Business and financial plan
- Convention Budget: Each entity of the Convention shall submit to the Executive Committee for its review:
The Executive Committee shall present to the Convention a budget, which budget shall consist of all the
budgets of all the entities which have been submitted to the Executive Committee and reviewed by it, and
recommend the amount of Convention funds to be allocated to each cause or entity.
- an itemized estimate of its receipts for the next fiscal year, and
- an itemized estimate of its expenditures for the next fiscal year according to the rule set forth below (See
Section II-C) for making operating budgets.
- Operating Budgets:
- Convention Operating Budget – The Executive Committee shall recommend to the Convention an
operating budget which shall include all expenses of the Convention, committees, and other items included
in the Convention Operating Budget. The Executive Committee shall also recommend to the Convention
the source of these funds.
- Entities Not Sharing in Table of Percentages – The entities of the Convention not sharing in the table of
percentages for distribution of funds shall be provided for as follows:
- Expenses of Standing Committees – The Executive Committee shall approve or recommend to the
Convention, after a personal conference or correspondence with chairpersons of standing committees,
a sum of money to be appropriated to each of them for the Convention year.
- Expenses of Special Committees –
- The expenses incurred by special committees appointed by the Convention to perform duties
connected with one or more entities of the Convention shall be borne by the entity or entities
concerned on a basis pro rata to receipts unless the expenses are otherwise specifically provided.
- The expenses incurred by special committees which do not directly concern any of the entities of
the Convention shall be paid out of the Convention Operating Budget. Unless the amount of
expenses is fixed by the Convention, the Executive Committee must agree to the amount to be
expended before such expenditure is incurred.
- Itemized accounts of expenses of members of such committees shall be required and approved
by the chairperson before the same shall be paid.
- Convention Year: The financial affairs of the Convention and all its entities, except those of the
theological seminaries and GuideStone Financial Resources, shall be operated on the fiscal year beginning
October 1 and closing September 30. The seminaries owned and operated under the authority of the Convention
shall use the fiscal year beginning August 1 and closing July 31. GuideStone Financial Resources shall use
the fiscal year beginning January 1 and closing December 31.
- The Disbursing Entity: By agreement, all sums collected in the states for the causes fostered by this
Convention will be forwarded at least monthly by each state office to the Executive Committee of this
Convention, which shall act as the disbursing agent of this Convention. The Executive Committee shall remit at
least weekly to each of the entities of the Convention the funds, distributable and designated, belonging to each
entity. The first distribution in each month shall be on the seventh day of the month, or the nearest working day
thereafter. The Executive Committee shall make monthly reports of receipts by states, and of disbursements by
entities, and shall forward each month copies of these reports to the executives of the entities of the Convention,
to the state offices, and to the denominational papers.
- Distribution of Cooperative Program Receipts: In order that the financial plans and purposes of the
Convention may operate successfully, the Convention appeals to its constituents to give to the whole
Cooperative Program and to recognize the wisdom and right of the Convention to distribute its receipts from the
Cooperative Program, thus assuring an equitable distribution among the entities of the Convention.
- Fund Raising Activities:
- Approval of Financial Activities – No entity of the Southern Baptist Convention shall conduct any type of
fund raising activity without the advance approval of the Convention, or its Executive Committee. No
advance approval shall be required for the two Convention approved special offerings: Lottie Moon
Christmas Offering for International Missions and Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American
- Reporting Fund Raising Activities – Each Convention entity shall report annually to the Executive
Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention on any type of fund raising activity conducted by the
entity. The report shall include a summary of the activity, its title, financial goals, structure, cost, and the
results of such fund raising during the past year. No report shall be required for the Lottie Moon Christmas
Offering for International Missions and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American
- Cooperative Program Promotion – Each Convention entity shall report on its efforts during the year in
promoting Cooperative Program missions giving.
- No Financial Appeals to Churches – In no case shall any Convention entity approach a church for
inclusion in its church budget or appeal for financial contributions.
- Designated Gifts: The Convention binds itself and its entities faithfully to apply and use such gifts as
designated by the donor.
- Trust Funds: Each entity of the Convention is hereby instructed and ordered to keep all trust funds and
designated gifts (for they are trust funds) sacred to the trust and designation; that they be kept separate from all
other funds of such entity; that they are not to be used even temporarily for any other purpose than the purpose
specified; and that such funds shall not hereafter be invested in the securities of any denominational body or
- Gift Annuity Agreements: All entities of this Convention writing gift annuity agreements in the future, and
the Executive Committee when writing gift annuity agreements on behalf of the Southern Baptist Convention,
are encouraged to place the annuity portion of each gift annuity on deposit with the Southern Baptist
Foundation or GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention and enter into a contractual
agreement with the Southern Baptist Foundation or GuideStone Financial Resources to pay the annuity
payments required under the gift annuity agreement. This provision shall not apply to gifts of property, real or
personal, the income of which is to go to the donor without further or additional obligation on the part of the
entity accepting the gift. The Southern Baptist Foundation and GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern
Baptist Convention shall, when determining the amounts required to fund the annuity portion of any gift annuity
agreement, use mortality, interest, and expense rates which are approved or recommended by any appropriate
regulatory authority, if any, or which are based on sound actuarial statistics.
- Indebtedness/Liability: An entity or institution shall not create any liability or indebtedness, except such as
can and will be repaid out of its anticipated receipts for current operations within a period of three (3) years,
without the consent of the Convention or the Executive Committee. In order to obtain such approval, the entity
must file a statement showing the source of such anticipated receipts.
Such consent must be likewise obtained for a purchase of properties (directly or indirectly or through ownership
of controlling stock in other corporations or otherwise) subject to liens or encumbrances which cannot be repaid
out of its anticipated receipts for current operations within a period of three (3) years.
- Capital Fund Allocations: Capital funds are allocated for the purpose of obtaining, expanding, improving, or
maintaining properties owned by entities of the Southern Baptist Convention and essential to implementing
entity program assignments.
Capital funds are used in projects which add to the long-range assets of the entity.
In making allocations for capital funds, priority shall be given to those projects which make the greatest
contribution to advancing the overall objectives of the Southern Baptist Convention in bringing men to God
through Jesus Christ.
Capital funds projects shall cost more than $5,000 and have a projected life span of more than five (5) years.
Items such as office equipment, furniture replacement, or books shall not be acquired through the capital fund
Repairs and maintenance of income-producing property shall be made from earned income. Major repairs to
non income-producing property may be considered as being eligible for capital fund allocations.
- Contingent Reserves: Each entity of this Convention shall set up as soon as possible a reserve for
contingencies to provide for deficits that may occur either through decreased receipts or through emergencies or
both. The maximum amount of contingent reserve of any entity shall be determined by the entity, subject to the
approval of the Convention. Entities shall state on the balance sheets of the annual audits the amounts in
Contingent Reserve Funds.
- Financial Report:
- Audit Reports – The entities of the Convention and the Executive Committee shall close their books
and accounts as of the close of business on September 30 of each year, or July 31 in the case of the seminaries,
or December 31 in the case of GuideStone Financial Resources, and have them audited by an independent certified
public accountant (the external auditor) in accordance with auditing standards generally accepted in the United
States of America.
Each entity of the Convention shall forward a copy of its external auditor’s audit report (or, if more than
one, all such reports) to the Executive Committee, as soon as possible after the close of its fiscal year.
Additionally, as a part of this annual submission process, each entity shall also submit a statement signed
by its chief executive officer and the chief financial officer which affirms that the books and accounts are
accurate and complete to the best of the officer’s knowledge, and that the officer believes the corporation’s
internal controls are adequate.
Each entity and the Executive Committee shall appoint a committee of its own trustees to undertake and
accomplish duties pertinent to audit reports. These committees shall be appointed, and the trustees serving
on the committees shall operate, independent of influence by their corporation’s management, and each
such committee shall include at least one trustee who is competent by training and experience in fiscal
matters. The duties these committees shall perform for their respective entities shall include:
As a part of each external auditor’s audit report, the external auditor shall prepare for the entity’s audit
committee a separate letter on the auditing firm’s letterhead (the “management letter”) in which the
external auditor makes any recommendations concerning the entity’s financial and accounting policies,
processes, internal controls, or other matters. If the external auditor has no recommendations, he should so
state in the management letter to the entity’s audit committee. The entity’s administration shall forward a
copy of the management letter along with any comments that the administration might deem desirable to
the Executive Committee simultaneously with the external auditor’s audit report, for review and response
(if appropriate) by the Executive Committee. The process of submission and review of the external
auditors’ audit reports and management letters of the several entities by the Executive Committee shall be
governed by the assigned responsibilities and limitations upon authority described in SBC Bylaw 18 E and
its subparagraphs (6), (7), (9), and (12).
When securities are placed for holding with a trustee (i.e. bank, trust company, foundation, etc.), a certified
statement from such trustee should be made to the external auditor and be made a part of the annual
external auditor’s audit report or submitted as a supplement to the report.
- 1) recommending the appointment of the external auditor,
- 2) studying the external auditor’s audit report upon its completion,
- 3) maintaining the independence of the entity’s financial auditors,
- 4) reviewing the entity’s critical accounting policies and decisions and the adequacy of its internal control
- 5) preserving the integrity of the financial reporting process implemented by management, and
- 6) assuring that the business procedures listed in Article XVII are followed.
- Printing of Reports – The financial report of each entity and of the Executive Committee shall be printed in
the Convention Book of Reports, or the Convention Annual, and shall contain the following six items, the
first five of which come from its latest annual audit report:
- Statement of Financial Position
- Statement of Activities (revenues, expenses, and other changes in net assets)
- Statement of Cash Flows
- Classified list of investments by fund and type of investment
- Receipts by states of contributions. These should show:
- Cooperative Program receipts received through the Executive Committee
- Designated receipts received through the Executive Committee
- Gifts not received through the Executive Committee
- A statement executed by the chair of the entity’s board attesting that the board’s officers confirm the
following fiscal conditions exist:
- The expenses and perquisites of the president are not excessive and are in keeping with
biblical stewardship, including every emolument and personal benefit of any kind (and
specifically including housing, travel, automobile(s), and personal assistants) all valued at
- All corporate expenses are reasonable and incurred to accomplish the entity’s Organization
Manual mission statement, Organization Manual ministry assignments, and any other
responsibilities previously approved by the messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention
and still in force.
- All corporate expenses are incurred by the administration in a manner that reflects integrity
and avoids appearances of impropriety while upholding a positive Christian witness to the
Convention and beyond.
- Safeguarding of Funds: All persons who transfer or safeguard funds or securities of the Convention or any
entity of the Convention shall be bonded in an amount sufficient to protect against loss of the funds or securities
involved. Such bonds may be reviewed and approved by the Convention or its Executive Committee.
Members of cooperating Southern Baptist churches shall have access to information from the records of
Southern Baptist Convention entities regarding income, expenditures, debts, reserves, operating balances, and
The securities of all Convention entities shall be held and maintained in a prudent manner, including under such
internal controls as may be recommended in the entity’s annual audit.
- New Enterprises: No new enterprise involving expenditure of money shall be authorized by the Convention
except upon favorable action by the Convention in two (2) succeeding annual meetings; provided, however, that
this restriction shall not apply to a recommendation of any entity of the Convention concerning its own work.
In the event any new hospital propositions are made, they must be considered as new enterprises of the
Convention, whether money is involved at the time of the acquiring of such property or not, and must be
presented to two (2) succeeding annual sessions of the Convention.
- Appropriations by the Entities: No entity shall make any appropriation to any cause or for any purpose other
than for the promotion of its own work except by the approval or upon the instruction of the Convention or of
the Executive Committee.
LifeWay Christian Resources shall be required to transfer funds to the Southern Baptist Convention each year to
be used as the Convention determines. LifeWay Christian Resources shall not be permitted or required to
transfer funds to other Southern Baptist Convention entities or committees.
- Business Procedure: Entity boards of trustees should oversee the operations of the entity in such a manner as
will assure effective and ethical management. Disclosures of the entity’s relationship with other entities, its
activities, liabilities, commitments, and results of operations should be accurate and complete and include all
material information. The entity should not make any loan from funds of the entity to a trustee. The entity
should not make any loan from funds of the entity to an officer or employee without having first obtained the
approval of its board (or its delegated subcommittee) after disclosure of all relevant details. Employees and
trustees should not appropriate for personal advantage any corporate property or business opportunities which
should be enjoyed by the entity.
As a normal operating policy, each entity of the Southern Baptist Convention shall refrain from entering any
business transaction with a trustee or employee, or a business enterprise in which a trustee or employee has an
interest. An exception to this policy may be made, at the discretion of the board of trustees, in any case wherein
it appears that a commodity or service is unavailable on a more favorable basis from any other source, or a
commodity or service, at the discretion of the board, is found to be in the best interest of the entity. Competitive
bids should be taken if possible. In any case being considered for exception, the extent of the trustee’s or
employee’s interest shall be disclosed to the entire board.
- Professional Services: The Executive Committee at its discretion may employ an auditor to study the audited
report with the auditors of the entities in the light of Convention instructions.
The Executive Committee at its discretion may employ an engineer or architect to study proposed capital
projects or maintenance of present capital assets.
- Publication and Merchandising Policy: All entities of the Convention should give priority to using the
services of LifeWay Christian Resources for editing, publishing, and distributing published materials that are
to be sold. Entities may publish their own materials in print or digital form promoting their assigned ministries.
No entity other than LifeWay Christian Resources should be
authorized to operate physical book stores at any location other than
its principal office.
The Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention may
review the financial agreements entered into by LifeWay Christian
Resources and other Convention entities and should, whenever
appropriate, recommend changes in Convention policies and revisions of
existing policies related to such agreements. At the request of any
Convention entity, this committee should also suggest to LifeWay
Christian Resources and other Convention entities steps they should take
to resolve any disagreements that arise concerning financial
No entity shall publish a printed or digital format periodical,
for general distribution to the churches or to members of the churches,
if the Convention or its Executive Committee votes to request the
periodical not be published.
- Publications: The plans and methods herein set forth shall be published each year in the Convention Annual,
following the Bylaws of the Convention.
- Amendments: This Business and Financial Plan may be amended by two-thirds of the messengers present and
voting at any time except during the last session of the Convention.