2013 FBSC Annual Meeting
JACKSONVILLE (FBW)—Acknowledging his unique position as a former president of Florida Baptists’ State Board of Missions and his new role as a member of the Cooperative Program committee of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee, Tim Maynard last November “launched out” with an ambitious goal at the start of his first term as president of the Florida Baptist State Convention.
Maynard, pastor of Fruit Cove Baptist Church, in September announced he will seek a second one-year term as FBSC president after spending time seeking the “mindset” of how Florida Baptist pastors, leaders, and church members involved in missions and ministry perceive productivity.
On the home front, in less than a decade Florida Baptists have slid from being one of the most enviable state conventions in the history of Southern Baptist work, with a budget that supported missions and ministry to a tune of some $36.5 million, to a state convention of more than 3,000 churches that is “struggling some,” he said.
“There is a disconnect the people feel—that we are no longer relevant to their world, and this is a mystery that I have been trying to unpack.”
Maynard said he has spoken with Florida Baptist Convention employees and leaders—those who are tasked with providing ministry support and missions involvement to the churches, and to pastors from throughout the state—about how resources are prioritized and how ministries are carried out.
“It’s just been an interesting year,” Maynard told Florida Baptist Witness. “There have been some very painful conversations and some interesting ones.”
At the heart of the discussion has been the 50/50 plan for budgeting Cooperative Program receipts for FBSC ministries and mission projects—and funneling funds to the SBC’s two mission agencies and its seminaries and Executive Committee.
Messengers to the FBSC annual meeting in 2010 approved a strategy to implement the recommendation of the “Imagine If Great Commission Resurgence Task Force” which put into motion a plan for a budget each year to move from sending 42 percent of CP receipts to 50 percent of receipts for SBC causes.
“Underlying everything anybody is going to be doing, unless you are living in a cave, the elephant in the room is 50/50,” Maynard said, when it comes to how to effectively continue to support the pastors and ministries in the state—and how to continue to send more resources to support SBC ministries and missions.
Citing Haiti and Cuba as vital examples of how Florida undergirds international missions—even as a state convention—Maynard said he has thought a lot about shared receipts, an idea that was initially proposed by the State Board of Missions in its budgeting process—but rejected at last minute prior to implementation of 50/50 in 2011.
“I think Florida is unique and different from any other state and we have taken on responsibility for two foreign countries and are doing pretty much the lion’s share of the work in Cuba and Haiti,” Maynard said.
Just in looking at dollars spent in those countries, Maynard said “the investment is very deep,” and Florida Baptists are “doing the work of other Southern Baptist entities in these places.”
Shared receipts, he said, might be “leveling the playing field” between Florida and other states. Sharing ministry expenses is a process by which about a third of the state convention budgets take “shared ministry” allocations off the top for items that they identify as benefitting both the state convention and SBC before dividing what remains between in-state and SBC use. Florida is not one of those states.
“We talk about 50/50 generically, like everybody is counting the dollars the same way, but what 50/50 will look like in some states will not be what it looks like in other states.”
Ultimately, the decision is going to rest with the churches and will depend on whether they are “willing to stand up to the other state conventions,” Maynard said. “We are closer than we think we are … if we count apples and oranges in the same way,” he continued. “Somebody needs to clear the conversation up on this.”
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