Board passes alcohol policy tied to funding
JEFFERSON CITY – After a marathon four-hour stretch in executive session, the Executive Board of the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) breezed through its regular business session at their regularly scheduled meeting April 10 at the Baptist Building.
The board passed all recommendations brought to the floor, including a revised policy on alcohol consumption for church planters.
Church planters receiving MBC funds already must sign a six-paragraph statement relating to alcohol. The revised agreement states that not only will church planters abide by the MBC’s policy on alcohol, but that they will “teach the strong Biblical warnings of the consumption of alcohol for all Christians.”
The italicized portion reflects another addition to the policy. “While the Scriptures do no explicitly forbid all alcohol consumption, there are repeated warnings concerning strong drink. In light of this, it is believed that consumption of alcohol is not a wise approach for the believer in his Christian walk, and non-consumption guarantees the absence of all future problems related to the consumption of alcohol.”
The revisions passed unanimously without discussion. Alcohol consumption as been a topic of interest of late since it became public knowledge that The Journey, a church in St. Louis that has received an MBC New Work Fund loan for $200,000, sponsors a theological forum at a local brewery.
A change to the MBC bylaws was approved to be considered for a vote at the July 2007 meeting of the board in Jefferson City. It would require a two-thirds vote to remove money from the Reserve Fund, instead of a simple majority.
The board approved a motion to authorize $67,300 for improvements to the Baptist Building and empowered the interim executive director to release interest (quit claim) in the Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church in Hartsburg. The church is trying to sell the property and relocate but the deed contains a clause that if the property ever ceases to be an MBC church, the property reverts to the Executive Board.
The Board voted on 10 other proposals, mostly dealing with the MBC and Cooperative Programs budgets. They approved the 2009 budget planning process as well as 2008 goals for the Cooperative Program ($16.5 million), Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for World Missions ($4 million), the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions ($2 million), World Hunger ($325,000) and the Rheubin L. South Missouri Mission Offering (800,000). These are the same goals as 2007.
The Cooperative Program is Southern Baptists’ method of supporting missions and ministry efforts of the MBC and the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). It is separate from the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Fund of which 100 percent of monies go to aid the needy in the general public and the Rheubin L. South Missouri Missions Offering (MMO) of which 100 percent of monies go only to Missouri ministries.
According to the approved recommendation, the first 1 percent of the Cooperative Program receipts will be dedicated to the promotion of the Cooperative Program. The remaining $16.3 million will be divided between the MBC (36 percent) and the SBC (64 percent) – the same percentages as 2007.