JEFFERSON CITY—The Organizational Study Group (OSG) report calls for a leaner Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) staff.
Some have wondered about the possible impact of the OSG report. What will the MBC staff look like in 2012?
“In light of the OSG report, but more importantly budget shortfalls, it could be that we may have to reduce our staff,” said MBC Interim Executive Director Jay Hughes. “However, through normal attrition, we may not have to reduce staff positions. It should be understood that in cases of attrition, those positions would not be replaced unless they are considered critical to our priorities.”
MBC Associate Executive Director Jerry Field said in 1996 there were 150 full-time convention staff. Now the number is 64, and with current trends Field said the MBC would be “hard-pressed” to keep it there. The report’s language would appear to indicate that full-time staff may be trimmed significantly.
As the convention strives to close a potential $500,000 budget shortfall by July, Hughes and Field are looking through the lens of the OSG report that was received but not adopted by the Executive Board as they look to the future. Hughes expects the situation to be much clearer by the start of June.
“Jay and I have had long discussions about the possibilities of looking at operations and program areas to make some reductions. We hope we don’t have to take any out of personnel but the reality is, you can only take so much out of program and operations and pretty soon you have no money to do ministry with and really, I don’t think those Cooperative Program dollars are being given for us to have a large staff but no ability to do something in the field,” Field said.
The early focus on closing the budgetary shortfall is on setting priorities for the future. Part of examining the budget for next year will include consideration given to possible attrition. Recently in MBC life, one staff position has been replaced with contract workers, and individual staffers are being encouraged to talk to Hughes one-on-one about their futures. If that does not take place now, Field said, it is certain to occur when the new executive director gets here. On April 29 and May 2, it was announced that two staffers are transitioning toward retirement and another staffer is leaving in late June.
By reducing the number of specialists in the Baptist Building and increasing the number of contract workers and volunteers in the field serving as catalytic leaders and networkers, the MBC aims to be in sync with innovative local church outreach.
ALLEN PALMERI/associate editor