A Hero’s Example I Can Follow

October 20, 2011

By Tim Rogers, Pastor, Ebenezer Baptist Church, Indian Trail, NC


As one gets older time seems to be a reality rag that wipes away the rose color on the glasses of idealism.  At an earlier time of my ministry I would attend conferences and retreats just to be close to those leaders I admired the most.  I got married when I was 33 years old and my wife was 30.  Being a pastor, I wanted her to meet some of my heroes whenever we could.  I remember being on my honeymoon and it took us from Myrtle Beach to Atlanta and then back to North Carolina.  While in Atlanta I stopped by one of my heroes homes for my wife to meet him.  Dr. Johnny Hunt was so very gracious and accommodating as he was preparing for church members to come by for a Christmas celebration he would hold every year.  Of course, FBC Woodstock was not as large then as it is now so he could still accommodate the church family in his home.  We pulled into his neighborhood and saw him in the driveway and he insisted we come inside for some “hanging out” time.

If you have heard Dr. Hunt speak you will know that “hanging out” is one of his spiritual gifts.  Approximately two years later Dr. Hunt and Ms Janet were passing us in a convention and he stopped Gail and I in the hallway.  He reminded Ms. Janet of our visit to their home a couple of Christmas’s earlier and we picked up where we left off.  Now, when Gail and I speak of our honeymoon with others we tell them that part of our honeymoon trip was a visit to Dr. Hunt and Ms. Janet’s home.  Of course, people may think we are crazy, but it certainly is a fond memory of ours because he is one of my heroes in the ministry.

Over the years I have seen Brother Johnny and interacted with him but these times have grown fewer and fewer.  One of the reasons is I followed Brother Johnny and his ministry over the years and there have been some things about which we disagreed.  Instead of vocally and publicly stating my disagreements, I have remained quiet because I do not want to do or say anything that would cause him personal anguish.  One such area of disagreement is the area of Cooperative Program giving that Brother Johnny has led FBC Woodstock to give over the years.  I have tried not to make any public statement concerning this about Brother Johnny — that is, until now.

Brother Johnny is one whom I can truly say has placed feet to his words.  Around North Carolina there is a saying; “put your money where your mouth is.”  Brother Johnny has certainly done that.  Let me give you some facts straight from the Annual Church Profile.

2008

Undesignated Funds: $17,450,278

Cooperative Program: $432,977 = 2.5%

2009

Undesignated Funds: $16,963,244

Cooperative Program: $468,750 = 2.7%

2010

Undesignated Funds: $17,450,278

Cooperative Program: $920,346 = 6.3%

What a great example!!!! Dr. Hunt has led FBC Woodstock to double their CP giving.  While we have never held any church to a percentage of giving most Southern Baptists would agree that 3 percent or below is just not showing much loyalty to convention causes.  The average giving in SBC churches, the last I saw, was between 5 and 6 percent.  Dr. Hunt has increased to above the average and look at the amount.  $920,346 is nearly $1 million I do not care how you look at it. Also, if one examines the undesignated funds one will find an increase of $487,034.  This means Dr. Hunt led the church to increase giving to the CP more than the amount of what they increased in “undesignated” funds.  No matter how one slices this pie one will find that FBC Woodstock sacrificed in order to increase to this percentage.

Let me say this in closing.  Brother Johnny is one that I admire as I see in him the integrity that is so desperately needed in all of our leaders.  Brother Johnny did not increase his giving to be elected president of the SBC; he has increased his giving when it has no potential help for him in the SBC.  CP giving not only helps the SBC and gives small churches like mine encouragement, but it also helps the GBC.  Georgia is struggling in finances just as other state conventions, but they are certainly buoyed by the increase to the coffers by just one church.  Can you imagine what would happen in Georgia, better than that, across the convention, if all churches would increase their CP giving by just 1 percent?

Thank you, Dr. Johnny Hunt, for your leadership in doubling your CP giving.  Yours is certainly an example that is worthy of emulation.

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Dwight McKissic

Tim,

You write…”moat Southern Baptist would agree that 3 percent or below is just not showing much loyalty to convention causes.” Most Black SBC churches give slightly less than 1 percent to the cooperative program.

Why do you think that is? What do you think the convention could to inspire them to give more? Would you label them as well “less than loyal to convention causes”? Do you believe the convention has shown loyalty to Black Churches in hiring qualified Blacks at entity head positions or even as VP’s at NAMB? Do you think that the percentage giving of Black SBC churches would increase if there were greater inclusion and representation at the entity head level?

Thanks,
Dwight

Dwight McKissic

Oops, “moat” should have been most. I’m just learning to type my own comments. I usually rely on my assistant, but she’s on vacation this week.

Matt Brady

Brother Dwight,

Could the cause and effect be reversed? Perhaps you are correct that Black SBC churches would give more to the SBC if there were more Blacks in leadership positions, but if as you say, most Black SBC churches are giving less than 1%, is it any wonder that more of their pastors are not chosen for leadership positions?

I hope that we would all agree that our entities should hire based on the content of character and not on the color of skin. Skin color aside, lack of support for an organization is hardly a characteristic that would qualify one to be in leadership positions of that organization.

As for the original post, I also applaud FBC Woodstock’s committment to the Cooperative Program.

    Dwight McKissic

    Matt,

    I believe you’re right. Nevertheless, this is an issue that needs to be addressed. There are Black churches like Fred Luter’s that give 5 percent or more. Perhaps convention leadership of Black pastors could be increased from among those who meet Tim’s 3 percent threshold.

Matt Brady

Fred Luter may soon be a prime example of my point that it is about commitment in the SBC and not about race.

Tim Rogers

Brother Dwight,

Please understand that I am not imposing a 3% “threshold” on CP. I am merely saying that at that level of giving for most churches, regardless of what it means in actual $$$’s” it really is a more accurate assessment of commitment to the organization. For example let’s say in your or my church we had two types of members those who were more well off financially than others and good people loving Jesus with all of their hearts and those who were not that well off financially and loving Jesus with all of their hearts. The ones that are well off have an annual income of $100,000 and those that are not that well off have an annual income of $50,000. The $100,000 income people gave 3% of their income to the church, 3% of their income to United Way, and gave 4% of their income to an Evangelist that you had come to the church. Those with the $50,000 income gave 7% of their income to the church 1% to the United Way and 1% to the same Evangelist. Of the two church members, which would you say was more committed to the local church? Also, of the two church members which would you say has a motive to see the church be what God desires to see the church be? I believe Matthew 6:21 applies here.

Thank God that Brother Johnny has increased his giving. Also, notice that the amount that was increased in his undesignated giving is not as much as the increase to the CP. Thus, FBC Woodstock gave their increase to the CP. That is strong!!

Blessings,
Tim

volfan007

I think there’s a lot of “Fat” bigotry going on in the SBC right now. I mean, when’s the last time we had a fat man elected as SBC President? When? How many fat men are in leadership positions in the SBC? Can you name any? I mean, there’s a couple that get close to being fat, but I cant think of any that have any belly on them, at all.

I want more fat people to be elected as SBC President. And, I want more fat people to be put into leadership positions in the SBC. Otherwise, the SBC shouldnt expect to get “fat” on my CP giving!!!!!!

David :)

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