The Baptist World Alliance reported on Tuesday that although the economic downturn has taken a toll on donations, the 2008 financial report turned out better than expected.
BWA General Secretary Neville Callam reported to the group's Executive Committee that "member bodies and friends of the BWA have been faithful to God in supporting the BWA." And that the BWA "ended the year (2008) in a much better position than we thought likely in late September 2008."
Callam informed the committee that although there has been a decrease in revenue for the General Fund, which covers operational costs and administration expenses, there was an increase in contributions to restricted funds - designated for particular purposes such as aid, development, mission, evangelism, and training.
According to the report from BWA's Promotion and Development (P&D), donations from Latin America and Europe increased and 104 individuals gave to BWA for the very first time in 2008. The P&D report also indicated that 400 churches gave to BWA in 2008, and 369 were from within the United States.
"We are deeply indebted to the members and partners of the BWA whose commitment to the global Baptist movement was severely tested," Callam said, thanking Baptists for their continued support of BWA. "In spite of the difficulties they faced, they rose to the challenge and supported the BWA."
But despite the better-than-expected financial report, the BWA office has taken steps to reduce spending to adjust to the decrease in revenue.
Its 2009 budget, the BWA says, will be reduced by 35 percent. The Executive Committee made the decision on Wednesday after reviewing the report by the group's Budget and Finance Committee.
The budget meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday followed formal meetings by the BWA Executive Committee on Feb. 27-March 1 in Falls Church, VA., outside of Washington, D.C. More than 100 people from around the world had gathered for the meetings, which were followed by auxiliary meetings on March 2-3. The latter events included committees meetings such as those of the BWA Men's, Women's, and Youth Departments, and Baptist World Aid.