Continuing Review moves toward healing
Tolliver: ‘We are fixing the problem’ concerning Nominating Committee
JEFFERSON CITY—The Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) Committee on Continuing Review used language provided by the MBC Investigating Committee May 29 to craft several new MBC Nominating Committee Rules and Procedures and two Bylaws changes for messengers to consider at the Oct. 29-31 annual meeting at Tan-Tar-A, Osage Beach.
“I’m convinced they will be overwhelmingly passed,” said MBC Interim Executive Director David Tolliver. “Some of the very concerns that we hear from around the state are being addressed. We are fixing the problem. The Continuing Review Committee has taken giant steps toward healing the Convention.”
Continuing Review Committee Chairman David Krueger, pastor, First Baptist Church, Linn, invited two of the five members of the Investigating Committee, Bob Curtis and Bruce McCoy, to the May 29 meeting in the spirit of cooperation. Both expressed their appreciation for being included.
Curtis pastors Ballwin Baptist and is a past president of the MBC; McCoy pastors Canaan Baptist in St. Louis, is first vice president of the MBC, and also serves as chairman of the Nominating Committee. McCoy chaired the Investigating Committee that wound up recommending the dismissal of former MBC Executive Director David Clippard, who was terminated on a vote of 44-7 by the MBC Executive Board April 10.
“This is a very important process we’re going through, and you’re playing a pivotal role,” Curtis told the members of the Continuing Review committee. “I think what you have recommended today is going to go to great lengths to continue the healing process in our state.”
Committee members chose to alter the language to 9 of their 20 policy points. Recommendations ranged from requiring the Nominating Committee to meet immediately for orientation after the Convention to indicating that Cooperative Program support should be “an important consideration” for nominees to prohibiting immediate family members (spouse, child, parent) of a current Nominating Committee member from going on any board, agency or commission of the MBC.
“Baptists are self-correcting,” Krueger said. “We began this process of trying to be more inclusive six or seven years ago with the conservative resurgence of Project 1000, and let’s face it, we really didn’t carry it as far as we should have. We’re doing that. That’s what I mean by self-correcting. We have listened to what people across the state are saying, and because we’ve listened we’re dealing with it.”
Krueger attended the debut meeting of “Save Our Convention” May 15 at First Baptist Church, Harvester, in St. Charles. He listened to 11 of his fellow Missouri Baptist pastors divulge their plan to reform the Convention’s leadership structure apart from what would be taking place two weeks later at the Baptist Building. Krueger referred to their efforts, which reportedly will include a series of meetings over the summer, as short-circuiting the process.
“Decision-making in Baptist life can sometimes be a ponderous thing,” Krueger said. “Usually there are several committee meetings involved, there’s deliberation, there’s a business meeting or two, and that can be very frustrating for A-type personalities. But this is how we do it as Baptists, and I’m glad … because it involves a lot of people. I think what we’ve done today (May 29) is an example of that.”
Committee members looked at what the Investigative Committee came up with and recommended two changes to the MBC Bylaws in addition to all of the tweaks to the Nominating Committee rules.
The first change prevents a person who has resigned from a board, agency or commission before the expiration of the term to which elected from being eligible for nomination or election to the same or any other board, agency or commission until the term has expired. That person shall not be eligible to be nominated to serve on another board, agency or commission until at least one year has passed.
The second change exempts persons from the rules of service who have served on the boards of five agencies who are now in litigation with the Convention. Those entities are: The Baptist Home; Missouri Baptist College; Word & Way; The Missouri Baptist Foundation; and Windermere. Trustees who have served those agencies during litigation will be allowed to serve new terms following a verdict in favor of the Convention.
“This is going to go a long way toward healing our Convention,” Tolliver told committee members following the meeting.
Krueger noted a connection between the May 29 action and a March 27 meeting of the committee which resulted in the rejection of four motions made by Keith Vawter, former pastor of First Baptist Church, Mansfield.
“Virtually everything that Keith addressed has been addressed in this in a less-drastic way of changing the Constitution,” Krueger said.
The next scheduled meeting of “Save Our Convention” is June 26 at First Baptist Church, Kearney.
“They have some legitimate concerns,” Tolliver said, “but many of those concerns have been addressed today by the Committee on Continuing Review and then will be acted on by the messengers in the fall. That’s the way we do business as Baptists.”