By Diane Chandler
NASHVILLE (BP) — Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee President and CEO Frank S. Page thanked God at the September EC meeting for His work among Southern Baptists, citing increased financial giving and a renewed commitment to the Great Commission.
“I’m grateful for what God is doing in our churches. I’m grateful for what God is doing in our mission boards,” Page said in his Sept. 19 plenary session remarks. “I’m grateful for what God is doing in our seminaries. I am a grateful man for what God is doing in many ways.”
Cooperative Program giving has surpassed projections, he said, and giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions continues to grow.
The generosity of state conventions, sacrificial giving among churches and a strong economy have worked together to increase giving, he said, noting that several churches have raised Cooperative Program giving to more than $1 million a year.
“As of today [Sept. 19] we have reached our (Cooperative Program) budget for 2015-16 and everything now is [above projections],” he said. “I have already told our Great Commission Council this day that we finished August of 2016, 2.8 percent over the previous year and 4.8 percent ahead of our budget projections.”
The SBC anticipates finishing the current fiscal year 5 percent over the $186.5 million budget, Page announced, emphasizing that the allocation formula now changes to reduce the SBC operating budget’s portion to 2.4 percent of any overage and increase the IMB’s share to 51 percent.
“We’re thankful that will mean even more for our seminaries, theological education, and for all of our entities, especially our mission boards,” Page said, “and we’re grateful we’re seeing God do some wonderful things.”
He cited increases in Lottie Moon giving of 7.80 percent and in Annie Armstrong giving of .35 percent.
The Executive Committee has operated on approximately $1 million less than the approved budget this fiscal year, Page said.
“We have returned our Executive Committee to a state of fiscal health,” he said. “We give thanks to the Lord for that.”
Southern Baptists are actively participating in convention work, Page said, citing an attendance of 12,000 messengers and guests at the 2016 SBC Annual Meeting in St. Louis that includes 28 percent as first-time attendees. More than 32,000 people in 71 countries, he said, watched the annual meeting livestream.
Beginning his seventh year in his post, Page has worked to build relationships and trust among Southern Baptist churches, pastors, entities and partners. This fall alone, he will attend at least 15 Southern Baptist state convention annual meetings, he said, expressing gratefulness for the opportunity to minister in various ways.
“We’re seeing wonderful results,” he said. “I’m a grateful man.”