July 24, 2002
JEFFERSON CITY – Search committee members continue their efforts to hire a new executive director for the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC), while there remains no indication if – or when – any legal action will be taken by the MBC against the five MBC agencies where trustees voted to become self-perpetuating.
The 11-member committee received resumes from more than a dozen candidates when it began its work late last year following the resignation of Jim Hill.
It is believed that the committee had narrowed that list to less than a dozen several weeks ago and may now be focusing on just two or three candidates. The committee met July 22 and emerged with no news.
"We are working to fulfill the guidelines of the MBC executive board," a tight-lipped Kenny Qualls told The Pathway July 25. Qualls is chairman of the search committee, MBC first vice president and pastor of Springhill Baptist Church, Springfield.
"We are working prayerfully and diligently under the leadership of the Lord. We are making progress," he said.
The executive director’s position has been vacant since Hill’s resignation last fall. Hill, who has strong ties to the new Baptist General Convention of Missouri, stepped down after negotiating a lucrative severance package. He said he was resigning because he could not work with the increasing number of more theologically conservative executive board members elected by MBC messengers.
Hill is now employed by Springfield-based RDI Consulting, a company that assists non-profit organizations in strategic planning and fundraising. Founded in 1978 by William R. Jester, RDI counts the Missouri Baptist Foundation, The Baptist Home, Windermere Baptist Conference Center, Southwest Baptist University, the Missouri Baptist Children’s Home, and William Jewell College among its past clients.
Meanwhile, there remains no word from the MBC executive board’s legal issues committee on whether legal action against five MBC agencies is imminent. The committee has the authority to initiate legal action against Windermere Baptist Conference Center, Word & Way, The Baptist Home, Missouri Baptist College and Missouri Baptist Foundation. The committee is already armed with three legal opinions from Missouri law firms who independently concluded that the trustees of the five agencies broke Missouri corporate law when they voted to make their boards self-perpetuating. Attorneys for the five agencies have disputed those opinions.