JEFFERSON CITY—One of the driving ideas behind the new CORE Conference that the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) will roll out March 21-22 is the realization that the many good Baptist Building ministries of the past are not rising to the level of excellent.
“In the past year we realized that we’ve become a mile wide and an inch deep,” said MBC Interim Executive Director Jay Hughes.
The meeting at Concord Baptist Church is designed to address that problem by presenting the MBC’s three core values in an interactive format. Those ideals, which in effect will be functioning as filters, are: Becoming Disciples; Developing Leaders; and Missional Living. The mission statement of the MBC will also be closely followed from CORE on as Missouri Baptists seek to be Great Commission Christians in Great Commission churches transforming communities with the Gospel.
“It starts with us becoming Great Commission Christians,” Hughes said. “It’s about making disciples. That’s what Christ commanded us to do. And so if we are becoming Great Commission Christians individually, then collectively we should be becoming Great Commission churches.”
The paradigm shift that is occurring in the Baptist Building will be on display at CORE in a brand that leaders want to project as a new identity. That shift, according to MBC Communications and Development Director Vince Blubaugh, is moving away from being program-driven in ministry approaches and philosophies and moving toward being an agent that empowers the local church to take the lead on things.
“We used to say, ‘Here’s what you can do to be successful,’” Blubaugh said. “I think what we’re saying now is, ‘You tell us how we can help you be successful under the auspices of these three core values.’”
Hughes said the word “partnership” is going to be emphasized among MBC team leaders and those whom they supervise as they seek to interact with Missouri Baptists in churches and associations.
“In the past, it’s always been kind of a top-down approach—we’ve got it all figured out, here’s the program, you guys need to do this,” Hughes said. “As part of the CORE Conference, we feel like these core values are important to the state, but we’re not coming at it from an aspect of we’ve got it all figured out. We’re developing through this conference a sense of we’re all in this together.”
It has been a year-long process to arrive at this point. The CORE Conference, a large undertaking, is being positioned to be a key event in MBC life for years to come.
“The team leaders have been very instrumental in helping us come up with our core values,” Hughes said. “Our teams have bought into our core values.”
The outcome is meant to be a new way of doing ministry.
“I think it’s a snapshot of what we want the specialists to become,” Blubaugh said.
BY ALLEN PALMERI/ associate editor