Pandemic Takes a Toll on Baptist General Convention of Texas Operating Budget

DALLAS, Texas (BP) — After an encouraging first quarter in Cooperative Program giving, the Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT) operating budget took a significant COVID-19-related hit in April, the BGCT Executive Board learned in a May 19 meeting conducted by video conference.

The board took the unusual step of entering into executive session to discuss the implications of a drop in both Cooperative Program giving and income from investments and other sources.

In a statement the BGCT said the board approved a plan to offer a voluntary retirement package to eligible staff. Details of the plan will be available after all eligible staff have been notified.

“As has been said by so many recently, we are experiencing unprecedented times and what is ahead of us all is somewhat uncertain,” BGCT Executive Director David Hardage said. “As a part of our response to these times, the BGCT is providing a positive and proactive offer for many of our longtime, faithful staff to retire if they feel like this is the right thing for them at this time.

“This offer is a generous but completely optional aspect of our plan. We are preparing to reset the BGCT for great days ahead as we emerge from this pandemic and prepare to do even greater missions and ministry work.”

Ward Hayes, BGCT treasurer and chief financial officer, reported $7.76 million in Texas Cooperative Program receipts from Jan. 1 to March 31, or 104.4 percent of budget. That represented a $400,000 increase in Cooperative Program giving compared to the same period last year, Hayes noted.

However, Hayes reported a $16.5 million market loss in investments — a 9.3 percent decrease — in the first quarter, which will result in lower distributed investment income. And preliminary reports from April, when most Texas Baptist churches were not meeting for in-person worship, show a significant drop in Cooperative Program giving.

The 2020 BGCT operating budget calls for $27.5 million in Texas Cooperative Program giving, which accounts for 78.4 percent of the budget. Anticipated investment income of $5.1 million accounts for 14.5 percent of the 2020 BGCT operating budget. The BGCT budget depends on another $2.5 million, or 7.1 percent, from revenue generated by conferences, events, product sales and other sources.

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Source: Baptist Press