Shinkle reflects on tenure as MBC president
By Bob Baysinger
November 4, 2003
JEFFERSON CITY – Monte Shinkle will preside over the 2003 annual meeting of the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC), marking the end of an abbreviated, exciting and sometimes tumultuous term as president.
And there are no regrets.
“I have a firm confidence in my heart that we are headed in the right direction," said Shinkle, who has served as pastor of Concord Baptist Church , Jefferson City , the last 12 years.
“We have excellent leadership in place and, when we turn the corner on the legal challenges, I’m convinced we will see a focus as we’ve never seen before in our state. I’m convinced God has His hand on Missouri Baptists. I would be shocked if I did not see an increase in the number of baptisms and church plants in an unprecedented fashion in the days ahead."
Shinkle is believed to be the first MBC president not elected at the annual meeting. He assumed the presidency last January when Kenny Qualls, elected at the 2002 convention in Springfield , resigned to accept a job as one of four MBC associate executive directors under Executive Director David Clippard.
Shinkle said five words – blessing, challenge, tumultuous, frustrating, and exciting – would best describe his tenure.
“It has been a blessing from the standpoint that without a doubt God had a hand in putting me in the position for such a time as this because I was not elected," Shinkle said. “I wasn’t seeking the job.
“It has also been a blessing to be in churches and see the good things that are going on out there – from missions to soul winning. It’s also a blessing to see what God is doing at 400 East High St., Jefferson City (address of the Baptist Building), with the personnel who have come on board who have a real heart for evangelism in an aggressive fashion. It is a spirit that in the past we only dreamed of."
Shinkle said the challenges for Southern Baptists in Missouri will continue.
“I know were facing challenges connected with the legal battles, the restoration of the five agencies and how all this affects Cooperative Program giving," he said. “It’s like trying to make sense out of a great puzzle. The next president will face the challenge of trying to bring Missouri Baptists back together to reach this state for Christ."
Shinkle said the legal battles on every front and the issue concerning William Jewell College have helped make the last year very tumultuous.
All this, he added, can lead to frustration.
“We spend so much time fighting small fires it keeps us from fighting the big blaze against lost people dying and going to hell," Shinkle stated. “It has served to pull our attention away from where it needs to be focused. Even the breakaway of the five agencies has served as a strategy to defeat the furtherance of the Gospel in the state of Missouri ."
If it were possible to turn the clock back and redo some things, what would the Kentucky-born (avid Wildcat football and basketball fan) pastor do?
“I think I would try to reach out more to the group that tried to pull our convention apart and try to bring them back into the fold," Shinkle said. “Because of time constraints and the legal issues, it will be difficult to bring about that reconciliation that needs to happen. But I do long for the day that will happen."
Shinkle thinks reconciliation is still possible.
“I think it will happen as people grow more informed on the issues that drove us apart," he said. “I believe Missouri Baptists are conservative to the core. What we’re battling is an issue of theological drift. It doesn’t happen over night. It’s an erosive thing."
Shinkle said his word of encouragement to David Tolliver, who is expected to be the next MBC president, would be to “stay the course."
“Missouri Baptists will be making decisions to plot their future. There’s no doubt David will make a great president. He has to be willing to listen, but he also has to stick by his own convictions," Shinkle said.
“And my last word would be to say thanks to Concord Baptist Church for allowing me to serve as president and as their pastor the last 12 years. I have been gone many days the last 10 months serving the Missouri Baptist Convention.
“I’m really looking forward to going back to being a pastor, husband and father – and not necessarily in that order."