By Ken Camp
The Baptist General Convention of Texas elected by acclamation the president of a Hispanic school, a first-generation Ethiopian immigrant pastor and the pastor of a historic county-seat First Baptist Church as top officers during its annual meeting Nov. 8-10.
Messengers also acted on a $38 million total budget and collected $5,354 in an offering for refugee relief in Lebanon.
And in one of the few actions at the annual meeting that generated questions from the floor, messengers approved a resolution on integrity and honesty, focused particularly on plagiarism by pastors.
The annual meeting drew 936 messengers and 445 visitors.
Rene Maciel, president of Baptist University of the Américas, who had completed a one-year term as BGCT first vice president, was elected president.
Bedilu Yirga, pastor of Ethiopian Evangelical Baptist Church of Dallas, was elected first vice president and Danny Reeves, pastor of First Baptist Church in Corsicana, as second vice president.
At the recommendation of the BGCT Executive Board, messengers approved a $35.42 million budget base, compared to $35 million for 2015. It relies on $31 million in Cooperative Program receipts from churches — down about $900,000 from the 2015 budget.
The budget anticipates $4.42 million in investment income, compared to $2.6 million from investments and $500,000 from individual donors this year. The $1.32 million increase is available primarily due to invested proceeds from the sale of the former Baptist Building to Baylor University’s Louise Herrington School of Nursing. The BGCT Executive Board staff offices moved to leased space in a building at Rambler Park, near Presbyterian Hospital in North Dallas, two and a half months ago.
Including revenue from the North American Mission Board, conference and booth fees, product sales and other miscellaneous sources, the BGCT anticipates a total budget of $37,996,806 next year — an increase of $212,509 over 2015.
The BGCT will continue to divide undesignated receipts in the same manner as in recent years, with 79 percent allocated for BGCT and 21 percent for worldwide causes. Each church determines the recipient or recipients of its worldwide giving.