Children’s Home gives thanks for MBC/CP revenue
By Allen Palmeri
October 21, 2003
BRIDGETON – Bob Kenison has been loyal to the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) for all of the 26 years that he has served with the Missouri Baptist Children’s Home (MBCH), but this has been a year where the Children’s Home president has been unjustly accused.
Simply speaking, Kenison is tired of the Children’s Home being confused with the Baptist Home.
Flanked by two of his deputies in the comfort of a conference room, Kenison smiled as he spoke about receiving letters from angry Missouri Baptists who have confused the two agencies.
The Baptist Home is one of five MBC agencies that have amended their charters to become self-perpetuating. (The MBC is now pursuing legal action to recover those agencies.) The Children’s Home never amended its charter, Kenison points out again and again as he responds to the letter writers who are mad at him.
"The convention was the first bright light for us in increased funding," he said.
In other words, the Baptist Home’s loss was the Children’s Home gain, according to the 2002 Cooperative Program Allocations Budget and the 2003 spending report for the first three quarters that was discussed Oct. 14 at the Children’s Home Board of Trustees meeting at the Bridgeton campus. An increase in Cooperative Program (CP) revenue from $265,259 in 2002 to $481,330 has been nothing but a blessing, Kenison said.
"Certainly that makes a tremendous difference," he said.
The Baptist Home and the Children’s Home used to be comparable in terms of their reliance on CP. In 2002, the Children’s Home received $420,000 and the Baptist Home got $400,000. However, after the Baptist Home broke away from the MBC, thereby losing its two percent share of the MBC budget, the Children’s Home was among the group of loyal agencies that benefited, going from 2.1 percent to 3.3 percent.
For the Children’s Home, which has experienced cash flow challenges like many not-for-profit organizations after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the increase in CP money has been a vital means of making ends meet. Last year, the Children’s Home had a $1.3 million shortfall after nine months, Kenison said. This year, the shortfall is $446,048.
Last year, CP was fourth among categories of revenue flowing into the Children’s Home general fund. Now at the level of $481,330, it is second, soaring past the categories of church gifts and wills/bequests. Individual gifts, the leading category, dropped from $645,119 to $624,462.
"We have felt the decline (since 9-11) in almost every area of income that we have," Kenison said. "Consequently, we’ve made significant cutbacks."
At the board meeting it was announced that the Children’s Home had to borrow from itself three times to make payroll and that there will be no salary increases for staff in 2004. A staff position that was reduced this year is being absorbed into the new budget.
In the context of an economic downturn and ongoing fiscal uncertainty, Kenison hung his president’s remarks on the certainty of Scripture. He reminded trustees that "when this stuff gets done every day it’s not something we did." Man’s job by the grace of God is to minister, but God’s job by the virtue of Him being God is to provide finances, he said.
"It’s not a special miracle," he said. "It’s an every-day miracle. I’m expecting God to do His usual stuff.
"We get confused about the privilege of participation. God doesn’t need us to do it. He allows us in."
By choosing to remain with the MBC, the Children’s Home is choosing to remain connected to the MBC and the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) through the channel of CP giving. Churches large and small throughout Missouri that wish to participate in supporting the Children’s Home have a viable means through CP, Kenison said.
"It may be a small part of it, but they are a part of it through that Cooperative Program, and that leads them to want to do more," Kenison said.
Kenison urged trustees to get behind the sale of 7,000 granite paver stones to help finance a $1 million Spiritual Life Center on the Bridgeton campus. It will have a chapel, classrooms and the chaplain’s office.
"As we march into next year, I have to have you help me do this," Kenison told the trustees. "Don’t you dare miss out on what God is doing.