Trustees of the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions (SBOM) unanimously voted Aug. 14 to recommend a 2016 Cooperative Program (CP) budget of $40 million with 53 percent funding state convention ministries and 47 percent going to Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) ministries.

The 2016 budget recommendation – which was also unanimously affirmed by the SBOM’s Executive Committee and Budget Advisory Subcommittee – includes:

  • 53 percent, $21,208,238 for state convention ministries: SBOM Ministries ($11,172,660) and Alabama entity ministries ($10,035,578).
  • 47 percent, $18,791,762, for SBC ministries: SBC Executive Committee ($17,992,424), SBC GuideStone ($749,338) and SBC CP Advance ($50,000).

Rick Lance, the SBOM’s executive director, told trustees that the state convention budgeting is moving away from Shared Ministries as a separate category because, for many people, the phrase doesn’t communicate clearly concerning the allocation of funds.

Still, for the 2014 and 2015 budgets, Shared Ministries was included as a category – budget language that was affirmed by the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force and has been commended periodically by SBC leaders during the 90-year history of the Cooperative Program.

Over the course of the next five years, Lance explained, “We’re going to have an increased SBC allocation of at least 1 percent, assuming a $40 million base budget. Future CP increases will go to SBC until we reach that point of parity or equitable distribution. By that I mean if we raise the budget beyond $40 million, all of that’s going to the SBC until we get to that point of parity.”

Bobby DuBois, SBOM associate executive director and chief financial officer, noted the planned annual increase of 1 percent to the SBC is made possible because of decreases in CP budget allocation to Samford University, initiated by SU President Andrew Westmoreland, to The Baptist Foundation of Alabama and to the SBOM.

From the 2015 budget to the 2016 budget recommendation, the allocation for the SBOM would decrease from $12,121,650 to $11,172,660. Alabama entity ministries would decrease from $10,754,630 to $10,035,578.

Among Alabama entity ministries are: Samford University, University of Mobile, Judson College, The Alabama Baptist newspaper, Shocco Springs Conference Center, Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes & Family Ministries, Alabama Woman’s Missionary Union and Alabama Citizens Action Program.

Points of celebration shared by Lance with SBOM trustees included:

  • Alabama has been, and remains, a pacesetter among state conventions in dollars given through the Cooperative Program. Alabama is neither the largest nor wealthiest state numerically or economically but no one can question our heartbeat for missions support in giving through the Cooperative Program.
  • During the 2015 calendar year, Alabama Baptists will send approximately $31,000,000 to the two SBC Mission Boards – more than $20,000,000 to IMB and more than $10,000,000 to NAMB. This does not include gifts sent directly from churches to the mission boards.
  • Our convention leaders frequently state the loyalty we have as SBC partners. That passion has not and will not change. We partner with whomever we can in SBC life to support Great Commission ministries.
  • Since 2012, Alabama Baptists have adopted budgets that increase the SBC allocation by an average of 1% annually. That trend will hopefully continue until we reach parity with the SBC. All Alabama Baptist Convention entities/ministries have sacrificed to make that record possible.
  • The State Board of Missions staff has decreased in size from 121 to our current 73 full-time employees – approximately 42%. By July 1, 2016, we anticipate that number to be 67 or a decrease of 45.5%.
  • The State Board of Missions staff has been granted two 2% salary increases since 2010 while the SBC % has increased each year. No salary increase is anticipated for 2016.

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