I just hung up the phone with Doug Lohrey, associate executive director and CFO of the Colorado Baptist General Convention. He and I spent about 20 minutes discussing the ramifications of the GCRTF final report for Colorado Baptists. He was friendly, took his time, and answered my questions graciously. If you are a Southern Baptist and have not yet read the final report, you can do that here or read my “final report made easy” article here.
As I have mentioned previously, the two areas of the report that are causing the most alarm concern the wording of “Great Commission Giving” which many believe will detract from the Cooperative Program, and the elimination of cooperative agreements over a period of seven years between the North American Mission Board (NAMB) and the state conventions. In order to be fully informed in regards to my vote during the annual meeting in June, I wanted to see how the cooperative agreements impacted Colorado.
The Colorado Baptist General Convention receives a substantial amount from NAMB through the cooperative agreements, 2 million dollars total. This is in contrast to several southern state conventions who not receive near that amount from NAMB. Of that amount, some $400,000 is used for church planting and another 500,000 used to support 10 out of 11 associations in Colorado, including their DOM’s (Director of Missions). In addition, most of the positions held in the state convention itself are funded through the means of NAMB giving. So, there is obviously a concern at the state level about personnel and church planting. Doug did mention that because of Colorado’s particular agreement, of which the state matches some funds, they would still have access to about $600,000. Obviously, that amount will not cover the expenses that are left from a 2 million dollar coverage, but they at least have a good starting place if they, in fact, have to come up with a plan over the next seven years on how to subsidize those funds.
Doug was not angry or “put out” with the task force. On the contrary, there is much in the report that he was thankful for. He mentioned his hope that the seven components will be brought as individual motions instead of just one big motion to either “take it or leave it.” He was also thankful that apparently Ronnie Floyd and the other members of the task force listened to the concerns of Colorado Baptists when they met to discuss the initial report released in February, a report that had the cooperative agreements dissolving in just four years, not seven.
I can say this for certain – this will be an interesting meeting and I am thinking one of the most well attended in a long time. Continue to pray for the SBC and its leadership.