Albert guides Christian Life Commission through Oct. 31
JEFFERSON CITY – Benny Gard, commissioner of the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) Christian Life Commission (CLC) from Willard, looked to his right toward the end of the Oct. 4 meeting at the Baptist Building and captured a pivotal moment with a few poignant words.
“You have been the rock here, the person that’s kept us together and focused,” he said, paying tribute to the work of outgoing CLC Chairman Rodney Albert.
Albert, pastor of Hallsville Baptist Church, has led the group since 2001. He’s seen the CLC through three major statewide battles—the victorious marriage amendment vote of 2004, the successful campaign to keep casino gambling out of the Branson area in 2004, and the close defeat to those promoting embryonic stem cell research and therapeutic cloning through the passage of Amendment 2 in 2006.
His time is winding down, but Albert is still leading. He remains chairman through the end of the 173rd annual meeting of the MBC on Oct. 31 at Tan-Tar-A in Osage Beach, giving his final report to messengers that day. And on Oct. 30 at 11:35 a.m., he gets to deliver the convention sermon—one that the CLC commissioners, in particular, have been eagerly anticipating.
“It’s been an incredible experience rubbing shoulders with some wonderful Missouri Baptists who care deeply about moral issues,” Albert said. “I’m sorry that the Convention has not gotten to know these commissioners the way I have. They only know the work of the commission and for the most part only know the chairman of the commission. There’s a wonderful group of individuals that serve Missouri Baptists well, and I’m thankful that I got to know them and work with them.”
The CLC must deal with the loss of all of its officers. Vice Chairman Jeff Brown of Hannibal and Secretary Connie Urich of Bolivar, like Albert, have served since 2001 and will rotate off on Oct. 31. Another one of the CLC mainstays, Priscilla Lyons of Hume, is also termed out, and the earlier resignation of another commissioner means that a total of five new commissioners—one short of half the commission—must be approved by the messengers at Tan-Tar-A.
Realizing the difficulty inherent in all of that, the current CLC opted to recommend to the 2007-2008 CLC a chairman-elect. He is Phil Gloyer, a layman from Joplin. The vote on Oct. 4, with 10 commissioners present, was unanimous, but nothing can be made official until the five new commissioners are afforded the opportunity to vote.
Brown, pastor of Prince Avenue Baptist Church, Hannibal, gave what in essence was a nominating speech for Gloyer after Gard made a motion, seconded by Commissioner David Krueger of Linn, that Gloyer be considered for the chairmanship. Brown and Gloyer have been friends since 1998, when they met at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Ky., before both going on to earn their doctorates at the flagship Southern Baptist seminary. Gloyer’s Ph.D. is in Christian ethics.
“He’s passionate about this,” Brown said. “When I saw his name on the list (of candidates for chairman), I was excited. This is something like it is with Rodney that burns within him. This is the fire in his bones.”
Krueger was also being mentioned as a candidate for chairman-elect, but the pastor of First Baptist Church, Linn, withdrew his name. He said he weighed his ongoing responsibilities as chairman of the MBC Committee on Continuing Review and decided he ought not try for a second chair. CLC commissioners voted him secretary-elect in the spirit of helping Gloyer navigate October. There was no recommendation for vice chairman.
“Phil is solidly pro-life, against embryonic stem cell research,” Krueger said. “(He is) just a good, solid conservative with a biblical worldview, which is obviously what you need on the Christian Life Commission. I think he will give us very fine leadership.”
Gloyer, 38, joined the CLC in 2006. He is a native of Topeka, Kan., who earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Kansas. He came to Missouri in the fall of 2003 and admits that he is not well known in Missouri Baptist circles.
“Missouri Baptists will soon know Phil Gloyer,” Albert said.
He has served in Joplin as the Baptist Student Union director at Missouri Southern State University and as CEO of a medical clinic/pregnancy resource center. His home church is Forest Park Baptist, one of the largest in the MBC, which he currently serves in youth ministry while the congregation keeps looking for a new youth pastor.
Gloyer, who is involved in several freelance writing projects as well as pulpit supply, said he would like to work as an ethics professor on a university campus, which is what he has been academically trained to do.
“He’ll prove himself capable and an incredible leader of this commission and of the causes that we hold dearly,” Albert said. “Phil has a great heart for the moral issues, for the causes of Christ—certainly in the moral issues but beyond that as well. He’ll be a great voice and a great leader to carry us forward.”