BGCT approves reduced budget, Baylor agreement

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BGCT approves reduced budget, Baylor agreement

Postby Sandy » Wed Oct 26, 2011 1:40 pm

http://texasbaptists.org/2011/10/messen ... agreement/

The BGCT essentially legitimized the recent Baylor board of regents unilateral decision to select non-Baptists to its board, and to have more input into who gets picked for the 25% of seats that the convention still elects. They did alter the funding for Baylor and for Houston Baptist University, excluding the per-student allowance and cutting back, for those two schools, to a general budget and scholarship fund. They are distinguishing between an "affiliated" relationship for schools as opposed to those which relate to the convention by "special agreement," which would include Baylor and HBU.

I doubt that the funding reduction has much of an effect on either university. HBU more than makes up for the per-student allowance from gifts through the SBTC, and Baylor has a lot of its own sources. There's been a fear that, as the SBTC grows, the colleges and universities might be tempted to drop their exclusive relationship with the BGCT and dually affiliate, simply because of the increased funding it would provide. But through these actions, it appears the BGCT is sending a message to its colleges that they can more or less do as they please, since there is little they can do to stop it. The SBTC is the growing source of Baptist revenue outside the churches in Texas, so I would expect that there may be more colleges which will change their relationship from "affiliated" to "special agreement" in order to get closer to them.

Also, there were fewer than 1,000 messengers registered, quite small for BGCT meetings, especially in Amarillo. And the anticipated CP revenue of $32 million is a shocker, in a convention body that, just a little more than a decade ago was collecting nearly $70 million in CP revenue. The SBTC will collect about $27 million in CP revenue this year, almost half of that amount.
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Re: BGCT approves reduced budget, Baylor agreement

Postby Big Daddy Weaver » Wed Oct 26, 2011 11:01 pm

Sandy wrote:http://texasbaptists.org/2011/10/messengers-elect-officers-approve-budget-baylor-special-agreement/

The BGCT essentially legitimized the recent Baylor board of regents unilateral decision to select non-Baptists to its board, and to have more input into who gets picked for the 25% of seats that the convention still elects. They did alter the funding for Baylor and for Houston Baptist University, excluding the per-student allowance and cutting back, for those two schools, to a general budget and scholarship fund. They are distinguishing between an "affiliated" relationship for schools as opposed to those which relate to the convention by "special agreement," which would include Baylor and HBU.

I doubt that the funding reduction has much of an effect on either university. HBU more than makes up for the per-student allowance from gifts through the SBTC, and Baylor has a lot of its own sources. There's been a fear that, as the SBTC grows, the colleges and universities might be tempted to drop their exclusive relationship with the BGCT and dually affiliate, simply because of the increased funding it would provide. But through these actions, it appears the BGCT is sending a message to its colleges that they can more or less do as they please, since there is little they can do to stop it. The SBTC is the growing source of Baptist revenue outside the churches in Texas, so I would expect that there may be more colleges which will change their relationship from "affiliated" to "special agreement" in order to get closer to them.

Also, there were fewer than 1,000 messengers registered, quite small for BGCT meetings, especially in Amarillo. And the anticipated CP revenue of $32 million is a shocker, in a convention body that, just a little more than a decade ago was collecting nearly $70 million in CP revenue. The SBTC will collect about $27 million in CP revenue this year, almost half of that amount.


There's no indication that the SBTC is the slightest bit interested in relationships with the affiliated BGCT institutions. The SBTC prides itself on sending a large CP percentage straight to Nashville. Committing more funds to Texas schools would hinder that mission. That's not on the horizon.

The new agreement between the BGCT and its affiliated schools allows the BGCT to select a simple majority of each university's Board of Trustees (50% + 1). Prior to this new agreement, the BGCT selected 75% of the Trustees.

This means that a school like Hardin-Simmons could ask a Texan (who no longer resides in Texas) like Jimmy Allen to serve on their Board or James Dunn to serve as Trustee at UMHB. It also allows the more conservative and more SBC-oriented schools to select Baptists from outside of the state of Texas. For example, I could see someone like Rick Warren (or another megachurch guy) being asked to serve as Trustee at Dallas Baptist, etc.

Of course, there's always the question of whether greater freedom in the trustee selection process translates into more money for the school. Surely that is the case with some trustees. Not always true though.

I thought it was a good move, a necessary move on the part of the BGCT - an acknowledgment that the BGCT can no longer afford to support these schools in the same way as they have in the past. Decreases in funding means giving up some control. That's only fair.

I listened to Jill Larsen's budget report. She blamed the decline in giving in recent years on the Recession. I didn't hear her mention any other factors. A little bit of honesty would be helpful. There are a number of factors that explain the BGCT's financial downward spiral. It's easy to point to the bad economy. But that leaves Texas Baptists with a false impression of what's going on. Although, I think Texas Baptists are probably smart enough to know that the decline is about more than a bad economy. The SBTC, financial mismanagement and changing attitudes and relationships toward denominations (post-denom) are just a few additional factors that must be considered.
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Re: BGCT approves reduced budget, Baylor agreement

Postby Sandy » Thu Oct 27, 2011 8:46 am

The BGCT has been blaming the downturn in financing on the "recession" as long as there's been a recession. The problem with that is it began long before the recession did, and the steepest declines in giving occurred during the first six or seven years of the formation of the SBTC. The biggest mistake the BGCT made was in attempting to drop the default percentage of SBC support several years back, and then trying to correct the problem in the face of the storm that followed by setting up a form that allows individual churches to determine on their own how the BGTC-SBC split will come from their particular gift and counting all of that as Cooperative Program giving. The leadership grossly underestimated the level of support that most BGCT churches desired to provide to the SBC. The consequence of that has been that while the convention's default percentage to the SBC was set at 27%, the churches have gradually increased theirs to the point where the average is now close to 45%, which is where most of the money has gone in the last four or five years.

I'm not sure I would go along with the idea that the SBTC isn't interested in affiliations with the universities. They do give 55% of their CP money to the SBC, but they take in about 10% more money each year than they've budgeted, and even in the 45% of what remains in Texas there is a lot of room to add support for more institutions and agencies. The SBTC is probably the most efficient of all state conventions in the SBC, spending a lower percentage of their income on convention operations, including executive salaries and personnel, than just about any other state convention body. They're already in at HBU. With the SBCT full of churches pastored and served by alumni of the Texas Baptist schools, and with the BGCT contributions shrinking, it certainly seems increased involvement of the SBCT is within the realm of possibility, at least at UMHB, ETBU, Hardin-Simmons, and Wayland.

Although the selection of individuals to serve as trustees at most Baptist colleges (including the one I attended) in recent years has involved the individual trustee's ability to generate contributions more than it has their ability to assist in governing an educational institution based on Christian values (which is why I believe a lot of the "Christian values" part has eroded substantially at many "Baptist" universities), the current financial situation is not necessarily a reflection of the full level of Baptist support. I recently read that almost 40% of the endowed scholarships at Baylor have a requirement that the recipient be a "member in good standing," or some other similar language, of a Southern Baptist church, in most cases, within the state of Texas. A large share of the endowment at all of the Texas Baptist schools, and most likely at all schools that are either currently or were once related to Southern Baptist state conventions, was given by Baptists with a specific purpose in mind for their use. Nor is paying tuition and fees at a Christian university always necessarily "payment for services received." I've worked in private, Christian educational institutions most of my life, and I've never seen one where the amount of money paid by the student covered the actual expense or value of the education received. It is a partnership, and there are contributors who are investing in the lives of the school's students to help provide the education in good faith with the mission and purpose of the school. The faculty and staff are making sacrifices, in most cases earning less than they would at a state supported institution, which is also a subsidy of sorts to the students.

Trustees are exactly what their name implies, individuals in whose trust the governance of the school has been placed. Once that becomes attached to a dollar amount, the values and principles upon which the school was founded, and which it is attempting to educate its students, are compromised.
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Re: BGCT approves reduced budget, Baylor agreement

Postby Ed Pettibone » Thu Oct 27, 2011 10:48 am

Ed: Sandy I am inclined to agree with most of what you say above however I am convinced that a large part of the problems in Baptist institutions are that for the most part they where designed , established by, and run for too long by Preachers, many of whom had no practical preparation for the task they assumed.
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Re: BGCT approves reduced budget, Baylor agreement

Postby Jerry_B » Thu Oct 27, 2011 11:19 am

First, the moment you agree to have a convention in one of the furtherest reaches of Texas, McAllen and Amarillo, you are going to have a smaller attendance. Everyone knows this and I for one am glad the BGCT moves the meeting around like they do. Sure there has been less attendance, but I think if you looked around all the conventions are having a hard time getting folks to come to a business meeting.

Remind me again how many institutions, schools, hospitals, children's homes the SBTC supports again?
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Re: BGCT approves reduced budget, Baylor agreement

Postby Sandy » Thu Oct 27, 2011 12:45 pm

Jerry_B wrote:First, the moment you agree to have a convention in one of the furtherest reaches of Texas, McAllen and Amarillo, you are going to have a smaller attendance. Everyone knows this and I for one am glad the BGCT moves the meeting around like they do. Sure there has been less attendance, but I think if you looked around all the conventions are having a hard time getting folks to come to a business meeting.

Remind me again how many institutions, schools, hospitals, children's homes the SBTC supports again?


Actually, if you look at the record, some of the BGCT's better attended conventions have been in Amarillo and Lubbock, since that geographic area that runs from just west of Ft. Worth across the panhandle and out towards Midland and Odessa holds one of the highest concentrations of the churches. The last meeting in Amarillo prior to this one, in 2007, drew 2,000 messengers, more than twice as much as this one did. No doubt the changing of the times and culture related to denominational business meetings has had an effect, but attendance at the BGCT is down by much greater percentages than it is in just about any other state convention body, as well as the SBC.

Depending on how you count, and what you consider "schools," the SBTC supports nine, including four in Texas. Through two family ministry institutions, it supports two children's homes. It has a fairly extensive collegiate ministry, a Korean Baptist language mission fellowship, and a large church planting ministry. It doesn't own any hospitals, but its my understanding that the BGCT has divested itself of ownership and financial support of its hospitals, maintaining an "affiliation" and a "ministry presence" at them. That's made for some interesting name combinations, such as the "Baptist-St. Anthony" health care system that was once High Plains Baptist Hospital, and the Baylor-All Saints health care system in Ft. Worth.
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Re: BGCT approves reduced budget, Baylor agreement

Postby Jerry_B » Mon Oct 31, 2011 9:42 am

"Depending on how you count" - typical SBC talk, never straight with the numbers

Those higher attended conventions where during the fight to keep fundamentalists from controlling the BGCT, of course their would be more people there.

The SBTC isn't really interested in starting anything that could rightfully be their own, instead they manipulate and scheme to try and gain control of institutions with the one "tool" they have, "Hey, we have money, want some?", a despicable tactic for sure.
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Re: BGCT approves reduced budget, Baylor agreement

Postby Sandy » Mon Oct 31, 2011 12:08 pm

Jerry_B wrote:"Depending on how you count" - typical SBC talk, never straight with the numbers

Those higher attended conventions where during the fight to keep fundamentalists from controlling the BGCT, of course their would be more people there.

The SBTC isn't really interested in starting anything that could rightfully be their own, instead they manipulate and scheme to try and gain control of institutions with the one "tool" they have, "Hey, we have money, want some?", a despicable tactic for sure.


"Depending on how you count" is a reference to the way the BGCT does business. They "count" and include in their reports hospitals over which they no longer have ownership except of then name, and of the "ministry presence" that was negotiated as part of the sale. They've moved hospitals from being "owned and operated" by the BGCT to being "affiliated" with the BGCT. So what, exactly is "affiliation?" Well, it depends on how they define it....

In the case of HBU, my understanding is that it was their trustees and administration which changed the way they were elected, in order to make an approach to the SBTC to build some kind of relationship, and that the approaches being made by two or three other colleges are along similar lines. I don't see that as "despicable," since the schools are independent and autonomous, and in order to avoid offending Baylor (whose alumni basically control what's left of the BGCT) the convention set precedents which allows its other schools the freedom to seek relationships with any other group they want to relate to, with no fear that the convention will move to stop them.
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Re: BGCT approves reduced budget, Baylor agreement

Postby Gene Scarborough » Tue Nov 01, 2011 8:50 am

This lust for control is getting out of hand!!!

We have seen it in NC and now each meeting is less and less attended. What's the point when the Executive Committee now runs the show!

Whatever happened to the joy and love of renewing friendships that used to be a part of any good Baptist meeting from Association to State Convention to National Convention?

I think as the media reports the fuss and fight, more people decide there are better ways to be Christians.
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Re: BGCT approves reduced budget, Baylor agreement

Postby Matt Richard » Tue Nov 15, 2011 4:10 pm

Gene,

this was my first state convention to EVER attend. Sadly, I wasn't very excited or impressed by much that went on. I did enjoy some of the break-out sessions, but he quibbling over Baylor, funding for other institutions, etc. got old and tedious. As people were elected to new positions, I had to wonder what the future of the organization they were being elected to had.

On a bright note, my favorite part was getting back in touch with friends I went to seminary with, that are now serving in various other capacities. Perhaps this aspect of the annual meeting is not totally lost for those of us who are young (and perhaps naive) enough to be detached from the long history fueling some of these squabbles.
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