Editor’s note: This article was written by the staff at Baptist Press and was originally published at baptistpress.com.
NASHVILLE (BP) — The 2023 Book of Reports for the Southern Baptist Convention covers a variety of important issues such as a comprehensive summary of entity operating budgets as well as key actions taken by the Executive Committee over the last year.
Of note, the cumulative operating budget for all SBC entities in the 2022-23 fiscal year is set to exceed $1 billion, the first time that figure has been reached since 2018-19.
The largest budget in 2018-19 belonged to Lifeway Christian Resources at $470,747,000. However, the entity’s move to close its brick-and-mortar stores and focus on digital retail led to a 47 percent decrease in operational expenses the following year, becoming the biggest contributor to the dip in cumulative operation budgets to $988,791,947 in 2019-20.
The COVID-19 pandemic beginning in 2020 led to drastic measures among Southern Baptist entities planning for the 2020-21 fiscal year, with all budgets adding up to $862,513,118. Those numbers began to move up again, though, leading to the $1,014,483,910 budgeted among those groups for 2023-24.
Individual reports are available for:
- the Executive Committee
- Southern Baptist Foundation
- GuideStone Financial Resources
- the International Mission Board
- Lifeway Christian Resources
- the North American Mission Board
- all six SBC seminaries
- the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
- Woman’s Missionary Union.
The Book of Reports also chronicles significant actions of the SBC Executive Committee over the last year. Among them are:
- a statement regarding the opening of a Department of Justice investigation in August of sexual abuse allegations in the SBC
- approval of an amendment to the timeline of the SBC’s resolutions submission process
- adopting recommendations from the SBC Credentials Committee that eight churches be disfellowshipped.
The reasons for disfellowship of those congregations include: affirmation, approval and endorsement of homosexual behavior; a lack of intent of cooperation in resolving sexual abuse allegations; and having women function in the office of pastor.
The SBC’s governing documents – the Charter and Constitution, Bylaws and Business and Financial Plan – are also included in the Book of Reports, which is online here.