JEFFERSON CITY—Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) Interim Executive Director Jay Hughes said that he and other top leaders in the Baptist Building are involved in prayerful and systematic meetings where they are reacting to the current historic North American Mission Board (NAMB) restructuring.
March 31 is looming as a key date. By then all of the broad integrated strategic partnership agreements with NAMB must be signed, thus determining how the state conventions will relate to NAMB in the future.
These agreements will specify how many NAMB-appointed missionary positions will exist. They will also mark what percentage of appointed missionary salaries and benefits will be provided by NAMB and the state conventions.
The current cooperative agreement for Missouri’s 16 jointly funded NAMB employees is 50-50.
“There are many changes facing the Missouri Baptist Convention, specifically as to how we will interface with the North American Mission Board,” Hughes said. “One of the greatest questions is what will be the impact of transitioning from the former structure to the new one, and the potential loss of funding. It is certain that we will have a new agreement with NAMB by the end of March. We are in the process of evaluating what we need to do in anticipation of that agreement. “Also, NAMB has divided North America into new regions. Because of the size of our convention, NAMB has informed us that we are considered the anchor convention to the Midwest Region. We are evaluating what will be our impact on the Midwest region. Our desire is to maintain a strong partnership with NAMB, specifically around the areas where the MBC priorities and NAMB priorities align. Obviously these things signal a national philosophical shift for NAMB. We are determined to adapt to these changes in the best way that we can while maintaining our own vision for reaching Missouri.”
The NAMB restructuring is being triggered by the Great Commission Resurgence (GCR). That plus the fact that the MBC has been without an executive director since Jan. 7 has caused the MBC to move its Organization Study Group (OSG) process to a new timeline and destination.
Instead of sticking with the original plan to go with a timeline that would carry them through the MBC Executive Board and action by messengers at the October MBC annual meeting, thus establishing a new MBC structure on Jan. 1, 2012, the current structure will be maintained in a somewhat fluid manner where personnel changes still could occur, according to a Feb. 7 update delivered to staff at the Baptist Building by Hughes.
The new executive director will have input into the planned restructuring, Hughes said, and a new budget goal for 2011 that could turn out to be lower than last year’s $15.15 million actual budget could also shape personnel decisions. In light of those variables, he said, the OSG in April will present to the board a final report that will include “observations,” data trends, and “suggestions” for the future which will not be binding, he said, plus a few “minor recommendations.”
The search committee that is being formed to secure the new executive director will be able to draw from the OSG’s final report. The Executive Board plans to name that committee at its April 11-12 meeting.
“We are going to be impacted by some of the stuff from NAMB, and also declining CP (Cooperative Program) revenue,” Hughes said in his update to staff. “We’re probably going to come back with a lower CP budget goal for the board.”
Before it named an interim executive director, the board had scheduled a June 7 special meeting to discuss the OSG report.
ALLEN PALMERI/associate editor