17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.
As the Apostle Paul penned these words to the Church at Philippi he reminds us that we must be examples to those we lead. Isn’t it interesting that the Greek word (συμμιμητής–symmimētēs) for “followers together” is the compound Greek word that means “co-imitators”. One of the Greek words that is compounded is where we get our English word “mimic”. Thus, Paul is telling the church that they are to “mimic” the actions they see of their leaders. This same scriptural principle can be applied in the leadership of those we have within our state convention.
We have been trying for years to regain leaders that will lead, standing firmly on the platform, of a position of an inerrant Scripture. These “conservative” leaders adhere to and promote principles and ministries that have, as a Core Value, that the Scriptures are inerrant. The conservatives have held a majority on the Board of Directors, formerly General Board, since 2002. It would be fair to say that the Executive Committee has had a majority and been led by these conservative leaders since 2005.
Why then do we still have churches giving around the North Carolina Baptist State Convention directly to the Southern Baptist Convention in Nashville, Tennessee? I asked this question privately to some of the conservative leaders of the Carolina Conservative Baptist back in 2005. I was told that we still had moderates within leadership and it was causing many conservative leaders to shy away from giving through the CP because the NCBSC was funding some of these more moderate causes/agencies. I accepted this as a fair reply and was assured that when conservatives were in positions of leadership and could influence the budget process this would change drastically.
Well, there are some things that just do not seem to pull together. Here is just one example. The Budget Committee Chairman, the same one for the past two years and now appointed to serve for a third year, serves as Missions Minister in a church that reported on the 2009 ACP a gift to the Cooperative Program of $122,000.00. Quite an impressive gift with the economy doing what it is doing. That same ACP reveals a Lottie Moon Christmas Offering of $564,000.00. WOW!! Another very impressive gift with the economy like it is. What a great celebration of giving we see in this church that is led by one of the SBC Great Commission Task Force members. We celebrate this giving as it certainly is impressive in the amounts of dollars that are forwarded to the NCSBC and the International Mission Board.
However, the Budget Committee Chairperson has much say over the various areas of spending for the NCBSC and the % split for NCBSC and the SBC. In 2008 the Budget Committee Chairperson’s church gave $300,000.00 through the CP. That means that our Budget Committee has for its Chairman a person who is from a church that gave approximately 60% less in CP giving than the previous year. My question is not why this person is serving on the Budget Committee, but why is this person serving as Chairman? I mean, sarcastically speaking, if his church cuts another 60% in CP giving are we going to move him to Dr. Butler’s position?
That is just one example. Another example is that we have serving on the Board of Directors three people who are from churches that are giving significant amounts of dollars around the CP in order to give to the SBC in Nashville. Every church, as an autonomous body, funds whatever entity they deem appropriate. This is not about whether a church decides where to send their funds. It is, however, about leaders in the NCBSC funding around the very convention they are elected to serve. In serving this convention these people are called to make decisions that affect North Carolina Baptist Churches but they give significant amounts around the NCBSC to the convention they do not have any direct decisions.
Certainly no one believes that just because we give to certain conventions we should all have direct say into the priorities of ministries. However, when one is sitting in leadership positions we should, at the very least, see their commitment to the convention through their giving behavior. I still remember the uproar of conservatives when we had leaders giving significant amounts to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and serving on the General Board (Board of Directors). Also, should there be special audience given to one person on how to prioritize ministries? It seems that is the direction our Executive Committee has taken. In their recent meeting the Executive Committee invited the maker of the motion at a recent Board of Directors meeting to address them as to the motive of the motion. Pastor Rammel raised some very good points and I agree that we need to prioritize various items on the Budget. My point is should it be a pastor, sitting on the Board of Directors, that came from a denominational position but directing his church to give less than the average NC Baptist church to the CP. I am sure Pastor Rammel is doing an excellent job leading his church. But, I wonder how many people he has making decisions about the churches direction and priorities that are giving as much to outside ministries as they are to the church’s ministries?
What does this mean for NCBSC? We call on our leaders to lead by example. Hey, I want to follow our leaders, but it becomes hard to not question the commitment of some to the NCBSC. I believe that we have Godly men and women serving on the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors. I call on our Nominating Committee to present persons to our convention that are from churches that support the Cooperative Program first, then the other ministries that our various entities and agencies promote. That is what it means to affirm the Cooperative Program as centralized giving for a Great Commission Resurgence.