BGCT now ‘Texas Baptists’

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The Baptist General Convention of Texas will now be known simply as Texas Baptists, its Executive Board voted Sept. 29.

Last November, the BGCT Future Focus Committee suggested the convention change its name, and messengers referred the decision to the Executive Board. After some study, the board voted to trademark the Baptist General Convention of Texas as Texas Baptists.  The legal name will continue to be the Baptist General Convention of Texas, but the convention will be known as Texas Baptists.

BGCT Executive Director Randel Everett said the arrangement allows the convention to clearly communicate its identity and reflects how Texas Baptists think of themselves while valuing its history.

“The Baptist General Convention of Texas can be cumbersome to say and difficult to explain,” Everett said.

“This is primarily how we identify ourselves as a body of believers.”

In a busy day of business, the board also approved a $44.029 million 2010 proposed BGCT budget. Of that proposal, $37.615 million is budgeted to be given through the BGCT Cooperative Program. An additional $2.35 million is to come from investment income and $1.25 million is to be used from reserves, though BGCT Treasurer Jill Larsen hopes all those reserve funds will not be needed. Additional funds will come from other sources such as the Southern Baptist Convention North American Mission Board and revenue.

She described the economy as going through a “moose recovery” where it is slowly pulling out of the recession, but is going through peaks and valleys as it does that. Larsen said BGCT leaders sought to put together an attainable 2010 budget proposal as they planned.

“We went into this budget cycle looking for a realistic, conservative budget,” Larsen said.

In order to make the budget, the BGCT cut some of its giving toward its employees’ respective retirement accounts. Neither BGCT staff leaders or Executive Board members liked the action, but taking it meant avoiding eliminating staff positions and ministry funds.

“I want to commend them [for taking the action],” said Bruce Webb, pastor of First Baptist Church in The Woodlands. “But frankly, I’m a little embarrassed to be cutting their retirement.”

Ed Jackson, a member of First Baptist Church in Garland, reminded the board that the proposed budget is simply that. Congregations’ willingness to give determines whether the budget is fulfilled. The budget proposal next goes before messengers to the BGCT Annual Meeting Nov. 16-17.

“The churches have the final vote on this budget,” he said.

The BGCT Executive Board staff is running at 90 percent of the approved 2009 convention budget. Giving through the Cooperative Program is running at 88.89 percent of the budget. 

Giving to the Mary Hill Davis Offering for Texas Missions is running at 92.47 percent, and giving to the Texas Baptist Offering for World Hunger is running at a 113.75 percent clip. The hunger offering is an emphasis of Texas Hope 2010, a BGCT initiative encouraging Christians to pray for others, care for those in need and share the gospel with every Texan by Easter 2010.

In other matters, the board granted Lifeway Christian Resources a one-time exception to the convention’s policies regarding criteria about exhibiting at the BGCT Annual Meeting. Lifeway cannot sign a required document that affirms its support of the BGCT because its policy prohibits it from doing so with any organization.

Addressing the board, BGCT President David Lowrie said he has had several conversations with Lifeway leadership. Lifeway wants to exhibit during the annual meeting, but simply cannot sign the paperwork.

Lowrie indicated a one-time exception allows both parties more time to find an acceptable solution.

The board elected Debbie Ferrier, member of Tallowood Baptist Church in Houston, as its chairwoman. She is the first woman ever to lead the board.

The board elected Van Christian, pastor of First Baptist Church in Comanche, as its vice chairman.

Board members also approved a proposal that will be sent to annual meeting messengers that recommends a 12-person committee be formed to work with the Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas in proposing a new unification agreement that outlines the relationship between the two groups in 2010.

“Our goal is to strengthen the unification agreement between convencion and BGCT,” said Hispanic Baptist Convention President Victor Rodriguez. “We truly believe our best years are ahead of us.”

The board addressed changes in the agreements between the convention and the Baptist Church Loan Corporation and the convention and Valley Baptist Health System.

Executive Board members declined a proposal to attempt holding its committee meetings electronically prior to a one-day board meeting in May. It would have been the first time that format would have been attempted.

In presenting the motion, BGCT Associate Executive Director Steve Vernon noted the move could save the convention roughly $20,000. Board members however believed such a format change would adversely affect the amount of input and interaction it would have in the decision-making process.

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10 Responses to “BGCT now ‘Texas Baptists’”

  1. Tim Dahl Says:

    I thought they withdrew the motion to change the name, entirely.

    Tim

  2. spiritualsamurai Says:

    I have been calling the BGCT Texas Baptists for the last 6 years. I am glad the EB has decided to do the same. Now if they would just act like it!

  3. David Troublefield Says:

    Let the past be the past, OK, Dave? It’s what you’d counsel your church members to do, right? ;-))

    Let’s go get the future we want, everybody. I believe God permits that!

  4. spiritualsamurai Says:

    Dear David,

    I am sure Achan wanted to do the same. However, I believe within the next two week, ValleyGate is going to become bigger than ever. Things are coming to light that some folks thought would stay hidden. I will not be the one to break this news, but God has someone working and they ARE going to rock the TEXAS BAPTIST world. They will not be able to intimidate this man nor will those whom they have depended on to help keep it quite stand by them any more. Judgment day is coming and coming soon.

  5. wackypreacher Says:

    And this is gonna be helpful to God’s Kingdom in what way? And if things go down like you prophesy, then are we then supposed to be happy about that? Sorry your negative rejoicing makes me sick.

  6. Tim Dahl Says:

    One of the first things I did as a new pastor in the area was try to set up appointments with other ministers. I’m surrounded by independent baptist churches, so I thought I might get an education. Boy, did I ever!

    Only one agreed to meet with me. We talked for a bit, had some nice fellowship. Then he said something that has stayed with me.

    “Tim, you have to understand something. Most of the independents around here won’t like you because you’re and SBCer, and belong to the BGCT. You guys think you’re the only Baptists in Texas, even referring to yourselves as Texas Baptist. Well, that just ain’t so. There are a lot more of us than you realize, and your attitude can come across as more than a little arrogant. You’re not the only Baptist in Texas.”

    Well, now it seems it has finally come to pass. As you can tell, I’m not a big fan of the new name.

    Tim

  7. wackypreacher Says:

    Tim,

    You do have a good point. It could come across as arrogant. I hear once in a while, what I call the “not but religion”. It goes like this: “Our guest speaker is not a Baptist but…..” We baptist or should I say SBC, have been percieved for years as acting as if we are the only ones who can do evangelism, church etc right. Yeah, you may be on to some there Tim, good point.

    Bob

  8. David Troublefield Says:

    Tim:

    Interesting conversation you had with our independent Baptist brother–and not surprising that only one of the several seeming to be in your area was willing to speak with you (which means that, for no good reason that I can see, the others appear to function relationally/emotionally about as leaders of Churches of Christ choose to). I doubt, though, that there are more “Independent Baptist” churches out there than we realize; I think there are exactly as many of them as we know there are–not that many, relatively-speaking.

    The congregation I serve is no less independent than that of the pastor with whom you spoke (or “fundamental” or “missionary,” for that matter; as a test of my congregation’s independence or of yours, let his church try to tell our churches what to do!). But, in its complete independence, my church has chosen to cooperate with your church for gains greater than either congregation likely ever can see alone. If to do so is a violation of New Testament principles, then someone should have told the apostle Paul, who practiced and promoted the idea!

    For the BGCT to use the term “Texas Baptists” to refer to itself is not to suggest that independent Baptists in Texas aren’t Texas Baptists, too–it doesn’t make a statement about them at all, which apparently is the way they like it; but the independent Baptist pastor you spoke with can’t speak for other independent Baptists and still be “independent” as he/they use the term–he only can speak for himself. Together, independent but BGCT-affiliating congregations (at least, a majority of our current elected leaders) are saying to the residents of the state that we are “Texas Baptists” for all the good that is meant by the term. Period. The same would apply if SBTC churches adopted the term in reference to themselves–and it applies to them, from the BGCT’s perspective, as it does to independent Baptists in Texas (i.e., doesn’t suggest that SBTC congregations aren’t “Texas Baptists,” too).

  9. ant exterminator Says:

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