Cary, N.C.—The Executive Committee of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina approved a recommendation Jan. 26 to set up a $500,000 reserve fund to employ International Mission Board retirees returning to North Carolina.
Executive Director-Treasurer Milton Hollifield Jr. said, “This reserve will provide additional funding for strategic efforts to impact lostness through disciple-making … as we seek to capitalize on the expertise of IMB missionaries who are returning to the United States.”
Meanwhile, the Baptist State Convention forwarded approximately $400,000 more to Southern Baptist Convention missions and ministries for 2015 than it did in 2014, bringing the Cooperative Program dollars they forwarded in 2015 to $10.7 million, according to a report during the BSC’s Board of Directors meeting.
The 2016 BSC budget includes another $1.07 million increase for SBC missions and ministry through CP, which could mark a record high for the state convention.
“I am deeply encouraged to hear of this serious turnaround in North Carolina’s CP giving,” said Frank Page, president and chief executive officer of the SBC Executive Committee. “God bless the churches of North Carolina who are catching a new vision of reaching the nations for Christ.”
The BSC’s executive committee also has approved a new strategy to help retiring IMB missionaries who are transitioning to the state.
IMB leaders announced in August 2015 a plan to reduce personnel expenses in an effort to balance the entity’s budget. The IMB’s organizational “reset” included a voluntary retirement incentive for personnel that met certain tenure and age requirements.
Missionaries who accepted the voluntary retirement incentive and are relocating to North Carolina will be considered for positions as contract workers for the BSC if they desire to continue in vocational ministry among international people groups. Potential jobs will focus on strategic efforts facilitated by the five BSC ministry teams: church planting, strategic focus, Great Commission partnerships, church revitalization and disciple-making.
IMB president David Platt said of the BSC’s plan, “This generous gift from the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina will go a long way toward meaningfully redeploying retired IMB missionaries as they transition to a new season of ministry in which they are engaging lostness throughout North Carolina.”
Hollifield noted, “I can tell you with all honesty that it gives me great, great, great joy. I give thanks to God that North Carolina Baptists rallied behind our mission board and rallied behind these returning missionaries at a most critical time.”
The BSC has been reducing staff in recent years to increase Cooperative Program support for international missions, Hollifield said. Any new workers from the IMB pool of missionaries will become contract employees paid from a new reserve fund. However, if there are staff vacancies available, “We are very willing and eager to consider some of these returning missionaries,” he noted. (BP)