Friday, September 15, 2017

Our IMB and conservative fiscal management

The IMB’s report of their recent trustee meeting included information about their budget for the coming fiscal year, October 1, 2017 through September 30, 2018. The total budget is $262 million. The Board’s budget is by far the largest of all Southern Baptist entities and is slightly more than the combined totals of all six seminaries plus NAMB. My grandson would call it “ginormous” if it was on his radar.

The budget is described as “balanced” and “conservative,” terms that should assuage all Southern Baptists who drop their hard-earned money in the offering plates Sunday after Sunday to reach the world for Christ.

The budget is further described as following five core principles:

  •  Uses realistic to conservative projections for receipts (projecting Lottie Moon Christmas Offering® receipts at $153 million for 2017-18);

  • Maintains contingency reserves at an appropriate level (set at 5.5 months, which falls within SBC Executive Committee guidelines);

  • Excludes property sales from budget receipts or expenses;

  • Spends 100 percent of LMCO receipts on the mission field; and

  • Presents a balanced budget for approval each year ($262 million for 2017-18).

Note that the projection for this year’s Lottie Moon is about the same as last year. No excessive exuberance in budgeting Lottie Moon money not yet received. In the past an inflated goal was conjured and funds budgeted as if money was in hand; hence, a huge mess. Seems realistic to me to plan and budget for what was received last year.

The note that revenue from property sales are not factored in the budget is not insignificant.

At some point down the road someone will write a realistic history of this period of the IMB and it will include, probably gently, the assertion that IMB was somewhat mismanaged during a long stretch prior to the catastrophic missionary reduction plan of 2015-2016. That’s my editorial comment about water over the dam, anyway.

Any organization as large as the IMB would have some areas worthy of scrutiny and criticism; nonetheless, I’m supporting of current leadership and am planning to give generously to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering this year and it would be good if the offering was more than expected.

“Conservative fiscal management”…has a nice ring to it.

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