MBC messengers gather for 170th annual meeting
By Allen Palmeri
November 9, 2004
RAYTOWN – Messengers to the Missouri Baptist Convention’s (MBC) 170th annual meeting overwhelmingly voted to continue their legal action against five breakaway institutions, elected a slate of theologically conservative officers for the sixth consecutive year and passed resolutions on gambling, traditional marriage, embryonic stem cell research and holiness as it pertains to cultural influences.
A total of 1,981 messengers and guests attended the meeting Oct. 25-27 at First Baptist Church, Raytown.
A motion introduced by Ron Mackey, messenger, Windsor Baptist Church, Imperial, and a member of the self-perpetuating board of The Baptist Home, called on messengers to instruct “the MBC Executive Board, the MBC Legal Task Force, and any other responsible party to immediately drop the legal actions against Missouri Baptist University, the Missouri Baptist Foundation, Windermere (Baptist Conference Center), The Baptist Home, and Word & Way.”
The MBC has been locked in a three-year legal battle with the five institutions ever since their theologically moderate trustees voted to amend their charters, making their boards self-perpetuating. The case has gone back and forth as attorneys have spent the time thus far on procedural matters and the case has splintered, with part of it now with the Western Division of the Missouri Court of Appeals.
Messengers rejected Mackey’s motion by more than 2-to-1 after hearing a report from the MBC Legal Task Force that included an encouraging word from former Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice John Holstein, who called the MBC’s case “winnable” and strongly urged the MBC to stay the course and not give up. Messengers also passed, with little opposition, a resolution affirming the Legal Task Force.
Bob Curtis, chairman, Legal Task Force, and pastor, Ballwin Baptist Church, said that now is the time for both sides in the legal dispute to do all they can to bring the case before a judge.
“Let’s put this to rest and get on with kingdom work,” Curtis said.
The MBC Executive Board welcomed nine new members in addition to three new officers. The new members are: Paul Callahan, pastor, First Baptist Church, Marshall; Randy Johnson, First Baptist Church, Kimberling City; Guy Thomas, pastor, First Baptist Church, Princeton; Doug Austin, layman, Lynwood Baptist Church, Cape Girardeau; Doug Bradley, pastor, First Baptist Church, Grandview; Don Denney, layman, Rockwood Baptist Church, Wildwood; Wesley Hammond, pastor, First Baptist Church, Paris; Ken Jones, pastor, Boekerton Baptist Church, Portageville; and Wayne Malone, pastor, First Baptist Church, Weston.
For the sixth straight year, messengers elected four theological conservatives as new convention officers. All four were unopposed. Elected were: Mitchell Jackson, pastor, Miner Baptist Church, Sikeston, president; Ralph Sawyer, pastor, First Baptist Church, Wentzville, first vice president; Jerry Williams, director of missions, Barry County Baptist Association, second vice president; and Harvey Parker, minister of music, First Baptist Church, St. Joseph, recording secretary.
In other business:
Messengers approved a $16.7 million budget for 2005, up by $500,000 for each of the last two budget years. As is customary, 35.75 percent will go toward Southern Baptist Convention causes while 64.25 percent will go toward MBC causes;
Possible relocation sites for the Baptist Building were expanded beyond Mid-Missouri to anywhere in Missouri, meaning Missouri Baptist leaders can now negotiate with other municipalities as the process continues;
A gift of $10,000 out of reserve funds was approved to help pay for the Billy Graham Heart of America Crusade in Kansas City;
A total of $55,000 out of reserves was approved to purchase the Calvary Baptist Church building in Macon, for the purpose of planting a new church there within six months;
The Millennium Hotel in St. Louis from Oct. 27-29 was approved as the site of the 2008 convention. Next year’s annual meeting will be Oct. 24-26 in Springfield, with Cape Girardeau hosting the 2006 convention and Tan-Tara hosting it in 2007;
Wayne Isgriggs, pastor, First Baptist Church, Lincoln, and a member of the MBC Executive Board, was chosen to preach the convention sermon in 2005.
Messengers chose to do nothing with a motion made by Jay Scribner, pastor, First Baptist Church, Branson, that $100,000 in reserves go toward the Missions/Evangelism Endowment at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (MBTS). The motion was amended to have the money go toward Hannibal LaGrange College and Southwest Baptist University as well as MBTS, but the vote to approve the amended motion failed, 486-464.
A total of $100,000 will be set aside from Cooperative Program receipt overages for 2005 for the Missions Endowment of the MBC.