The MBC Annual Meeting is right around the corner. Allow me to alert you to seven highlights:
- Corporate prayer. There is nothing quite so special as God’s people calling out to the Lord for our neighbors, and for a nation that is in desperate need of the Lord. All we have to do is watch the news to learn how decadent our culture has become. This creates an amazing opportunity for believers to share their faith through spiritual conversations in multiple venues.
- Adoption of new governing documents. Finally, through the arduous process of deliberation, a final vote will be cast regarding the adoption of revised MBC governing documents. A great shout-out goes to David Sheppard and the governing documents task force; our legal counsel; the chairmen of our entities; the committee on continuing review; those who asked great, thoughtful questions; and the myriad of proofreaders who gave us the final draft. The up or down vote on these new documents, which provide leadership for today and the future, is scheduled for Monday evening. There’s still time to read the new governing documents in their final form at mobaptist.org/executive-office. If you have any questions you can always call me at 573.636.0400 or email DrJYeats@MoBaptist.org.
- Unified 2018 budget. For several years, the MBC has had a Plan A and a Plan B to assist those who struggled with our legal efforts to regain entities that became self-perpetuating in the early 2000s. We are nearing the end of this process and believe we have sufficient insurance proceeds designated to complete the task of the Agency Restoration Group. No CP funds are allocated for litigation in 2018. We hope soon to see closure of this chapter in Missouri Baptist history.
- Governor Eric Greitens. The governor addresses messengers on Tuesday afternoon. While he is not a Baptist, he certainly shares views on many social issues Missouri Baptists cherish. We are very fortunate to have him address our convention. He is grateful for the good work Missouri Baptists do through Disaster Relief and our care for those in need.
- Spiritual and emotional health of church leaders. This always is a concern for the MBC. We know it is difficult for our churches to fulfill God’s mission when leaders are consumed with the brokenness of life. Judy Dabler is uniquely skilled to speak on this vital topic. You will want to have your pen and paper handy to take good notes on her insights.
- Great preaching. Monday night MBC president Ken Parker preaches a special word that sets the theme of our convention, and Tuesday morning Kirk Baker, FBC Camdenton, preaches the annual sermon. Kevin Ezell, president of the North American Mission Board, and Tom Elliff, retired president of the International Mission Board, are our guests. It is rare indeed to have these two share their hearts with us. On Wednesday morning, Elliff and Ezell are our special guests for a reservation-only brunch with MBC ministers and their wives.
- Networking. One of the most important aspects of the Annual Meeting is to network with fellow brothers and sisters engaged in the work of sharing the gospel with the people in the state/region. Take a few moments to listen to the stories of God at work through fellow laborers.
Hard to believe, but this October marks the 100th anniversary of the charitable tax deduction in the United States! Seems that it’s been around as long as the nation itself. Not true. But the IRS and Form 1040 weren’t always around either.
A friend of mine pointed me to an interesting editorial in Philanthropy Daily by Travis LaCounter that tells the story of the tax deduction. Soon after America’s engagement in World War I, the Hollis Amendment to the War Revenue Bill of 1917 ratified the Charitable Tax Deduction.
The purpose of the deduction was to preserve and promote American philanthropy. “In America, as perhaps nowhere else in the world,” declared an editorial in the Boston Transcript on June 29, 1917, “educational and philanthropic institutions have been built up and maintained by private subscription.” The article argues that in other countries “of slower development” than the United States, welfare work and social services have had to be taken up by government organs, whose resolve (and funding) tends to dry up during times of war.
Some people complained back then, as they do today, that the charitable tax deduction would simply give the wealthy an unnecessary benefit at public expense to starving and underserved tax coffers. Senator Henry F. Hollis countered, “Look at it this way: For every dollar contributed to these public charities, educational, scientific, or otherwise, the public gets 100 percent return on investment; it is completely devoted to its purpose. However, if we undertake to support these institutions (governmentally) via taxes imposed, the return on our investment would be between, 5-40 percent, Instead of the full 100 percent.”
Senator Hollis’ “efficiency quotient” remains just as true today as a hundred years ago! Cutting out the bureaucratic middleman and red tape allows charitable organizations to render aid, educate, and bring assistance directly to the intended beneficiaries, and in a much more efficient and cost-effective manner than a governmental pass-through system enforced by tax policy.
While the MBC and its entities depend on donated dollars for ministries to foster-care children, abandoned children, sexually abused children and women, disaster relief, higher education, and many other important ministries vital to the social and educational needs of our state, our charitable ministries are much more efficient than government operations. The USA has enormously benefited through tax-deductible contributions.
Encourage generosity with everyone and watch what God does.