By now, most of you have heard something about the Organizational Study Group (OSG).
Perhaps you have heard about the purpose of the OSG which is to study and recommend potential structural/organizational changes for the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC). The work of the OSG, though essential to the future of the MBC, has been conducted mostly in the background.
But just what is an OSG?
Like most things in Baptist life—OSG is an acronym. That acronym describes several people who comprise an Ordinary, yet very Special group of God-called Missouri Baptists; who are Obviously Sincere and Genuinely interested in the future of the Missouri Baptist Convention. The people in that group are Obedient Servants seeking the Guidance of the Lord concerning the Operation, Structure and Governance of the MBC. They are Optimistic and Spirited while remaining Grounded concerning the future of the convention. As well, they are Openhanded, Selfless and Generous with their time and expertise. The dedicated Missouri Baptists who make up the OSG are also Outspoken, Strategic and Giving even though they are Overworked, Stretched and Generally worn out by the assignment given to them. They do their work Openly, Skillfully and without Guile. I am comforted to know that the members of the OSG are Observant, Scrupulous Guardians of the ministries of the MBC.
Now, that’s a mouthful meant to describe the Organizational Study Group.
Let me introduce—for some of you, reintroduce you to the individual Missouri Baptists who are giving their time and talents to the work of the OSG. The OSG is comprised of a racially diverse group of Missouri Baptists including; academics and theologians, Executive Board members, businessmen and homemakers, young leaders, DOMs, pastors, laymen and laywomen; small churches and large churches are represented on the OSG and there are urbanites and rural people in that group. Some of the members of the OSG have resigned their positions because of pressing needs in their individual ministries and/or secular employment. I will be forever grateful to Judith Gonzales, T. D. Stubblefield and to my good friend Cindy Province [now deceased, but living in the glories of heaven] for their early contributions to the work of the OSG.
I am equally grateful to the remaining and new members of the OSG:
Marvin Daniels, senior director of Leadership Training for Kids Across America and member of First Baptist Church, Branson
Josh Hall, pastor to the Selmore Baptist Church
Rodney Hammer, executive director of missions to the Kansas City/Blue River Baptist Association
Tom Johnson, pastor to the First Baptist Church, Fredericktown
Matt Marrs, senior pastor to the Northland Baptist Church in Kansas City
Kim Petty, homemaker and member of Grace Community Church, Smithville
Jeff Purvis, senior pastor to the First Baptist Church, Herculaneum/Pevely
William Vail, senior pastor to the First Baptist Church, Poplar Bluff
Jim Wells, director of missions to the Tri-County Baptist Association
These men and women are giving themselves to secure the future effectiveness of our MBC. Jay Hughes, Jerry Field and I are privileged to serve as facilitators and staff liaison to the OSG. It has been a rewarding experience to work with these dedicated servants.
The aim of the OSG is to gather information from every corner of the Show-Me state. Our desire is to include every Missouri Baptist. To that end, we need your help. We are asking Missouri Baptists to do three things to help us with this process of reorganization:
PRAY—pray continually for the individual members of the OSG and for our work. Pray that the Lord will grant us discernment and that we will be sensitive to the leadership of the Holy Spirit in this process. Pray also for the current MBC staff. These are uncertain days for all of us. We are committed to Missouri Baptists and to our Lord. We believe that God will care for us. Still, we covet your prayers.
PARTICIPATE—we need your input. If you have not already done so, please, go the MBC website and fill out the OSG survey. Just go to www.mobaptist.org; click on the Organizational Study Group banner; click “Take the Survey;” and follow the prompts to fill out the survey. We need the input of every Missouri Baptist.
PLAN to be PRESENT at one of the Focus Group sessions—at the time of the writing of this article, there are four more sessions scheduled. Go to the MBC website, click on the banner entitled “Organizational Study Group.” The schedule is listed on that page. It is vital that your voice be heard in this process. The OSG has interviewed the MBC Staff and members of the Executive Board. We have a meeting scheduled with Missouri DOMs in October. We also need to hear from YOU.