State Board affirms retirement announcement of Green/adopts recommendations related to November ballot issues/celebrates 2023 ministry milestones

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JACKSONVILLE–In the Spring 2024 meeting, the Florida Baptist State Board of Missions learned that Tommy Green, Florida Baptists’ executive director-treasurer since June 2015, will be retiring effective Dec. 31, 2024; adopted recommendations related to two ballot issues facing Floridians this November, and celebrated 2023 Florida Baptist church ministry highlights.

Green retirement

Making his retirement announcement to the State Board of Missions on April 4, 2024, Green read Psalm 3:3-5. He then described how he and his wife Karen had been brokenhearted emotionally and relationally following the unexpected death of their son, Philip Green, on Aug. 28, 2023, and then how he had been brokenhearted physically when he experienced a heart attack on Feb. 3, 2024.

“Florida Baptists have a deep and strong commitment to reach Florida for Christ.”

Tommy Green Executive director-treasurer, Florida Baptist Convention

 

Green said he was reminded of the “depths of God’s love” through these heartbreaking experiences.

“God has made it clear to me and Karen through this journey that we are in a season of transition,” he said.

As Green announced his retirement, he said, “This decision comes after fervent prayer and profound gratefulness for the opportunities that God has placed in my life.”

 

He thanked the State Board of Missions “for being supportive of me in this journey of leadership” and said, The privilege of serving Florida Baptist churches as executive director -treasurer is a gift and blessing from the Lord. Florida Baptist churches are amazing and set the standard and model leadership for the Southern Baptist Convention in generosity, evangelism, church planting, church revitalization, missions, next gen and many other ministry areas.

Green shared that he and his wife will be relocating to Tennessee to be near their two sons and their families.

“We are looking forward to this season of ministry as TPop and GG, Green said.

Aaron Burgner, president of the State Board of Missions, announced that, in keeping with the state convention’s approved search process, he will appoint an executive director-treasurer search committee composed of nine members of the State Board of Missions, two of whom shall be ex officio voting members: the president of the Florida Baptist State Convention and the presidentof the State Board of Missions. Burgner also will appoint the chairman and vice-chairman of the search committee.

Recommendations

The State Board of Missions, acting in its ad interim role on behalf of messengers to the Florida Baptist State Convention, adopted two recommendations related to November 2024 ballot issues in the state of Florida.

The first recommendation voices opposition to proposed Florida state constitutional Amendment3, titled “Adult Personal Use of Marijuana,” that would legalize the use of recreational marijuana.

The recommendation calls on Florida Baptist pastors “to diligently encourage their church members to promote and vote the defeat of Amendment 3,” and also directs the Florida Baptist executive director-treasurer “to take all reasonable actions to notify and create awareness among Florida Baptists on the importance of voting against Amendment 3.”

The second recommendation voices affirmation for the “protection of human life” and opposition to the proposed constitutional amendment titled, “Amendment to Limit Government Interference with Abortion,” that “seeks to practically allow any and all abortion in the state of Florida with no limitations.”

Florida Baptists “have a long-standing history of speaking in the public square regarding the protection of all human life from conception to natural death,” according to background information related to the recommendation.

The adopted recommendation states, “Florida Baptists are aggrieved at the heart-wrenching loss of human life that occurs through abortion. We are further distraught at the drastic death toll that will be incurred if Floridians pass the proposed constitutional amendment titled Amendment to Limit Government Interference with Abortion.’”

The recommendation:

Calls on Floridians “to stand against this ballot initiative and to protect the pre-born children who would face needless death if the proposed amendment passes,”
Authorizes the Florida Baptist executive director-treasurer or his designee “to engage with all like-minded organizations in the state of Florida that share the same concern of protecting the pre-born,”
Requests the Florida Baptist Children’s Homes (One More Child), “to expend any and all effort … to educate Floridians of the detrimental impact on human life this amendment would have and to re-allocate and direct Cooperative Program financial resources provided by Florida Baptist churches to fulfill this education campaign,” and
Authorizes the Florida Baptist executive director-treasurer “to utilize up to $100,000 of unrestricted reserves to partner in additional initiatives designed to educate churches and fellow Floridians on the egregious damage that would be done if this amendment were adopted by voters.”

 

2023 Florida Baptist church milestones of ministry

The Florida Baptist State Board of Missions celebrated milestones of ministry by Florida Baptist churches during 2023. These statistics were gathered through the 2023 Annual Church Profile.

In 2023, Florida Baptist churches reported:

Total membership: 771,227

Worship attendance: 410,023, representing a 12.9% increase from 2022

Sunday School: 232,419, representing a 10.3% increase from 2022

Vacation Bible School: 122,959, representing a 12.03% increase from 2022

Mission engagements: 76,024

Baptisms: 29,285, representing a 32.8% increase from 2022

State Board members also heard a report on church planting in Florida. A partnership, which launched in 2019 between the Florida Baptist Convention and Send Network Florida, has resulted in Florida Baptist churches planting or replanting 222 churches during the past five years, 2019-2023, with a survivability rate of 93.2%, or 207 churches currently active today.

The numbers confirm that “Florida Baptists have a deep and strong commitment to reach Florida for Christ,” Green said.

Financial snapshot

Florida Baptists’ financial report revealed that the Convention has received in January-February 2024 a total of $5,292,449 toward the 2024 Florida Baptist Convention Cooperative Program budget of $29,500,000. The two-month total receipts represent $375,782 over budget projections. Of the total receipts, 51% was forwarded to the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee for distribution denomination-wide, and 49% was retained in Florida. Additionally, during the first two months of 2024, Florida Baptists have given $4,833,773 in designated gifts.

During its April meeting the State Board of Missions approved a 2024 Maguire State Mission Offering goal of $940,000. All of the state mission offering funds are earmarked for church planting in Florida.

The State Board of Missions will next meet Aug. 29-30 at the Baptist Building in Jacksonville.

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