We have heard the old expression, “Money talks.” But what does it say? For good or bad, it speaks loud and clear. One poet wrote: “That money talks...I’ll not deny...I heard it once...it said, ‘goodbye.’” The use of money indicates priorities, passions, and stresses.
We are voting this weekend concerning the General Operating Budget for the new church year, which begins in July. It speaks loudly about the enormity of our ongoing vision to reach our world with the Gospel. We serve from a large base of operations, with 100 ministries, touching diversities of people, utilizing a multiplicity of talents, seeking to reach every age. Throughout the Bible, we see that God’s plan is a man or a woman, filled with the Spirit, totally available and spiritually gifted. Consequently, we have a strong emphasis on God-called, equipped personnel. God-initiated programs and events are also funded.
Our missional thrust is on three tracks - a heart for the lost that permeates all of our ministries, the Cooperative Program allocation of 6% of our budget receipts toward world missions, with over 3,000 International Mission Board missionaries and over 3,000 church planters in North America. We support those missions and ministries in conjunction with thousands of other Baptist churches.
In the new budget, we have also allocated funds for ongoing replacement and upkeep of equipment and facilities. We recently were forced to replace $500,000 in air conditioning! This new plan for expenditures reflects a 2.7 percent increase over last year, indicating our desire to move forward.
Our personal relationship with missionaries, church planters, and ministry leaders is also expressed in the Kingdom Missions Offering, which is above and beyond the General Budget. It reflects our support of those God has called out from our fellowship and our investment in church plants in unreached areas of the U.S. We “Honor the Lord with our wealth, with the first fruits of all of our crops” (Proverbs 3:9). Of course, few of us would speak of ourselves as having “wealth,” but we are incredibly blessed in comparison with believers around the world. May our money and giving shout, “Jesus is Lord!”