By Allen Palmeri
JEFFERSON CITY—The Organizational Study Group (OSG) of the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) is heading on down the road into the feedback phase of its pursuit to help Missouri Baptist churches obey the Great Commission.
It’s time for four September focus groups to come together.
“I am really looking forward to hearing from Missouri Baptists in the far corners of the Show Me State,” said MBC Executive Director David Tolliver. “The meetings with the staff and the members of the Executive Board have been very productive in evaluating the current structure of the MBC. Now, we are looking to all Missouri Baptists for help in painting a picture for the future of our convention.
“We need the input of every Missouri Baptist in this endeavor. We have established the focus group meetings around the state so that no one will be left out.”
The latest tool produced by the 12-member OSG to help connect with Missouri Baptists is the statewide online survey. It is designed to collect data for the OSG to study and recommend a new organizational structure to best accomplish the Great Commission in Missouri. Filling it out will only take a few minutes, OSG leaders said. It is accessed through www.mobaptist.org/osg.
Questions are emerging around Missouri about the impact of the Great Commission Resurgence (GCR) decision in favor of reforms to the Southern Baptist Convention’s structure, and how those reforms may ultimately shape Missouri Baptist ministries. Tolliver has repeatedly pointed to the formation of the OSG, which predated the final GCR vote, as a proactive method of correction. The next step for Missouri is the focus groups.
The OSG has a timeline. Its next target date is December 2010, when an OSG progress report will be given at the Executive Board meeting. Restructuring recommendations, which may include the reduction of several MBC staff positions, could become known to the general public as soon as January 2011.
Tolliver, who is the OSG’s facilitator, has been concentrating on communicating an overview of the changes that are in motion with leaders on all levels of Missouri Baptist life even as various members of the OSG express a variety of points of view. Jeff Purvis, pastor, First Baptist Church, Pevely-Herculaneum, is the latest OSG member offering his perspective from within.
“Our goal is to reorganize our state convention so we may re-energize our churches and associations to reach the lost and disciple the saved,” Purvis said. “Everything is on the table. Nothing is a sacred cow.
“If we truly believe that Jesus Christ could be back at any moment, then we had better be equipping the people in the pew and the preachers in the pulpit with the best-available training, support, resources and personnel. We want the MBC to be on the cutting edge of all state conventions in fulfilling the Great Commission with the highest standards of excellence, stewardship, and faithfulness.
“I want to encourage everyone, laity as well as church staff, if at all possible, to go to the regional focus groups. We need your input and experience.”
The new MBC structure is expected to be launched January 2012.