Important decisions – the Assembly of Representatives meeting 2022

On 25 July, several important resolutions were adopted; among them were amendement to the Basis of Faith article in the Constitution, a new model for donations , next year's budgets, and long-term strategic plans for the Federation’s activities.

There was an extensive agenda for the meeting. The case documents were prepared by the Secretariat, in collaboration with the Federation’s joint initiatives. In the process of preparing the case documents, the cases were reviewed by the Elders, and when finally ready, the case documents were reviewed by the representatives, local boards and other local resource persons. Many of the representatives made suggestions and asked questions about the matters on behalf of their local churches.

Below is a summary of the major resolutions that were adopted.

Agenda – Ordinary Assembly of Representatives Meeting 2022

  • Case 01 Opening of the meeting, selection of meeting chairman and secretary, approval of notice and agenda, selection of representatives to sign minutes
  • Case 02 Summary accounts and annual report for the BCC Federation
  • Case 03 New donations model
  • Case 04 Budget and non-profit business plans 2023
  • Case 05 Revised budget and plans for 2022
  • Case 06 Election of representatives from countries other than Norway
  • Case 07 Committees and authorization of the Nomination Committee
  • Case 08 Basis of faith and amendment to the Constitution
  • Case 09 Information from the Nomination Committee

Approval of the Summary Accounts and Annual Report for 2021

The BCC Federation consists of several organizations, each of which is autonomous and submits its own accounts, but the BCC Federation has prepared a summarized annual account documenting the comprehensive activities of the Federation, with joint initiatives. This gives donors, members, fellow believers and other interested parties useful information about the Federation’s finances.

In the meeting, the summary acoounts and annual report were presented and approved, together with the audit report from PwC.

Both the annual report and the summary accounts were presented and approved. Photo: BCC

New, international donation model adopted

At the ordinary Assembly of Representatives meeting in 2021, the Assembly supported the principles for a new model for revenue distribution in the BCC Federation, and the following year a pilot project with a means-based donationmodel was carried out in three Norwegian churches.

The pilot project was followed up with further studies and surveys, with the aim of adopting the model in all the Federation’s affiliated organizations from 2023. This also included an anonymous survey of income in all local churches that share BCC’s basis of faith worldwide.

The evaluations in the pilot churches show promising results for carrying on with the new concept, and the new donationmodel was adopted by the Assembly of Representatives in the meeting.

The idea behind the means-based donationmodel is to have a fair and equal allocation between members, local churches, and countries. All members are encouraged to donate an equal percentage of their gross income to the local church from the year they turn 26.

The total recommended percentage for donations from members to the local church must not exceed 10% of their gross income.

As part of the donation model, the various local churches contribute to BCC’s central costs with 1.5%, calculated from the total estimated gross income of the local church’s members.

Tore Aslaksen is responsible for finances in the Secretariat and presented the case regarding the new donation model. Photo: BCC

Budget and non-profit Business Plans for 2023 approved

One of the biggest items on the agenda included the Federation’s budgets and business plans for 2023.

The BCC Federation’s long-term business and strategy plan was adopted by the Assembly, as were the BCC Federation’s budget, with the following main points:

  • Total funds acquired for the objectives are 135,604 TNOK
  • Total funds expended for the purpose are TNOK 135,540
  • Annual surplus from activities is 64 TNOK
  • Ordinary grants to the following organizations to finance the requested activities in respective business plans and budgets:
    • BCC Media – 42,840 TNOK
    • BMS International – 10,397 TNOK
    • Skjulte Skatters Forlag – 1,000 TNOK
  • The mission collections are budgeted for 2023 with 25000 TNOK per collection and will be used for the following purposes:
    • Autumn 2022 – BCC Event: Mission support to low-income countries to be able to participate in the conferences
    • Spring 2023 – BCC Media: Defined projects

Statement of Faith and Constitutional Amendment

The BCC Federation’s Statement of Faith is derived from the Bible in the light of the understanding that follows from the teaching, the values and the Christian content that Johan O. Smith represented. From a legal point of view, it is therefore the Bible that is the primary source for explaining our Statement of Faith, followed by Johan O. Smith’s literature.

The leader of the Elders thus has a special responsibility for stewarding the Statement of Faith, especially where doubt arises, or sufficient clarity cannot be achieved by reading the Bible and Johan O. Smith’s literature.

In recent years, the Elders have been working on a description of the BCC Federation’s Statement of Faith. This is an important contribution to provide further clarity in how we understand the words of the Bible and Johan O. Smith’s literature.

Through the publication, members and other stakeholders can gain an understanding of our theology as we define it.

The publication has been reviewed by the Elders’ gathering and approved and adopted by the Elders. The publication is not a replacement for the primary sources (the Bible and Johan O. Smith’s literature), but provides a description of the Elders’ understanding of the Statement of Faith; this understanding is given a particular legal meaning in Article 1.2.B.

In connection with the publication, The Elders have decided to include a reference to the publication in the BCC Federation’s Constitution. The Assembly of Representatives agreed to the change.

Harald Kronstad from the Elders briefed the Assembly about the work on the publication. Photo: BCC

Committee work and authorization for the Nomination Committee

Committees and task forces with volunteers are to contribute to purpose-efficient organizations and that the central activities and the church’s strategies are managed and controlled by the members. Five committees already exist, and at the meeting it was decided to establish three new committees/task forces.

  • An Audit Committee: a body consisting of volunteers who are part of the Assembly of Representatives, which is superior to an employed internal auditor. Finn Åge Ødegård becomes internal auditor for the BCC Federation, and the role is moved from the Secretariat to the newly formed Audit Committee.
  • A Legal Committee: to work on a voluntary basis with legal studies and issues of interest to the Federation. For the period 2022-2023, the committee was asked to investigate various human rights issues relating to freedom of religion, freedom of assembly and freedom of association.
  • A task force for implementing the regular donation model: shall oversee the international interests during the implementation of the new donation model in countries all over the world.
Mette K. Johnsen will lead a task force for the introduction of a new international donation model and presented their plans. Photo: BCC

Election of international representatives

For countries that have churches that share BCC’s Basis of Faith, but which have not yet entered into membership in the Federation, the representatives are elected by the Assembly of Representatives itself, for one representative term at a time.

The six countries with the most members associated with their churches (Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, Denmark and Switzerland) were given one representative per 100 members.

A total of 96 representatives from countries other than Norway were elected for the coming period.

Representatives and observers from more than 20 countries took part in the meeting. Photo: BCC

Facts: Assembly of Representatives meeting

  • This year’s Assembly of Representatives’ meeting was held on 25 July, as an extension of the first summer conference.
  • The Assembly of Representatives now has 188 representatives, of whom 124 are men and 64 are women.
  • In addition, 300 observers from various local churches were present
  • The Assembly of Representatives is the highest authority in all practical, legal and financial matters, with representatives elected by and from among the members of BCC’s local churches
  • The Assemblyof Representatives decides on amendements to the bylaws, annual budget limits, and is the granting authority that allocates funds and grants to further the objectives.
  • The Assembly of Representatives meets at least once a year.