November 5, 2002
SPRINGFIELD — The Missouri Baptist Convention has a new "captain," and he’s apparently going to take the "ship" on a new course.
David Clippard, delivering his first official address to the convention as the body’s new executive director, gave messengers gathered at the MBC annual meeting Oct. 28-30 some insights as to which direction the MBC is headed.
Speaking at the opening session, Clippard said, "If reaching our inner cities is a priority – and it is – then we must strategically build that ministry. When you think of the inner city, you must think in terms of the largest ethnic group that comprises the inner city and that is our African-American community."
Clippard said plans call for adding an African-American man to the MBC staff to guide this journey.
"At present we do not have one African-American man serving on our staff. This will be an addition – a strategic one – to meet a very strategic purpose. We have many African-American Missouri Baptists churches already. That is who we are."
Clippard said more emphasis will be placed on evangelism in the future.
"Presently, there is only one man on our entire staff that has in his title the world ‘evangelism,’" Clippard said. "The Bible does not suggest evangelism as part of our life … it is to be central to our life. There is a contemporary proverb floating around that says evangelism is everybody’s responsibility and, therefore, somebody must be doing it. But, in reality, nobody is.
"I am not sure how true that is in Missouri, but I do know one man cannot do this work alone. There is a need for strategic staff to be added here."
Clippard said church planting represents the future for the MBC. Of the 120 language groups in the state, he explained that the convention has works started in only 20 of those groups.
And, with endowments for the convention at only $4.5 million, the director said it seems there is a need to build a base of endowment support to carry the MBC across future economic troubled waters.
"It may be in our interest to add to our staff a development office to help tell the story of this convention to our people in the arenas of planned giving," Clippard suggested.
Also expected to develop at the Baptist Building is a management office.
"In order to strategically rebuild, I believe that a new system of vision and accountability must be put in place. I need an executive level management team to assist me in this task," he said. "I propose the addition of two men who will bring to the management table every week great experience, insight, wisdom and accountability as we strategically rebuild this convention’s ministry."