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Executive Board Affirms “Kingdom Funds for Kingdom Business”

Executive Board Affirms “Kingdom Funds for Kingdom Business”

Executive Board Affirms “Kingdom Funds for Kingdom Business”

The Executive Board of the South Carolina Baptist Convention met December 7 in Columbia to conduct year-end business and share ministry updates.

Chair Steve Hogg presided over the session that concluded with an historic vote from the board following a presentation from Executive Director-Treasurer Dr. Tony Wolfe given during the Budget, Finance, and Audit Committee (BFA) report. Wolfe introduced a 10-year, $10 million ministry plan vision for specific priorities using “uncommitted and undesignated funds.” The plan includes a thorough evaluation at the five-year mark. 

The 10×10 Plan

The strategic ministry plan designates seven new focus areas that Wolfe says are critical to future ministry. Three areas include a related staff assignment – African American engagement, sexual abuse resourcing, and the new Shepherd Team, a reorganized Convention team tasked with pastoral care. Remaining focus areas are on church planting, missions partnerships and mobilizations, One Family initiatives, and Bless SC initiatives, which address ministries to associations, schools, and other community partners.

Danny Nicholson, President of Connie Maxwell Children’s Ministries, other Ministry Partners, and board members join in worship.

“I am asking you to release these monies over the next 10 years to do the work God is leading us to,” Wolfe told the board. “God has called us to this time, this generation, and this moment. We should invest everything we have and give it all we’ve got. This strategy gives forward-facing momentum to invest Kingdom funds in Kingdom business.”

Wolfe said the plan was affirmed prior to the board presentation by the BFA committee and the Executive Advisory Team, comprised of executive board committee chairs, elected officers, and Convention staff leaders. Wolfe incorporated observations he has made through statewide engagements and ministries since assuming his leadership role on April 1, a process he described as his commitment to “listening, engaging with, and becoming a SCBaptist.” 

Citing the Convention’s “complex financial situation,” Wolfe systematically explained various funding streams, including the Cooperative Program giving and investments, while acknowledging existing financial and budget commitments. He also expressed appreciation for SCBaptist churches’ faithful giving, and that the intent of these gifts is for Kingdom work. Saying “God intends His Kingdom resources to flow through Kingdom channels,” Wolfe challenged that it is time to release some of the Convention’s resources from reserve. 

Tony Wolfe presents the 10×10 Plan before the Executive Board.

Unanimous Vote Toward Kingdom Work

“I believe God can replenish any resources, and also withhold blessing if we don’t obediently and sacrificially release what he’s entrusted to us,” he said. “Giving to these ministries is a boost that will extend beyond our executive board ministries to our churches who together operate as one family, on one mission, and one cooperative effort to push lostness back in South Carolina and around the globe.”

BFA Chair Talmadge Tobias told board members his committee thoroughly discussed Wolfe’s vision and the related funds, and assured them of the committee’s continued fiscal responsibilities. “In response to Dr. Wolfe’s plan, BFA requested an annual reporting process, and to a quarterly review process with another, smaller advisory group. The five-year evaluation will happen, but in any given year BFA has the authority to make a recommendation to the Executive Board if there are any areas of concern.”

The board discussed the motion. Several members affirmed the ministry plan concept, with one saying he imagines the decision could set other generous responses into motion to “receive even more money for Kingdom work.” Another member commented that this was a historic moment for SCBaptists “to be a part of what God is doing here today.” 

Board members unanimously voted to adopt the strategic ministry plan. “These are things that matter, and I praise God for that,” Hogg said following the vote. In other committee news, Tobias reported 2023 Cooperative Program receipts are lower than that of Fall 2022. BF&A approved Capital Investment Fund monies to cover Operations Committee requests totaling $322,000, and announced that $2 million SCBaptist funds have been put into certificates of needs for the Baptist Foundation Seed Program. 

New Business Items

The Chair presented a motion to the board regarding the previously discussed Executive Board Standing Rules. The board adopted the motion. “This clarifies issues that needed clarification, sets us up to have greater collaboration with the ED-T, and moves us forward in a positive and constructive way,” Hogg said of the decision.

The board heard two new items of business. Members voted to approve both a Nominating Committee recommendation for 2024 members serving in committee leadership, and a request to extend previously approved pastors’ scholarship funds designated for a February 2024 Israel tour. The rescheduled trip is now expected to take place in 2025, but will depend on the status of Israel’s ongoing conflict.

Dr. Evans Whitaker presents to the board regarding Anderson University.

Two ministry partners addressed the board. Anderson University President Evans Whitaker said enrollment is strong with 4,300 students currently studying at the school that is nationally-ranked in several areas of study. Evans announced Anderson was awarded a $1.1 million Lily Endowment and that the Baptist Educational and Missionary Convention has named Anderson’s Clamp Divinity its official school of choice in the state. 

Baptist Foundation of South Carolina President and CEO Nathan McCarthy reported his organization is healthy, growing, and that staff is “leading from our knees.” The Foundation is currently ranked as the best performing among endowments operating with under $1 billion in investments, and McCarthy reports the Seed Program lent $15.5 million to churches needing assistance in the past year. He said individuals and churches “have a chance to invest and grow SCBaptist churches through this ministry lending program,” and that the Foundation is committed to serve SCBaptists in their commitment to reaching the lost.   

The board voted to approve Chair Steve Cannon, Vice President Kyle Caudell, and Secretary Donna Gilmore as 2024 officers.

The board recognized several groups during the meeting. Convention staff member recognitions included anniversaries and retirements, with special note of Ken Owens’ 30th staff anniversary. Wolfe thanked outgoing executive board members and officers Chair Steve Hogg, Vice Chairman Ian Geimer, and Secretary Roland Dry. The board voted to approve the following 2024 officers: Chair Steven Cannon, pastor of Millbrook Baptist in Aiken; Vice President Kyle Caudell, pastor of North Anderson Baptist; and, Secretary Donna Gilmore, member of Roebuck Baptist in Spartanburg. 

Board members welcomed 2024 Convention Officers, including President Wes Church, President-Elect Chuck Sprouse, and Registration Secretary Mike McCormick. Church introduced the 2024 Annual Meeting theme “Til All Have Heard,” by saying he hoped to continue the missions momentum begun during the 2023 meeting. First Baptist Columbia will host the 2024 meeting, and Church said he plans to host as many auxiliary meetings as possible in downtown Columbia to encourage all participants to attend the first meeting session Monday evening. He has also requested that the meeting be condensed to two sessions on Tuesday, concluding at 5 p.m.

The board will reconvene April 23. 

  • Julia Bell

    Julia Bell

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