#SBC18 Motions: Part Two

MOTION #2: “Mr. President, my name is ____________________________ and I am a messenger from _________________________________ in (City, State). I move that the Southern Baptist Convention request the Executive Committee to amend the Business and Financial Plan and other necessary legal authorities to require and publish to the convention a comprehensive external forensic and operational audit of all convention entities every ten years.

RATIONALE: The convention already requires each SBC entity to publish an annual audit report and signed statement affirming that the entities’ internal controls are “adequate.”

Well, “adequate” just doesn’t cut it when we’re talking about Kingdom work. The standard for Southern Baptist entities should be “above reproach,” and we’re learning just how easy it can be for a single entity head — or board of trustees for that matter — to allow mission creep, lax financial protocols, and poor management to metastasize to the detriment of the convention’s witness and reputation.

Southwestern Seminary didn’t get here overnight. The International Mission Board didn’t wake up one morning and decide to call home more than a thousand missionaries. The North American Mission Board didn’t fall prey to “extravagant spending and failed ministry projects” all of a sudden.

The Conservative Resurgence may have been successful is protecting the Bible from liberalism, but we’ve come face-to-face with the reality that some Southern Baptists leaders haven’t been doing very well protecting convention resources from waste, fraud, and abuse. In fact, if Southwestern Seminary were a publicly-traded corporation, Paige Patterson could already be in prison.

This year, the Department of Defense — long known for mission creep, wasteful spending, and internal programmatic and personality-driven silos — has finally begun the behemoth task of auditing the department for the first time in history. More than 1,200 independent auditors have be unleashed on the department. In the end, taxpayers will have “shareholder confidence” that the department’s financial statement presents a true and accurate picture of its financial condition and operations.

This year’s Cooperative Program Allocation Budget is $192 million.  Over the last ten years, Southern Baptist churches have contributed more than $1.5 billion through the Cooperative Program, not counting designated offerings.  This level of funding demands more than a “signed statement” attesting to “adequate” internal controls. It demands a book-to-floor inspection of real property assets. It demands a full reconciliation of all financial transactions. It demands verification that designated contributions are spent appropriately. And it demands real world recommendations for improvement from objective, independent advisors.

I’m not saying Southern Baptists should stop trusting their entities.

I’m just saying it’s time to trust . . . and verify.

SUNDAY BONUS MOTION: Mr. President, my name is ____________________________ and I am a messenger from _________________________________ in (City, State). I move that the Southern Baptist Convention request the trustees of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary to bring a report to the 2019 annual meeting certifying whether campus construction projects from 2003 to present have been undertaken in a manner consistent with the SBC Business and Financial Plan, which stipulates that “competitive bids should be taken if possible” in addition to other protections regarding potential conflicts of interest, self-dealing, and fundraising activities.



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