July 29, 2003
Anyone with anti-SBC, MBC sentiments best look elsewhere
JEFFERSON CITY – The Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) had decided it’s time to change the way the convention recommends interim pastors for churches.
The MBC Minister’s Assistance Office has been responsible for recommending interims, using the Interim Pastor Program as a guide. An examination of some of the names included on the Interim Pastor list, however, prompted convention administrators to make the change.
"This program will no longer be offered as an option to churches," said Larry Thomas, the MBC associate executive director for support services. "It will be replaced by the Transitional Pastor Ministry Program."
The Interim Pastor program taught men to go to a church and raise questions about denominational loyalty, all organizations of the church, and the committee structure.
The Pathway has obtained documents distributed to one Missouri Baptist church by a former MBC employee involved with the Interim Pastor program. Some information provided to the church in the document includes:
- Allocation of mission monies may become an issue of debate in the church. Various options will be available. Designations, exclusions and various formulas (can be) used to direction mission money.
- Association and affiliation with organizations that parallel the conventions may be an issue. "Mainstream Baptist," "Baptists Committed" and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) are some of the parallel groups. (All three groups oppose the conservative direction of the Southern Baptist Convention and the MBC.)
- Dual alignment with alternative conventions may become an issue. Texas Baptists and Virginia Baptists have two conventions formed along party lines. Missouri Baptists are in the process of creating an alternative convention.
- Education (literature) and communications may be affected. Associated Baptist Press (funded by the CBF) is an alternate news source to Baptist Press. Smith-Helwys (a CBF-supported competitor of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention) has alternate literature for churches not going along with the "Fundamentalist Takeover."
Thomas said the new program is provided by LifeWay. LifeWay will provide training for men who want their names included on the interim list. Thomas said men will be selected for the training "by invitation only."
Thomas expects the first training to be conducted by LifeWay at the Baptist Building in October.
Those invited to serve will be required to affirm a faith and doctrinal statement to be developed by the MBC ministerial services task force and approved by the executive management team. The MBC executive management team is composed of David Clippard, executive director, and the four associate executive directors, including Thomas, Kenny Qualls, Roy Spannagel and David Waganer.
Members of the ministerial task force include: Fred Powell, associate pastor, Concord Baptist Church, Jefferson City; Mike Quinn, pastor, Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church, Hartsburg; and Ron Melton, director of missions, Lamine Baptist Association.
Powell, who has experienced the LifeWay training, said it helps prepare an interim to help a church go through any problems it might have in moving in the right direction.
"During the time without a pastor, a church needs to have wise leadership," Powell said. Every church has unique and challenging needs and needs a man uniquely qualified to face the challenges."
Powell said the MBC will receive information from churches without a pastor and try to match that church with a pastor’s resumes.
"They’ve not being doing a good job of this because of there was so many on the list that had leanings to the (theological) left. They’ve not been in accord with what we believe," Powell said.
"It’s very easy for a man to steer a church in the wrong direction during the interim period. That’s why we’ve drawn up a statement that will be attached to the Baptist Faith & Message statement. There won’t be anybody on the list who is dually aligned with another convention or is affiliated with any group other than the Southern Baptist Convention or the Missouri Baptist Convention."