The Executive Board of the South Carolina Baptist Convention (SCBC) met Thursday, December 12, at the Convention building in Columbia. The year-end meeting included electing 2020 officers, conducting other business, and hearing ministry updates.
Of note among reports, the board heard an update on the sale of undeveloped property adjacent to White Oak Conference Center that the board voted to approve in a November called meeting ahead of the Annual Meeting. A survey determined that the property includes 621 acres, which adjusted the sale price to $1,184,000 and is scheduled to close the first part of February. A committee will convene regarding the use of the funds from the sale of the land, and its report is anticipated at the April 2020 Executive Board meeting.
Teresa Garrick, Chair of the Budget, Finance & Audit Committee (BF&A), gave a Cooperative Program update stating that giving is down 2.4 percent compared to this time last year. Garrick also shared about revisions coming to the Convention/GuideStone Staff Protection Plan.
Josh Powell, 2020 SCBC President and board member, updated the Board on the motion created during the 2019 Annual Meeting by the bylaws committee to create a Study Committee to review the structures and processes of the Convention to ensure it’s working appropriately and as it looks to the future. Powell was tasked with naming members to this committee who would represent all church sizes and associations around the state. Those committee members are:
Don Brock, Steve Crouse, Josh McClendon, Al Phillips, Zach Shaw, Craig Tuck, Steve Simpson, John Goudelock, Ron Henderson and Marshall Blalock who will serve as Chairman.
In his role as Chairman, Zack Little presented the Executive Board Nominating Committee report for 2020 service. He also thanked SCBC Executive Director-Treasurer Dr. Gary Hollingsworth for his willingness to work with a third-party evaluator who assessed Hollingsworth personally and professionally this year. Little challenged board members, whether their terms continue or are rotating off, to intentionally serve others through their work.
“I take seriously the call to pour into other people, it’s not about us doing the things God’s called us to do, it’s what God’s called the next person to do,” Little says.
Anderson University President Dr. Evans Whitaker shared campus news with board members including the purchase of a four-acre tract for a new campus ministries area and information about a renovated home on campus that will serve as a retreat for pastors. Whitaker also announced capital projects including renovations and technological updates to the campus that currently hosts more than 3,500 students.
In his address to the board, Charleston Southern University President Dr. Dondi Costin shared that 31,013 students in South Carolina are attending private universities and that three of the four of those largest universities are Charleston Southern, Anderson and North Greenville Universities.
“You are educating, praying for and giving to educate 8,435 of those 31,013 students. That means 27% of private college kids in South Carolina are being educated by the South Carolina Baptist Convention, connected in very real ways to what you do, that’s why it’s an honor for us to say ‘thank you,’” Costin says.
In other news, Dr. Hollingsworth celebrated four convention staff anniversaries and recognized outgoing board officers and members.
“I’m grateful to the Lord to be here and serving in this role. God is at work, as we’ve heard just some examples of today. It’s also evident to others outside of our state who are hearing the kinds of reports that we are hearing today, and I want to say how grateful I am to be a South Carolina Baptist. It’s about what God does and that we get to be a part of it,” he says.
Looking toward 2020, members elected Albert Allen as Chairman, Terry Corder as Vice Chairman and Steve Simpson as Secretary of the Executive Board. The board will convene again in April at the Convention building.