DALLAS - During the September 29 business session of the Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Board, it was unanimously approved for the convention to purchase 12.87 acres of land in San Antonio currently owned by the Baptist University of the Americas. The land will be purchased for $4.373 million, with an additional cash payment of $200,000 to pay off two bank loans held by the university.
“Thank you for walking alongside them [BUA] in this time of need," said Dr. David Hardage, executive director. “We will continue to pray for them and seek God to meet their needs. This is a great way to help one of our institutions as they continue to find ways to educate Texas Baptist ministers and pastors." It was also noted by Executive Board members that this is similar to the convention helping two other universities remain open in times of need - Baylor University in the early 1900s and Dallas Baptist University [then College] in 1982.
The recommendation was presented by the Finance Committee of the board, chaired by Vernon Stokes, in an effort to help the Baptist institution alleviate a significant amount of debt. The BGCT plans to actively market the property for sale following the purchase. Additionally, the BGCT will waive rent from BUA for up to 3 to 5 years or until property sells and will agree to reasonable period for BUA to remain a tenant after property is sold. The recommendation also includes a provision that the BGCT will have a representative at BUA board meetings.
Also, during the meeting, Ron Lyles, pastor of South Main Baptist Church in Pasadena, was re-elected as chair and Ernest Dagohoy, executive pastor of First Philippine Baptist Church in Missouri City, was reelected as vice chair of the board.
The board recommended a $37 million budget for 2015 to be presented at the Annual Meeting in November, a decrease of $2.14 million from this year. The 2015 BGCT budget will rely on $31.9 million in Cooperative Program receipts from churches, a decrease of $1.95 million from the 2014 budget. It also requires $2.6 million in investment income and an additional $500,000 from individual donors.
Following a report from the Annual Meeting Study Committee, the board approved a recommendation to extend the purpose of the Annual Meeting beyond strictly business. Under the new proposal, “the annual meeting of the Convention shall be a gathering for the purpose of worship, fellowship, mobilizing, encouraging, informing and uniting Texas Baptists to accomplish the Great Commission, as well as to elect officers; receive recommendations and reports of officers, committees, and board; and for any other business that may arise or be scheduled."
In other business, the following individuals were named to boards and councils:
Theological Education Council - Jack Bodenhamer - First Baptist Church, Elm Mott; and Amy Wilkins - Valley Ranch Baptist Church, Coppell.
Historical Collection Council - Tommy Hood - Lakeshore Drive Baptist Church, Weatherford; and Matt Killough - First Baptist Church, Sonora.
Chaplaincy Endorsement Council - Melissa Pardun - Antioch Baptist Church, Waco.
Texas Baptist Missions Foundation Council - Bryan Finley - First Baptist Church, Kerrville; Bill Brian - First Baptist Church, Amarillo; Dan Ellis - Park Cities Baptist Church, Dallas; Gary Fullington - Park Cities Baptist Church, Dallas; Pat Hyde - First Baptist Church, Kenedy; Bob Moore - First Baptist Church, Hamlin; Fred Roach - The Heights Baptist Church, Richardson; and Malcolm Watson - First Baptist Church, Lindale.
Institutions Audit Group - Stacy Leonard - First Baptist Church, Garland; and Bill Broyles- First Baptist Church, Garland.
Christian Life Commission - Linda Brian - First Baptist Church, Amarillo; Delcia Maria Chisolm - Coastal Bend Fellowship Church, Kingsville; Brenda Rincones - Alliance Church, Lubbock; and Elmo Johnson - Up Lift 4thWard & Rose of Sharon Baptist Church, Houston.
Baptist Student Ministries Strategic Planning Team - Gerald McMath - Central Baptist Church, Carthage; and Becky Biser - University Baptist Church, Fort Worth.
Baptist Student Ministry Council - Tom Henderson - Heights Baptist Church, Temple. BaptistWay Press Advisory Council - Robby Barrett - First Baptist Church, Amarillo; and Jill Fulghum - Southland Baptist Church, San Angelo.
Baptist Distinctives Council - Keith Bruce - First Baptist Church, San Antonio; and Tom Ruane - Park Meadows Baptist Church, Waxahachie.
Missions Funding Group - Patti Jones - South Oaks Baptist Church, Arlington; Jackie Miller - Coronado Baptist Church, El Paso; and Eric McNeil - Park Cities Baptist Church, Dallas.
Hispanic Education Initiative Council - David Natividad - Mision Nueva Vida, Brownwood; Roberto Cepeda - Olmito Community Church, Olmito; Joe Rangel - First Baptist Church, Weslaco; and Carrie Tunson - Bethlehem Baptist Church, Mansfield.
Texas Baptist Ethnic Affinity Council - Jeff Johnson - First Baptist Church, Commerce. Evangelism Strategic Planning Team - Joe Fields - New Beginnings Church, Lewisville; Mark Hewitt - Beltway Park Baptist Church, Abilene; and Tedye Schuehler - Victory Life Church, Lubbock.