By Elizabeth Young

At their meeting Sept. 10 in Phoenix, the Convention Council of the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention accepted a proposal to expand the Send Phoenix church planting network statewide, adopted strategic goals for the Centennial Vision 2.0 and approved a 2020 budget for consideration by messengers at the annual meeting in November.

The North American Mission Board proposed expanding the existing Send Phoenix church planting network, which actually includes the region from Phoenix to Tucson, to include the entire state, David Johnson, AZSBC executive director, told the council.

For the state convention, this will not demand a big change to meet NAMB requirements, Johnson said. “We were already complying with what NAMB was requiring for this.”

Resources available to church planters in the Send City region will now be available statewide, and when that is not the case, the AZSBC will work to provide additional resources, Johnson said.

“I want us to be unified in our church planting statewide,” he said.

The council adopted 19 Centennial Vision 2.0 strategic goals developed by the church life team, church planting team, missions team and Hispanic ministry team, plus three more from Christian Challenge. All of the goals relate to the Centennial Vision 2.0 core values: Godly relationships, healthy churches, proactive collaboration, intentional multiplication and missional generosity.

“If we are able to accomplish these strategic goals, we will be well on our way to accomplishing our vision,” Johnson told the council in his written report.

Arizona Southern Baptists will intentionally focus on prayer in 2020, Johnson said.

“The strategic goals would be completely impossible without the hand of God,” he said. “While that is daunting, that is exactly where God wants us to be. … This year, we will spend time laying this out before God. … We will do everything we can to encourage our churches to spend this year in prayer.”

A prayer guide will be distributed at the AZSBC annual meeting, regional prayer gatherings will be held, and social media will be used to support the prayer effort, he said.

The council approved a $4,956,860.50 operating budget for 2020, a $25,504.50 or .5% increase over 2019. The operating budget includes $3,461,200 in anticipated Cooperative Program giving from churches, up $11,200 or .3% from 2019.

The Cooperative Program budget allocates $1,246,032 or 36% — an increase of 2 percentage points — to the Southern Baptist Convention for national and international missions and ministries.

The percentage increase represents another step in reaching Arizona Southern Baptists’ Centennial Vision goal of giving 50% of Cooperative Program receipts to missions outside the state through the SBC by 2028. It’s the sixth straight year for an increase.<p>

The remaining Cooperative Program budget will be distributed as follows: Arizona Southern Baptist Convention, $1,730,600 or 50%, a decrease of 2 percentage points from 2019; Arizona Baptist Children’s Services & Family Ministries, $242,284, 7%; and the Arizona Campus of Gateway Seminary, $242,284, 7%.

Income sources in the AZSBC operating budget beyond Cooperative Program giving by Arizona churches include $1,077,514.50 from the North American Mission Board, $54,996 from LifeWay Christian Resources, and $335,650 in other revenue.

In other business, the council received the 2018 audit, which Johnson said, “shows a positive cash flow and strong financial position.”

The council also confirmed the appointment of Keith Durham to the newly created church health facilitator role. (See separate story.)

Johnson also told the council about the creation of an Arizona team to help churches address and prevent sexual abuse and minister to families affected by it. (See separate story.)