Florida messengers send 51% of CP budget to SBC
November 10, 2015
In an historic missions decision with global missions ramifications, messengers to the Florida Baptist State Convention approved a 2016 Cooperative Program budget that will send 51 percent to the Southern Baptist Convention and retain 49 percent for missions and ministries in the state.
“This epic, pacesetting decision will set a precedent in the Southern Baptist Convention,” said Mike Tatem, president of the State Board of Missions, after the momentous vote drew no opposition. “We are doing what the Southern Baptist Convention was called to do in 1845–to take the gospel to the nations.”
The vote of 912 registered messengers represented a dramatic shift in funding from the 2015 Cooperative Program budget that retained 59 percent in the state and sent 41 percent to the SBC.
In 2010 Florida Baptist messengers recommended that the state divide its CP budget 50/50. A seven-year plan was approved to move to the goal, but in five years, little movement was made toward achieving it.
At the time of his election as executive director-treasurer of the Florida Baptist Convention in May, Tommy Green said he intended to overhaul the Convention’s Cooperative Program budget to send 51 percent to the SBC, leading Florida Baptists to give away more than they keep.
“Thank you, Dr. Green, for having the vision for doing what the state convention had wanted to do for a long time,” Tatem said. “For helping us achieve our goal and do the Great Commission.”
During the discussion before the vote, messenger Joel Breidenbaugh of Sweetwater First Baptist Church in Longwood voiced a similar comment, “Tommy Green, you’re an answer to prayer.”
The only other comment before the vote was a question from Jeff May, pastor of First Baptist Church in Fort McCoy, who asked for clarification of a line item expenditure in the Florida budget.
Even with the decrease in the Florida portion of the 2016 budget, Tatem assured messengers that the Florida Baptist cooperating ministries—Baptist College of Florida, Florida Baptist Children’s Homes, Florida Baptist Witness, and Florida Baptist Financial Services—will receive the same or more money than 2015. Also, Florida Baptists’ program budgets would receive an additional $750,000 in funding from the 2015 budget.
By Barbara Denman, Florida Baptist Convention