IMB leaders announce plan to balance budget, prepare for future

RICHMOND, Va.—International Mission Board (IMB) leaders have outlined a plan to address the IMB’s revenue shortfalls and complete a reset of the organization in order to move forward into the future with innovative vision, wise stewardship and high accountability.

The plan was presented by senior IMB leadership, including President David Platt, during an Aug. 27 town hall meeting including missionaries and staff, who collectively attended either in person or through digital communication. IMB trustees were informed of the plan during their Aug. 25-26 board meeting in downtown Richmond, Va.

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Gov. Asa Hutchinson directs DHS to end contract with Planned Parenthood

LITTLE ROCK – On Aug. 14, Gov. Asa Hutchinson directed the Department of Human Services to terminate its existing agreements with Planned Parenthood of Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma. Termination will be effective 30 days from that date.

Governor Hutchinson released a statement, saying, “It is apparent that after the recent revelations on the actions of Planned Parenthood, that this organization does not represent the values of the people of our state and Arkansas is better served by terminating any and all existing contracts with them. This includes their affiliated organization, Planned Parenthood of Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma.

“I appreciate the legislature’s leadership on this important issue, especially that of Senator Eddie Joe Williams and Representative David Meeks.”


Fayetteville ordinance opponents rally at University Baptist ahead of Sept. 8 vote  

FAYETTEVILLE – Opponents of a proposed civil rights ordinance held a rally Aug. 11 attended by more than 200 people at University Baptist Church in Fayetteville.

Photo of signs displayed at the rally from the KFSM-TV website.Organizers of the rally, Protect Fayetteville, say the proposed ordinance, Ordinance 5781 – which will be put to a vote Sept. 8 – infringes on religious First Amendment freedoms. If approved, proponents says it would protect the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community from being denied service or housing or being fired based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The rally at University Baptist featured Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of an Oregon bakery fined $135,000 for discrimination after refusing to bake a cake for a lesbian wedding, according to media reports.

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Hundreds of Syrian Christians flee Islamic State

BEIRUT The Associated Press reported Saturday, Aug. 8, that hundreds of Christian families have fled a central Syrian town as Islamic State fighters advance.

Saturday was the anniversary of the start of U.S.-led coalition airstrikes against the extremists in Iraq, which has conducted nearly 6,000 airstrikes against the Islamic State group. Operations have been expanded to target the extremists in Syria as well. But a year later, the Islamic State group still is able to attack across its self-declared "caliphate" in both countries, despite some gains by Kurdish fighters and allied Iraqi forces.

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Cross Church gives $1 million to CP in '15

SPRINGDALE – Cross Church in northwest Arkansas announced Aug. 2 its commitment to give $1 million through the Cooperative Program (CP) in 2015, as well as plans to do the same in 2016.

FloydRonnie Floyd, Cross Church senior pastor and president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), said the church is increasing its previous pledge of $900,000 to $1 million and is setting its sights to do the same next year.

Floyd, in an email to J.D. "Sonny" Tucker, executive director of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC), said the increase in CP giving is “where I have wanted us to work toward for the past 3-4 years as a matter of stewardship of our church.”

“Due to us having some monies left from our Greater Things Campaign designated for global missions and relief, we were going to take $100,000 from this account and forward to the Arkansas Baptist Convention this week, along with our final two monthly payments of our budget this year ... August and September ... resulting in our church reaching this goal of $1 million in this budget year,” said Floyd in the email.

“The check containing the church’s August and September CP gifts, plus the additional money, was sent to the Arkansas Baptist Convention on Monday, August 3, bringing the church's CP gifts to $1 million a full 55 days before the its fiscal year ended.”

The $1 million given by Cross Church means it joins only a few Southern Baptist churches in history to give at least $1 million through the Cooperative Program.

“This is a huge advance for our church, and I am really proud of them,” said Floyd, adding, “While this is not ultimately important in eternity, we know it is reality simply due to what is a matter of record. What we are doing this year with this other gift (will) expedite us giving $1 million this year through CP and from here on if we adopt our new budget, our budget itself will allocate $1 million. We give God praise.

“We believe in the importance of not only reaching our region, but our state, nation and world. Cross Church has the missional vision: Reaching Northwest Arkansas, America, and the World for Jesus Christ. We are grateful to God for you and for our partnership with our Southern Baptist Convention. Please pray God blesses our church financially.”

Tucker, in a statement provided to the Arkansas Baptist News, applauded Floyd and Cross Church.

“(It) is $100,000 more than they had originally planned to give, and an increase of almost $300,000 over last year,” he said.

“Many SBC churches of all sizes across Arkansas maintain a strong commitment to missions through Southern Baptists' unified missions giving strategy called (the) Cooperative Program, and I am tremendously thankful for their sacrificial giving. I do not want to minimize those churches and neither does Pastor Floyd. However, I believe it is important to recognize the commitment of Cross Church and SBC President Ronnie Floyd to missions through the Cooperative Program.”

Tucker said Frank Page, president of the SBC Executive Committee, told him that only a few churches historically have given this much through the CP.

“This is a huge financial commitment by Cross Church, enabled initially by ending their national television ministry and other church ministries. Dr. Floyd is committed to a balanced approach in fulfilling the Great Commission regionally, statewide, nationally and globally,” he said.

“This commitment to missions through the Cooperative Program means that Cross Church is impacting national and global ministries as well as Arkansas ministries such as church planting, church revitalization, reaching students, disaster relief and the ministries of Arkansas Baptists' agencies and institutions. Cross Church's commitment to Cooperative Program missions is also accompanied by a fierce commitment to their own mission endeavors, such as community missions, national and international mission trips, church planting and giving generously to other missions offerings.”

Tucker concluded, “I want to celebrate this milestone in the ministry of Cross Church and my friend, Ronnie Floyd. Cooperative missions in Arkansas are stronger than ever as churches like Cross Church and others sacrifice together to reach the world for Jesus Christ.”

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