According to an lengthy email sent tonight by Dr. Mohler’s office, the seminary is facing a budget shortfall of up to $3.2 million for the remainder of this academic year. The President spoke of aggressive actions to balance the Seminary’s budget including:
- a hiring freeze on non-critical positions
- reductions in travel and related expenses
- an immediate halt on future projects that are yet to be contracted and funded
Even with these cutbacks, the Seminary projects up to $1.5 million in further reductions that will be necessary over the next several months. Further meetings are planned in January where more difficult cuts will come.
“Given the personnel-intensive nature of our budget, the only way we can act responsibly in this situation is to anticipate a reduction in force in terms of total employees and total personnel expenditures.”
Students are likely to pay more going forward. Dr. Mohler wrote, “We are going to do our very best to limit tuition increases.”
According to the letter, these challenges stem from several factors related to the economic challenges faced by the larger society that will eventually show themselves in the giving. “For Southern Seminary, the economic reality is that we have lost a significant portion of the value of our endowed funds.” Furthermore, the Seminary expects contributions to shrink over the coming months:
- a lower level of direct giving by donors to SBTS
- lower levels of funds contributed through the Cooperative Program
The financial difficulties are expected to be ongoing. As Dr. Mohler states, “We are warned to anticipate that this time of economic challenge will not be measured in future months but, in all likelihood, over the next two to five years.”
Time For Prayer And Sacrifice
This is serious news and a sober letter from Dr. Mohler. This is a time for Southern Baptists to show their committment and seek God’s help moving forward. Are we a people who still hope for better trained pastors? Are we willing to increase Cooperative giving despite our personal hardships?
This may be a divine opportunity, for the first time in many years Southern Baptists can give out of their weakness rather than abundance. Perhaps God will use this crisis to bring humility and real revival to our chruches.
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