Board receives theological committee report
JEFFERSON CITY—A set of guidelines (policy statement) for Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) staffers and a sufficiency of Scripture statement are now in place for MBC staffers after the MBC Executive Board on Dec. 10 approved two motions, with opposition, that were presented by the Theological Review Ad Hoc Committee at the Capitol Plaza Hotel.
The guidelines are for MBC staff only and not for churches. They are designed to hold Convention staff to the Bible, the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, and a doctrinal vetting policy in evaluating the theological soundness of the ministry organizations with which they network, according to the committee’s report. On Dec. 14 an electronic version of the new form was made available to MBC staffers.
The report was received, minus the minority report, by the entire Executive Board with only four dissenting votes. A disclaimer was added by Jeff Purvis, pastor, First Baptist Church, Herculaneum-Peveley, that indicated that the board in no way agrees with every detail or finding contained within the report. The Purvis language was tacked on after a ruling by Chairman Gerald Davidson that settled an 18-18 vote.
Prior to the final sequence of votes, Roy Dameron, laity, Concord Baptist Church, Jefferson City, failed in an attempt to get board members to receive both the committee’s report and the minority report.
The committee, which was appointed a year ago by immediate past MBC President Mike Green, spent six months honing its findings and developing its two recommendations. Chairman Michael Knight, pastor of First Baptist Church, Viburnum, is satisfied with the outcome.
“I want to thank Missouri Baptists for trusting us to do this work,” he said. “I believe the work was thorough. As far as I know, the Missouri Baptist Convention is leading the Southern Baptist Convention in terms of those two recommendations that we approved.”
A total of 43 out of 54 board members made it to Jefferson City in the midst of a devastating ice storm. Power was out at the Baptist Building, which meant that the two-day meeting had to be moved to the Capitol Plaza and condensed to one day. The annual MBC Christmas Party, which was scheduled for the evening of Dec. 10, was cancelled. Considering all of the disruptions, board members seemed pleased with the amount of work that they were able to accomplish, closing their time together with an impromptu round of Christmas carols led by Purvis.
“This is a great turnout for the conditions we’ve got,” said MBC Interim Executive Director David Tolliver.
Changes in MBC personnel were announced. Men’s Missions & Ministry Specialist Danny Decker is leaving to become the pastor of First Baptist Church, Warsaw, and Church Planting Specialist Rick Biesiadecki has resigned to join the staff of Two Rivers Church, St. Charles. Retiring Sunday School / Discipleship Director Bruce Morrison was presented with a distinguished service citation, and filling his open position on staff is Mark Donnell, associate pastor of Worship and Christian Development, Eastgate Baptist Church, Burton, Mich., who will start Jan. 1 and report to the new department director, Michael Cooper.
• Controller Jay Hughes reported some encouraging financial news in that the MBC is on pace for a $16.3 million budget and $2.1 million in reserves by Dec. 31;
• Board members approved a contribution of $35,431.92 for the Adopt an Annuitant program in 2007;
• It was determined that the board direct the Missouri Baptist Foundation to distribute accumulated net income earned to help buy medical equipment and supplies for a children’s health care center in Belarus;
• Any budgeted monies not spent this year, which could range from $125,000-$150,000, were directed into a board-designated new building fund by vote of the board;
• The Audit / Finance Group was given a request for a recommendation of up to $250,000 for the Legal Defense Fund to cover potential legal expenses through April.