The Baptist General Convention of Texas has accessed $1 million of Executive Board-approved reserve funds to help support the organization’s ministry as the economy slowly begins to pull out of the recession.
Giving through the BGCT Cooperative Program is down slightly – roughly 5 percent – from last year and is currently running at 88.9 percent of the convention’s budget. Early in the year, BGCT leaders asked staff to spend at 90 percent of the budget approved by messengers to the 2008 BGCT Annual Meeting.
In February, the BGCT Executive Board approved the potential use of up to $2.5 million in emergency reserve funds to help the convention in the wake of nationwide economic instability. In late August, BGCT Treasurer Jill Larsen requested $1 million from those funds.
“While our giving is not what we budgeted, it is stronger than a lot of organizations are experiencing this year,” Larsen said. “I think that’s a credit to Texas Baptists’ giving, tithing and faithfulness.”
Larsen said the economy has affected the convention as expected, and BGCT staff members are doing a “commendable job” of limiting expenses. Staff is currently spending at a 91.2 percent rate. She is hopeful all the $2.5 million in approved reserves will not be needed, but cautioned it is “quite possible” more than this $1 million withdrawal will be necessary.
“I think the year’s gone pretty much like we expected, so I don’t think we’d be surprised if we had additional withdrawals from the reserve fund in the fall,” she said.
Looking to 2010, Larsen said BGCT leaders are being conservative in their income estimates as they budget for next year.