Boy Scouts bankruptcy could leave churches liable in future sex abuse claims. This Baptist Press article from October advised SBC churches “who chartered or have ever hosted a Boy Scouts of America (BSA) troop should seek legal counsel now in case they are named in future sex abuse claims against the BSA, a Southern Baptist legal representative told Baptist Press.” The gist of the article was that churches which hosted or did host a BSA troop might have legal exposure as a result of the BSA declaring bankruptcy. BSA has no assets victims can access, they may come against the church with the liability claim. Many churches allowed BSA to use their buildings and doing so, according to legal advisors, puts that church at risk even if the church was not involved in the troop. Abuse victims and advocates generally want “the SBC” to be liable for abuse wherever it occurs if any SBC church or minister who has or is serving an SBC affiliated church is involved. “The SBC” has never been successfully sued, so I’m told. This whole area will become more complicated in the future.
Disaster relief in general. Baptist Disaster Relief and Send Relief do great work. I don’t think they are underreported but I do think SBCers are generally under informed about the extent of our relief efforts. We don’t do shoeboxes full of trinkets and toothbrushes that get major publicity. We put feeding units, mud-out teams, etc., etc., on the ground almost instantaneously with any disaster.
Seminaries release a bunch of professors under COVID-19. Many of these were hired by other SBC seminaries. This got reported, talked about briefly. There’s stuff here, I think.
Georgia Baptists address ‘pattern of overspending,’ commit to balanced budget for 2021. State conventions think they have it hard. Revenues are down. Staff has to be cut. Here in my state, the state convention was guilty of “a pattern of overspending of millions of dollars over a period of at least 20 years.” “Non-budgeted expenses were paid with cash reserves…” To sum up, administrators propped up losing properties, excessive retiree expenses, and applied off-budget funding towards other Georgia Baptist institutions. What’s a budget if it’s ignored? All this for two decades. We lack the ability, it seems, to recognize failing institutions and take decisive steps to either fix them or end them. The chickens eventually come home to roost. Competent leadership and administration is not often found in the SBC, especially state conventions that control most of the revenues. Appalling.
Mississippi Baptist Convention pledges $1 million to international missions. The MBC had extra money and gave it to IMB. Great decision and thank God for it. Here’s the deal on this. A church gives $1 million to the Cooperative Program and the IMB gets around $200,000 of that. Giving direct to IMB as the MBC did means IMB gets the full $1 million. Churches are increasingly choosing to fund IMB directly, mostly through Lottie Moon. Some state conventions are doing the same. State conventions are often a black hole for church dollars. Better to let IMB have the lion’s share of mission dollars.
Southern Baptists celebrate sending 79 new missionaries. This number is about two percent of our total of 3,532 personnel. This is our core function, mission, to reach people with the Gospel. While 2020 was a time of unprecedented stress for IMB, for IMB personnel, we are still fulfilling our mission.
Not much mention elsewhere and not noted by anyone else here but there was a state convention that voted to end the Cooperative Program in their state if NAMB didn’t come around. SBC messengers in annual session vote for the Cooperative Program allocation budget that assigns certain percentages of the CP to the various SBC entities. State conventions collect the money from the churches which churches designate, “Cooperative Program.” A state convention may keep a larger share of those funds but cannot countermand the action of the SBC by changing the allocation formula. Bad decision. Terrible precedent, whatever the state’s gripes about NAMB. As was said, the CP is not a “cafeteria” plan.
The other guys at Voices are all fishing, skiing, tanning on some beach in the Caribbean, or messing with grandchildren. I’m slogging away. That’s what you get between Christmas and New Year’s. Bowl games that count will come soon. If, as expected, Notre Dame gets clobbered again, Ohio State demonstrates why a six game season ought not to count, and SEC teams romp even though lots of first round picks choose to sit their game out, it will be dutifully reported here.
You may have other news that was worth more discussion. Have at it.
It’s irrelevant to SBC stuff but yours truly saw a swallow tailed kite and a sandwich tern this year.
The best of news, The Good News, the Gospel is doing fine.