By Sharon Mager
COLUMBIA, Md.—Mid-Atlantic Baptist Network Chief Financial Officer and Interim Executive Director Tom Stolle read from Hebrews 10:36 as he began his report to the Networks General Mission Board on May 5 at the Network Center. “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.”
“Just because times are hard, we don’t get a pass on perseverance!” he said.
GMB Financial and Business Report
Stolle, sharing the highlights of the first quarter financial report for 2015, said Cooperative Program (CP) giving trails the YTD (Year-to-date) budget by $57,400 and trails YTD 2014 by approximately $111,000 or 10.5 percent.
Over the last four years Stolle explained there has been a decline in CP giving, though CP did increase slightly last year. “This year there is even more of a precipitous decline. We budgeted for some, but we are running behind by about 10.5 percent when compared to last year and all three months of giving in 2015 trail the same period in 2014. This appears to be a trend.”
Stolle said if the trend continues, management believes CP receipts could total about $3.75 million of the $4.025 million budgeted. “I think it’s likely that if it continues we would be challenged to break even on the operations side. A year-end operating deficit is likely.”
Three ministry expense areas are currently running above the YTD budget: Missionary and Staff benefits, Network Center Operations, and Executive Leadership Team expenses.
Stolle said Missionary and Staff Benefits as well as Network Center operations are running ahead of budget due to timing in the recognition of expenses.
Executive leadership team expenses are running above budget due to largely ministry travel expenses. Then Executive Missional Strategist Will McRaney had visited several churches most weekends to worship with pastors across the Network.
Stolle said the Network Operations show a positive YTD bottom line of $79,907.68 through March 31, 2015. However, if CP receipts continue to trend downward, the reduced receipts will “tear at that number.”
Skycroft Training Center Operations resulted in a $53,419.34 deficit through March 31, 2015. However, it’s important to note that 75 percent of Skycroft’s income comes in from approximately May through September, Stolle said.
As always, Stolle said, the Network is in a good ready cash position with its bills paid in full and on time.
“I recognize we have challenges and I recognize we have a God bigger than those challenges. He’s got this,” Stolle said.
Baptist Foundation Report
Stolle also reported for the Baptist Foundation. Sixteen churches currently have outstanding secured loans. Stolle explained that a very small amount of interest income covers the minimal administrative expenses and the remainder is given to the Network each year to start and strengthen churches. Management anticipates receipt in 2015 of $130,000 – $140,000 to start churches and strengthen existing churches.
Three churches have loans from the Arthur Nanney fund, established for small, emergency church loans.
The Foundation’s investment portfolio had a market value of $7,584,005 as of March 31, 2015. The most recent quarterly return reflects a performance of 2.3 percent. The one-year portfolio performance reflected a return of 6.2 percent.
The Foundation continues to move forward with education regarding planned giving and stewardship. Stolle said it is important to teach church members that they have the option of giving in life and in death.
“An average of 9 percent of wealth is given by someone in life, but 91 percent transfers in death,” Stolle said. A church not teaching about leaving a legacy when a person passes is potentially not calling attention to a way that person can make an enormous impact on the Kingdom of God.
“People pay for what they need and give to what they care about. Let’s not be silent about the things they care about,” Stolle said.
In other business, Doug DuBois, on behalf of Skycroft Training Center, requested the approval to receive $25,800, the final portion of the funds made available through the sale of an historic easement in the amount of $1.1 million.
DuBois explained the final portion was needed to replace mattresses for summer camps. The monies will also go toward the replacement of signage and additional repairs discovered when installing siding and gutters.
The GMB voted to release the needed funds.