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Georgia Baptists to study CP percentage allocation


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Joe Westbury/Index

Jeremy Morton said the motion was offered “to ensure that while we are committed to reaching the nations globally, we ... remain committed to not abandoning the nations that have come to Georgia.”

Georgia Baptist Convention Executive Committee members approved a motion on Dec. 14 to create a study committee to encourage personal stewardship growth while examining the percentage allocation of funds to the Southern and Georgia Baptist conventions.

The study committee will take a hard look at how Georgia Baptists can impact lostness around the world without neglecting those in their own backyard, executive committee members told The Index.

Jeremy Morton, pastor of Cross Point Baptist Church in Perry, made the motion on behalf of himself and five Georgia Baptist pastors.


Six pastors endorse missions-centric motion

Included on the list were Frank Cox, pastor of North Metro First Baptist Church in Lawrenceville; Larry Wynn, pastor of Hebron Baptist Church in Dacula; Don Hattaway, pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church in Cartersville; Ernest Easley, pastor of Roswell Street Baptist Church in Roswell; and William “Bill” Harrell, pastor of Abilene Baptist Church in Martinez.

Morton said he and the pastors submitted the motion “to ensure that while we are committed to reaching the nations globally, we as Georgia Baptists remain committed to not abandoning the nations that have come to Georgia.”

He said the intent of the motion was to consider ways of increasing missions support to Southern Baptist mission boards “while strengthening our mission commitment to the work here in Georgia.”

Morton, who said he has seen drastic changes in the lostness in the state in his 29 years as a native Georgian, elaborated on the rationale behind the motion.


‘Dramatic change in direction’ by SBC leaders

“In light of dramatic change in direction by leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention, many in our churches have grown uneasy about their own mission giving and if it is being used most effectively. It was even suggested at the recent Georgia Baptist Convention meeting in Albany that more money should leave our state in order to reach the nations.

“While reaching the nations with the gospel is the desire of all Southern Baptists, many of us believe that it may be time to examine if the dollars going to the Southern Baptist Convention from our churches are being used to greatest advantage. Every organization has bureaucracy, including our Southern Baptist entities, that prevents funds from reaching the mission fields of the world.

“It may be that of the funds going to the Southern Baptist Convention from our churches, more need to be directed to the North American Mission Board and the International Mission Board.”


Joe Westbury/index

Bob Jolly, chairman of the State Missions Budget Committee, presided over the presentation of the funds allocated for reaching Georgia for Christ in 2011. Jolly is pastor of First Baptist Church in Cumming.

Nations have come to the Peach State

Morton said he is “whole heartedly” behind reaching the nations, which include the nations that are presenting themselves “in our neighborhoods, our schools, and at our front doors here in Georgia.”

The representative from Rehoboth Association continued, saying that in order to be good stewards of the mission dollars that originate from Georgia Baptist churches and are sent through the state convention for distribution on the national level, he was making the motion “in hopes of easing the minds of all Georgia Baptists during this atmosphere of change and arriving at a workable conclusion regarding how we can get more funds to the mission fields of the world, including Georgia.”


Currently more questions than answers

In an interview with The Index, Morton said “without a doubt every Southern Baptist’s passion is to take the Gospel to the nations, but at this point there seems to be more questions than answers about how we are going to do that. Therefore, this motion is not designed to be critical or divisive in any way; it is just to find the most logical steps to take the Gospel to the nations without weakening Georgia.

“We feel like having stronger churches in Georgia will produce more missionaries, more pastors, more ministers to take the Gospel to the nations. If Georgia is as strong as it can be, then the world will be reached quicker.

“A strong Georgia can only help the nations to hear the Gospel. Reaching the world is not an either/or situation, it’s a both/and. We’ve got to reach Georgia and we’ve got to reach the nations, and that doesn’t mean leaving our borders because we now have internationals in virtually every Georgia city.

In other business, Executive Committee members approved a 2011 state missions budget of $13,555,940, down 8.04 percent – or $1,185,590 – from the previous year’s $14,741,530. The state missions offering goal, to which churches contribute each fall, will be $1,750,000 but only $1,300,000 will be budgeted due to the soft economy.

Any overage of the $1.3-million line item will be used for church planting in accordance with the adopted Urban Atlanta Impact Initiative strategy, Chairman Bob Jolly explained.

Executive Committee members also re-elected Fred Evers, pastor of Northside Baptist Church in Tifton, as chairman of the policy-making body and re-elected Herman Parker, pastor of First Baptist Church in Bremen, as vice chairman.