In a historic vote, messengers to the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s annual meeting overwhelmingly approved a 2024 budget on Tuesday (Nov. 7) that calls for Cooperative Program receipts to be divided equally between the state and national Southern Baptist Convention missions and ministry causes.
The $31 million proposal reflects a $1.5 million or 5% increase over the current budget of $29.5 million, and it increases the allocation to global ministry partners by 2% to reach the 50/50 mark.
Moving to a 50/50 CP allocation fulfills a pledge made by North Carolina Baptist leaders nearly two decades ago, while also fulfilling the historic ideal of the Cooperative Program when it was established in 1925.
Aaron Wallace, pastor of Hephzibah Baptist Church in Wendell and chair of the Budget Special Committee, echoed those themes in presenting the budget proposal to messengers prior to the historic vote.
“The proposed allocation to our Great Commission partners increases from 48% to 50% of the overall budget,” Wallace said. “That is a great reason to celebrate. We have been looking at this goal for the last 17 years, (and) the reality is that it was almost 100 years ago that we decided as a national convention that we would cooperate and give together toward mission causes.”
A motion to amend the budget by increasing the allocation to Fruitland Baptist Bible College by 0.5% failed. Another motion to amend the budget to keep the CP allocation for 2024 at 2023 levels was ruled out of order.
Moving to a 50/50 split of CP funds marked the final step in fulfilling a pledge made by former North Carolina Baptist Executive Director-Treasurer Milton A. Hollifield Jr., to move the state to an equal distribution of CP funds. During Hollifield’s more than 14-year tenure as executive director, the state’s Baptists’ CP allocation moved from 32% in 2006 when he was elected to 42% in 2021 when he retired.
‘Loud and clear’
Under current Executive Director-Treasurer Todd Unzicker, the state’s Baptists increased the CP allocation from 42% to 45% in 2022 and from 45% to 48% for 2023. Unzicker called the 2024 budget vote and move to a 50/50 split a reflection of North Carolina Baptists’ commitment to the Great Commission.
“N.C. Baptists spoke loud and clear with today’s near unanimous, historic budget vote,” Unzicker said. “We are a movement of churches on mission together who want to take the gospel where it’s not known, plant more churches, send more missionaries and train the next generation.”
Along with approving the budget proposal, messengers approved a separate measure stipulating that any undesignated 2024 CP receipts received in excess of $31 million be allocated equally between the state convention and its Great Commision partners.
The board also approved a measure to set the goal of the 2024 North Carolina Missions Offering (NCMO) at $2.6 million, which reflects a $100,000 or 4% increase over the current goal of $2.5 million.