Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Money woes, budget woes, job woes

Woe is us, and about everyone else these days, when we look at receipts, budgets, salaries, and jobs. Things are tight. Things are tough.

NAMB cut 99 jobs, part of Kevin Ezell's plan to cut HQ personnel by 25%. I suppose one could attribute cuts to both lower income and the latest reorganization. Any way you slice it, it's drastic.

I commented back in November on our Georgia Baptist Convention's deep cuts in budget and staffing. They described it as rolling the budget back to 2000 levels. Staffing has gone from 168 to 103. That's deep, steep, drastic.

For those who watch or participate in The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, their national budget was cut, again, with about 25% of their national staff positions being eliminated. Their budget was almost $20 million just seven years ago. With the latest cuts it's around half that.

The Baptist General Convention of Texas, competing with the new Southern Baptists of Texas convention, dealing with assorted management issues and the economy, has lost tens of millions of from their halcyon budget years.

Pick a Baptist organization and get some of the same.

Most of us have more concern for our own church budget and mine was cut about 10% for this year. We are blessed not to have to take more drastic steps than we have. Other churches and pastors have had to endure serious cuts in pay and budget.

Of more concern to me is the reality that we may not make our goal for the Lottie Moon offering for our International Mission Board. While I was overseas last fall, I was asked by some of our field people and administrators what the attitude and feeling was about this year's offering. I responded that we would do our best to give a little more than last year. We're not there and this Sunday I will make one final appeal. We may make it. We may not.

I have some compassion for those employees of our state and national entities whose jobs have been lost but budget woes do cause these organizations to ask hard questions that otherwise would not be asked. Let's be honest enough to say that bureacratic inertia is a long time SBC staple. Unless the money flow is reduced budgets grow, staff grows.

That we have all these financial woes is probalby a good thing in the long run. Organizations at every level have to demonstrate the value of their mission and their competence. Churches take a good look at the association, state convention, and national entities and ask if these are wise expenditures - some are, some aren't. Those that aren't get cut or supplanted by those that are. This contributes to denominational health and is good.

Consider it all painful, but providential.

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