2012 Florida Baptist State
Convention Annual Meeting
ORLANDO (FBW)—The four agencies of the Florida Baptist State Convention each delivered a reporting during the convention’s annual meeting Nov. 13 at First Baptist Church in Orlando.
Thomas A. Kinchen, President of Baptist College of Florida, took the stage after a video introduced the college to messengers.
“My name is Tom Kinchen, and I approve that message,” he said to congregational laughter.
Kinchen said in the video BCF is “totally engaged in doing what really matters as a family of faith building relationships and leaving a legacy.”
Accompanied by photos of worship services, students in classes and on mission trips, and photos of generations of families who are BCF graduates, students’ voices echoed Kinchen’s statement.
“Everything from tests, to lectures to practical applications point us to our reason for being here—to reach others for Christ,” a student said.
“We have a Great Commission, not a puny suggestion,” Kinchen told messengers.
With a main campus in Graceville, 70-year-old BCF has extension sites in Jacksonville, Pensacola, and Orlando. During the 2011-2012 term, the college has added other distance sites at First Baptist Church Central Florida in
Orlando and at Family of God Baptist Church in Panama City. Distance learning is also available via the Internet.
Kinchen praised the BCF faculty as “the finest anywhere, who do what they teach,” and BCF students as a group he “would not trade for anything.” He thanked the Florida Baptist Convention for its support and pledged “to remain true to who you are and who we are.”
Growth continues on the Graceville campus, with the completion of construction of a new residence for women and a new Mission Aviation Center. A Wellness Center is now under construction.
Diplomas and degrees are offered in pastoral, Christian education and music and worship, teacher education and business leadership. Beginning in January 2013, BCF will offer a Master of Arts in Music and Worship Leadership.
According to the college’s printed report, BCF offers “a great ‘value added’ component to the ministry of Florida Baptists.” The school consistently ranks among the most affordable Southern Baptist-related colleges, while also remaining at the top of the list in the number of graduates entering vocational Christian service.
Eddie McClelland, president of Florida Baptist Financial Services, told messengers Florida Baptist Financial Services “is strong, focused, disciplined and more engaged in Florida Baptist work than in any time in its history.”
He gave an overview of the agency’s three subsidiary corporations: Florida Baptist Foundation, Church Growth Investment Fund, and Florida Baptist Retirement Center.
The Florida Baptist Foundation was chartered in 1947 by a “group of visionary Baptist leaders,” McClelland said in the video that preceded his report to the Convention. The Foundation facilitates and manages gifts and endowments that benefit Baptist ministries, helping families “through the complicated maze of charitable estate management,” he said.
FBFS currently manages 1,500 revocable and charitable trusts that gave $1.4 to Baptist causes in 2011, he said. It was the 12th year that FBFS distributed more than $1 million to Baptist causes.
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