said.

“We are making a difference, using resources as efficiently as we can, to change a world desperate for the gospel.”

By Barbara Denman, Florida Baptist Convention, Aug. 22, 2016