Flanked by more than two dozen Florida Baptist pastors, Tommy Green, executive director-treasurer of the Florida Baptist Convention, presented a gift of $3,136,500 to the Southern Baptist Convention during the Executive Committee report June 13 in Phoenix.

The gift was 51 percent of $6,150,000 received from the sale of the former Baptist Building located in downtown Jacksonville, which was completed June 7.

The 51 percent allocation is in keeping with the Convention’s CP budget that sends 51 percent to the Cooperative Program and retains 49 percent for Florida Baptist ministries.

“This gift is over and above our regular CP giving and specific to the sale of this property,” said Green, to the applause of thousands in attendance.

He noted that the pastors on the platform “represent our Florida Baptist family, among many, who are seated in the Convention Center. Florida Baptists enthusiastically in 2015 made a strategic decision concerning the division of Cooperative Program dollars given in our state.”

Prior to 2015, Florida had retained 59 percent of CP gifts in the state. The 2015 decision “led to a paradigm shift which changed our CP formula to releasing 51 percent to the SBC CP and retaining 49 percent of CP dollars in Florida.”

Green was named as Florida’s state exec in 2015 and immediately began the process of shifting more funds to the SBC. “51/49 is more than a business plan but a consistent driving missions mandate for Florida Baptists,” he said.

“This decision of sending more than we keep of CP dollars from our churches has resulted in a reversal of a decade-long decline in CP dollars in Florida,” Green shared with the Convention.

“We are now trending upward and rejoice in a $3 million increase from Florida Baptist churches to the SBC CP this past year. Florida Baptist ministries continue at a high level, and we are grateful to report a 4.5 percent increase in baptisms through Florida Baptist churches this past year.”

“Our prayer is that God will multiply these dollars in taking the Good News of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth.”

Acknowledging the gift, Frank Page, president, SBC Executive Committee said the money will “go straight into the mission fund” and expressed appreciation to Florida Baptists on “behalf of all Southern Baptists and the sake of the gospel.”

The money retained in Florida provided $2.3 million for the purchase of a 28,568-square foot Convention Building in South Jacksonville; $700,000 to endow the John Sullivan Chair of Baptist History at the Baptist College of Florida; and $13,500 for ministry in the state.

By Barbara Denman, Florida Baptist Convention, June 13, 2017