The Christian Index reports that GBC cuts 2011 budget to 2000 levels. To get perspective on this, the high water mark for staffing at the GBC was in 2008 when there were 163 employees. After this latest budget trimming, there will be 103 employees.
It is reported also that a number of employees will likely take early retirement, since GuideStone is reducing annunity funding rates and the GBC is cutting retiree medical benefits. 'Woe is us' say GBC employees who are enduring a triple whammy of budget/staff cuts, benefit cuts, and annuity cuts.
Our GBC CEO, Robert White, says that staff reductions will not affect commitment to resourcing churches, leading one to wonder exactly what all these employees were doing, but never mind.
Bryant Wright, our SBC president, notably said that state conventions should learn to live with half of what they are getting. With no impetus from the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force, or from NAMB removing the money they send back to the GBC through the Cooperative Agreements, the GBC has seen staffing cut by 37%.
What Wright had in mind was that the states could live on half so that the other half could go to higher priority, authentic missions like NAMB and IMB. Looks like a good chunk of that half has just evaporated and isn't capable of going anywhere.
White rightly laments the fact that good, solid, employees must be let go. Such is Baptist life at the moment.
My question is this: Do we have a new normalcy for SBC life? One where at all levels of denominational life (associations, state conventions, and national entities) there is a permanent lowering of budgets and staff?
I suspect so for state conventions and some national entities; however, The Great Commission Resurgence will be a failure if field personnel at NAMB and the International Mission Board do not increase. Kevin Ezell and whomever the new IMB chief is will have to inspire churches to give to Annie and Lottie. I am doubtful there will be a great increase in funds sent from the states through the Cooperative Program.