For several years, the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions (SBOM) has been working its budget toward a 50–50 split of funds with the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). But that gradual goal was accomplished in one fell swoop this year as Samford University in Birmingham withdrew from state convention funding, freeing up $3.5 million.
With that in mind, messengers to the annual meeting Nov. 14 at Whitesburg Baptist Church, Huntsville, unanimously approved a $37 million budget for 2018 — $3 million less than the current year’s $40 million budget.
The Samford withdrawal from Cooperative Program (CP) funding was announced by university officials July 7. The plan is for Samford to continue in partnership with the Alabama Baptist State Convention but without any CP support.
With the extra $551,231 left over from Samford after the $3 million reduction in the budget, an extra $107,576 is headed to SBC causes to accomplish the parity goal.
In Alabama three entities also will receive a boost in funding. Judson College in Marion will get an additional $101,293, University of Mobile (UM) is allotted an extra $242,362 and the Board of Aid receives an extra $100,000.
And while the money for Board of Aid and A. Earl Potts’ scholarships will continue to fund existing Samford student recipients, those funds will not be granted to Samford students going forward.
Budget amounts for all other entities will remain at 2017 levels, according to the SBOM report.
In addition to approving the budget, messengers also approved selling the property of Auburn University’s Baptist Campus Ministries (BCM) to the City of Auburn in exchange for new space for Auburn’s BCM and money to renovate the nine other BCM properties around the state.
“Numerous developers from Auburn and beyond have approached us in the past about purchasing that property, and we rejected those ideas because we like our current location,” said Bobby DuBois, SBOM associate executive director.
In those cases, selling the property would’ve meant moving away from student traffic, he said.
But the City of Auburn’s proposal seems to be a win-win, he said — they would tear down the existing building and construct a parking deck with a new BCM facility contained on the ground floor. They also would deed 15 parking spaces to the Auburn BCM.
In this arrangement, DuBois said, the Auburn BCM gets an updated facility and all the other state BCMs get a facelift too.
“We would finish at the end of two years debt free,” he said.
Also during the SBOM report:
• DuBois said the new SBOM building in Prattville is near completion with an anticipated operational date of mid-January.
• Messengers approved the auditor’s report of SBOM.
• Messengers affirmed the special offering goals for 2018 — Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, $12 million; Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, $6.1 million; Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes & Family Ministries, $3 million; Myers-
Mallory State Missions Offering, $1 million; and Global Hunger Offering, $800,000.
• SBOM honored John Yarbrough of Mount Vernon Baptist Church, Collinsville, in Lookout Mountain Baptist Association as Missions Volunteer of the Year.
• The convention also honored three ministers with the Troy L. Morrison Leadership/Church Health Award.
Prior to the SBOM report, Rick Lance, SBOM executive director, announced that Alabama Baptists had given $1,281,000 for disaster relief assistance during 2017, and that as of Nov. 13, $957,000 had been given to the 2017
Myers-Mallory State Missions Offering. He felt confident the $1 million goal would be met by the end of the year.
Lance also pointed out “The Christmas Code” books given to each messenger and how they were a way to support GuideStone Financial Resources’ Mission Dignity program.
SBOM also is working alongside Southern Baptists to support the North American Mission Board’s (NAMB) new Gospel Conversation Challenge, Lance said. “We are trying to help NAMB reach its goal of 1 million people having an intentional gospel conversation.”
In other SBOM news, Morgan Bailey, pastor of Canaan Baptist Church, Bessemer, was re-elected chairman and Mike Goforth, pastor of Sardis Baptist Church, Boaz, was re-elected vice chairman. And SBOM’s Billie Davis will continue to serve as secretary. (TAB)