Council approves ’24 budget reflecting reduced CP giving, affirms international missions partnership

By Elizabeth Young | Oct 25, 2023

At the Convnetion Council meeting held Sept. 12 in Phoenix, David Johnson recognizes Convention Council members who will rotate off in November. With AZMN President Fernando Amaro next to him, Johnson presented certificates and cards to Acey Martin (from left to right), Phil Calvert and Glenn Swarthout. Marcos Campos, who was not present, will also rotate off.

The Convention Council of the Arizona Mission Network of Southern Baptists approved a 2024 operating budget that reflects reduced Cooperative Program giving by AZMN churches in 2023 and affirmed a missions partnership with the International Mission Board’s Sub-Saharan Africa Affinity group at their meeting Sept. 12 in Phoenix.

2024 Budget

The $4,166,040 operating budget for 2024 — which will be presented to messengers at the annual meeting at First Baptist Church, Chandler, Nov. 3 for approval — includes $3,495,260 in anticipated Cooperative Program giving from churches. The Cooperative Program portion of the budget is a decrease of $151,740, or 4.16%, from the 2023 budget. The operating budget also includes an additional $128,000 in designated giving from churches, unchanged from 2023. The operating budget is a $9,370 increase from the 2023 budget.

Executive Director David Johnson presented a financial report and analysis of Cooperative Program giving so far in 2023, noting:

  • Overall, Cooperative Program giving by Arizona churches is down about 4%.
  • Churches have given less consistently throughout the year.
  • Churches have given less across the board.
  • While about a dozen churches have left the AZMN in the last year and half, their giving does not represent a big loss.
  • Economic factors seem to be affecting churches.

“Inflation, I think, is affecting our people, and that’s affecting their giving, which affects what their church gives. So that affects what we receive,” Johnson said.

Through Aug. 31, Cooperative Program giving was $142,511 less than the amount given through Aug. 31 of last year and was $45,671 below budget projections, Johnson said. However, the operating budget was in the black, with $45,057 in income over expenses.

“The budget that we’re presenting to you actually takes into account the trend that we’re seeing,” Johnson said. “So it’s a responsible budget, and it’s one that I think still serves us well. And I think it is generous for mission causes, and that’s what our goal is always.”

David Johnson speaks to the Convention Council.

With the 2024 budget, Cooperative Program funds remaining in Arizona will be distributed according to the 2023 formula: Arizona Mission Network, 46.9%; Arizona Baptist Children’s Services & Family Ministries, 7%; and the Arizona Campus of Gateway Seminary, 6.1%. When the value of campus expenses covered by the AZMN is included, Gateway receives an amount equal to ABCS. Included in the AZMN portion is 4.8% for Christian Challenge collegiate ministry.

For the first time in 10 years, the percentage of Arizona’s Cooperative Program giving to the Southern Baptist Convention will not be increased in 2024. Arizona Southern Baptists’ Centennial Vision goal is to give 50% of Cooperative Program receipts to SBC national and international missions and ministries outside the state by 2028. Since the launch of the Centennial Vision, the AZMN’s total rise in giving to the SBC is 14 percentage points, and a 40-60 split between the SBC and Arizona, respectively, was reached this year.

Missions Partnership

Presenting the report from the council’s Missions Team, Johnson said the team talked via Zoom with John Dina, IMB missionary from Arizona who serves as the training leader for Sub-Saharan Africa. Dina presented details about the partnership with IMB’s Sub-Saharan Africa Affinity group, and the team voted to recommend it.

“We’ve already received a list of projects and opportunities that churches can participate in,” Johnson told the council.

“I’m excited about what the Lord is going to do in our churches — not just through our churches, but in our churches — through engagement with missions, and especially with Sub-Saharan Africa,” he said. “It’s such an amazing place. So many opportunities are there. [It’s] such an influential part of the world.”

David Johnson presents his report at the Convention Council meeting held Sept. 12 in Phoenix.

Other Business

The council approved the recommendations of Fernando Amaro, AZMN president, for people to vill vacant positions on the Executive Team. Paul Smith, pastor of First Baptist Church of Chandler, and Ashley Evans, pastor of 22nd Street Baptist Church in Tucson, will fill at-large positions on the team. Whitney Walters, pastor of Willow Hills Baptist Church in Prescott, and Jeremiah Hayes, pastor of South Peoria Baptist Church in Peoria, will fill council positions on the team.

In other action, the council approved the recommendation of the Executive Team to receive the 2022 audit, which will be distributed to messengers at the annual meeting as part of the Book of Reports.

Amaro announced his appointment of Jessica Parrow, AZMN administrative assistant, to serve as the AZMN recording secretary. She replaces Amy Medley, administrative assistant with the

Church Life Team, who resigned during the summer to become a program administrator with the Arizona Supreme Court.

During his report, Johnson introduced Jessica Barker, who is the new administrative assistant with the Church Life Team.

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