Florida Baptists approve 2024 budget, name change for The Baptist College of Florida

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LUTZ–With the theme, Manifest: Kingdom Clarity Amidst Cultural Chaos, Florida Baptists gathered for the 161st annual meeting at Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz to celebrate God’s work throughout the Sunshine State.

In his final sermon as Florida Baptist State Convention president, Paul Purvis presented a “one-point challenge” to his fellow Florida Baptists: “Determine to live your life surrendered to the rule of the King right where you are every day.”

Purvis, pastor of Mission Hill Church in Temple Terrace, focused on Acts 28:17-31, explaining that even as Paul manifested God’s kingdom, tracing how the entire Bible points to Jesus as the Messiah, believers today are God’s messengers. “God uses us to get His message out. He always has.

The meeting drew 1,484 in attendance, including 955 messengers, representing 491 churches, along with 529 guests.

Budget adoption/name change for he Baptist College of Florida

Messengers approved a 2024 Cooperative Program goal of $29.5 million to be distributed 51% to Southern Baptist Convention causes and 49% to Florida Baptist Convention causes. The 51/49 split is the same distribution Florida Baptists have approved since 2016, the first budget recommendation after Tommy Green became executive director-treasurer in 2015. The 2024 budget goal is unchanged from the 2023 budget goal.

A recommendation to change the name of The Baptist College of Florida to Baptist University of Florida was approved by messengers. Approval of this recommendation required two votes in subsequent years, and this year’s vote was the second of the two votes.

Officers elected

Four Florida Baptist leaders were elected to serve as 2023-24 officers of the Florida Baptist State Convention. Mike Orr, senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Chipley, was elected to serve his first term as FBSC president. David Perez, pastor of Iglesia Casa de Bendicion in St. Cloud, was elected to his first term as FBSC first vice president. Layperson Jeffery Crick, a family physician at Mayo Clinic and member of Fruit Cove Baptist Church in St. Johns, was elected to serve in his first term as FBSC second vice president. Janey Frost, who serves at The Point Church in Pensacola, was elected to a second term as FBSC recording secretary.

Other business

Messengers also gave final approval to a recommendation to codify the process used with the cancellation of the 2020 annual meeting during the COVID pandemic if a catastrophic event or other widespread emergency prevents the annual meeting of the FBSC from occurring in person in the future. Approval of this recommendation required two votes in subsequent years, and this year’s vote was the second of the two votes.

A recommendation to change the name of Florida Baptist Children’s Homes, Inc. to One More Child was approved by messengers. This name change requires two votes in subsequent years, and this year’s vote was the first of the two votes.

Messengers approved a revised annual meeting schedule for 2024–2026. For those three years, the annual meeting will be held at First Baptist Church, Orlando.

Messengers also approved resolutions of appreciation for Craig Culbreth, who retired March 31, 2023, after serving the Florida Baptist Convention in various roles since 1998; and Gary Townsend, who retired June 30, 2023, after serving the Convention in numerous roles since 2004.

In other business messengers approved a report on new Florida Baptist churches and affiliations as well as recommendations to amend the FBSC Constitution to remove references to the Florida Baptist Retirement Center, Inc., and various FBSC Bylaw revisions.

The 2024 FBSC annual meeting is set for Nov. 11-12 at First Baptist Church Orlando.

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