Many current divisions within the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (NCBSC) are, some believe, accentuated by the giving plans. In North Carolina we have four giving plans. Plan “A” is the traditional giving plan that an overwhelming majority of the churches give. Plan “B” is a plan set up just like Plan “A” except it gives only 10% to SBC and allows giving to moderate causes. Plan “C” is a plan that is set up to give the same amount to NCSBC except the rest goes to moderate causes and 10% is sent to CBF. Plan “D” is set up to give to only 50% to the NCBSC and the remainder to the SBC and other identified conservative causes.
Plan “A” was developed and put in place in 1993. It was at this time that a giving plan was presented to the convention that allowed churches to give to other organizations such as Baptist World Alliance, Associated Baptist Press, Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs, and the Baptist Center of Ethics. A funny thing happened at that convention. It seems the North Carolina Baptist Men invited Jerry Clower to speak at the Baptist Men’s organizational meeting. The recommendation that year was publicized as taking money from the Cooperative Program. Mr. Clower was asked to address the convention and in his address he mentioned that he was brought up to support the Cooperative Program. Needless to say that speech did not set well with moderates. Dr. Corts was a leading conservative pastor in North Carolina and was the driving force behind the formation of Carolina Conservative Baptist. Dr. Corts knew the political landscape so well that he knew rejecting anything on the convention floor coming from a Budget Committee in North Carolina was a certainty for failure. He met with and received consensus from Dr. Roy Smith to present an amendment to the motion. Dr. Smith was at that time the Executive Director/Treasurer of the NCSBC. Dr. Corts presented the amendment and it passed. That was on Tuesday afternoon and on Wednesday morning I was in a restaurant and listened to a leading moderate lament the lose of that motion to the conservatives. This leading moderate complained that someone had gotten to Mr Clower and it was preposterous that politics was so prevelant. It was the pot calling the kettle black because this moderate was one that was leading behind the scenes in the proposition of this extra giving plan. Everyone left that convention knowing we have dodged a huge bullet and retained one giving plan. That is, until we read the Biblical Recorder. North Carolina Baptist found out from their state paper that due to a technical glitch in the wording of the amendment, we now had two giving plans. That plan not only allows giving to moderate causes as listed above, but also reduces the giving to SBC causes to 10%. It is known as Plan B.
Plan C is a plan that came on the back of Plan B . It seems that the conservatives had a bit of a division as a result of the wording glitch and it took some time for us to work through that issue. Plan C totally removes SBC causes and gives directely to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF). It is this plan that says to the world North Carolina is a convention that supports the CBF. Once the conservatives regained their center, it was placed before the convention about another giving plan. This giving plan appeals to more conservatives as it allows for extra money to go to Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute and it cuts that amount going to the North Carolina Baptist Schools. This plan is known as Plan D.
Thus, in North Carolina we have four giving plans. The late Ted Stone for years has been pushing for a consolidation of one plan. Brother Ted knew his stuff and was not afraid to speak about that which he knew. He was the consummate politician and he also had a heart for those found in addiction. I know that it was not uncommon for Brother Ted to get out of the bed at 2am and drive for miles to get someone that called in need. He would give of himself and his money to help others. Brother Ted did not loose that passion when it came to calling for one giving plan in North Carolina. His last attempt was the 2005 North Carolina convention before his death in 2006 and the motion did not fail by much.
You may ask why I am in agreement with going back to one giving plan? Isn’t it obvious? We have had one institution after another desiring to go on their own. Our Baptist Retirement Homes has had their portion of the budget placed in escrow and the President has stated that they did not need the money. This is a far cry from their argument at the convention that we were taking money out of these retired persons pockets. Which brings me to another question. Who is taking money out of the pockets of these retired people? The convention because they desire to hold the President accountable, or the now self-perpetuating Board of Trustees that voted to give the President a rather large raise the very first year they elected their own trustees? One other thing about the Baptist Retirement Homes. It would be very interesting to see if that raise was in the range of 6 figures. Also, has anyone compared the income of President of NC Baptist Retirement Homes to other non-profit Retirement Home Presidents? But I digress.
This is just one example of where multiple giving plans can lead. If you look at the Baptist General Convention Texas you will see how accountability is lost when everyone is able to to “what is right in their own eyes.” With one Giving Plan the level of accountability remains intact. Another reason, and the main one, for one Giving Plan relates to the church. In a church we would never give the congregation multiple giving options. We present one budget because we are united in our mission. Anytime more than one giving plan is presented it is fodder for the grist mill of disunity.
Therefore, unless someone else desires, I plan to make the following motion;
I move that our President form a committee that will work in conjunction with our Budget Committee to study the current giving plans and recommend to the 2008 convention a consolidated budget that will retain our current goals of increase for the Southern Baptist Convention and also retain the giving percentage for Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute, International Mission Partnerships, North Carolina Home Missions Projects and Guidestone Adopt-An-Annuitant (NC Pastors) that reflects today’s various plans current amount.