As most of you know already, October will begin our new fiscal year. As we cross from 2021-22 to 2022-23, I’ll be in the midst of a sermon series in which I hope to capture God’s vision for our church for the years ahead. I am excited about what God is doing within First Baptist Church, and how God is using us beyond the walls to impact our community with the great Good News of salvation in Jesus’ name! On Wednesday evening, September 21, at 7:00pm, we will convene a church-wide Business Conference. During this meeting, members will vote on a number of items. The two big annual items will be proposals from the Finance and Nominating Committees.
The Nominating Committee’s proposal will be a slate of officers and committees for 2022-23. There are a few items of note from this proposal. The Finance, Personnel, and Nominating Committees are what I call the “big three”. From each of these, people must rotate off for at least one year before being able to serve again. There are several people rotating off of each of the “big three” so filling these, and their respective Chair positions is an important task. Several other committees have shifted around a bit. Perhaps the greatest change you’ll find in “Brad Cheek’s spreadsheet” is regarding our counters. The Nominating Committee has enlisted several new people to serve, and it has scrambled up the counting teams to maintain a stronger balance of personnel. Finally, among the Sunday School teachers, you’ll see a reflection of a structural shift we are making across the board in SONquest. On Wednesday evenings, during children’s church, and during the Sunday School hour, our children’s ministries will have a pre-school age grouping. This will look on the Nominating Committee’s proposal like an additional children’s Sunday School class, but this shift will affect all components of our SONquest brand. We are excited, to offer this new age grouping for children that have turned 3, 4, or 5 years old by August 31, because we have a great need in this area of ministry!
Members will also vote upon a proposal from the Finance Committee. The budget proposal for 2022-23 has a few changes that I’d like to mention. Several of the line items have been retitled. Whether more or less general, the hope is for the title to provide greater clarity of meaning. The Finance Committee has elected to invest in roll-over line items to build up “nest eggs” for both our vehicles, and our building/grounds. We anticipate paying for some significant repairs in the years ahead, and wisely, the Finance Committee wants us to be prepared when those days come. In a few cases, multiple line items have been merged together, the most notable case being children’s ministries, as we continue to consolidate SONquest into a singular unit of ministry. Several line items have jumped sections. Our budget is divided into “Outward Missions”, “Ministries & Support”, “Property”, and “Staff Salaries”. We’ve previously labeled things as “Outward Missions”, but the Finance Committee has decided some of them to be better labeled “Ministries & Support”.
In the “Ministries & Support” section, the Finance Committee has elected to return several line items to pre-pandemic levels after a couple of years of slashing spending. I am glad to see an investment into our collegiate and young adults ministry! Though not explicitly listed, our third line item, “Local, Regional, and International Missions” has embedded support for three new items about which I am extremely excited. First, it has a dedicated gift to the North Carolina Missions Offering. This will support Baptists on Mission (formerly Baptist Men). Second, it will include dollars for The Pregnancy Network. My prayer is that this financial gift is but the beginning of our partnership with this great organization. Third, this line item will include a gift for the mission work of Hannah Wood Kendrick and her husband William!
These two major proposals will be available at the beginning of September. Please pick them up and begin to think about any questions you might have for either of these two committees, or me. On Wednesday, September 14, at the beginning of the bible study hour, we will have a listening session, during which you’ll hear from the committees, and have a chance to ask questions and make comments. We believe this is a helpful forum for information so that our voting will be simplified on September 21.
Additionally, allow me to encourage you strongly to fill out a Deacon nomination form. They are available to every church member, and give clear biblical instructions. Pray through this decision as you fill it out personally, and pray that God would raise up the servant-leaders of His church that He needs in His time. These are due by the end of our worship service on Sunday, September 18.
Not only have our Finance Committee and Nominating Committee been working hard in recent weeks, our Personnel Committee has been too! Since Maxwell came on board in July, the Personnel Committee turned its attention to filling the vacancy left by Luke Long among our ministries to children and students. They have begun a series of interviews with a promising candidate. Though it may be impossible for us to bring this candidate aboard before October, the hope is for the church to be able to consider hiring one day soon. As they work, pray for the Personnel Committee. Pray that they be given wisdom in decision-making processes. Pray that God would send to us His candidate, in His timing. Pray for our Deacons as they guide the timeline; pray for our next generation and their parents, as we hope they will have a chance to meet this candidate. These are exciting days within the life of our church. Join me in seeking God’s will for our church in the days ahead, and remember, it is not too late to join in the strategic planning process if you’d like to become part of the Ministry Leadership Action team!!
High King of heaven, my victory won
may I reach heaven's joys, o bright heaven's sun
heart of my own heart, whatever befall
still be my vision, o Ruler of all!
Rev. Andrew J. Reynolds