JEFFERSON CITY—The Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) Executive Board on July 12 voted to recommend a $14.5 million Cooperative Program (CP)budget during its July 12 meeting at the Baptist Building.
The budget, if approved by a vote of messengers during the Oct. 31-Nov. 2 annual meeting at Tan-Tar-A, Osage Beach, is in line with recent projections that have been based on the previous year’s receipts. This series of “reality-based” budgets has been wedded to the truth that giving has fallen from flat to declining.
MBC Interim Executive Director Jay Hughes has closed a $450,000 budgetary shortfall and managed to keep all of the current MBC personnel on the payroll. However, the dual realities of a hiring freeze and attrition have taken a toll with staffers transitioning elsewhere or retiring. A new idea of elevating the prominence of networks is alive right now and is pointing toward the day when the new executive director arrives, MBC Associate Executive Director Jerry Field said.
Hughes has chosen to pick up 8 of 16 jointly funded missionary positions with the North American Mission Board (NAMB) at a cost of around $230,000. The others will remain 50/50 within contracts that are now being called Integrated Strategic Partnerships (ISPs). These changes are in line with national denominational reforms dating back to the 2010 Southern Baptist Convention in Orlando, Fla., when the Great Commission Resurgence was set in motion.
One area of change is worship. Hughes and Field are excited about showcasing nine MBC regional consultants on the platform at Tan-Tar-A. They also announced that one of their team leaders, Spencer Hutson, is over a research and development group that will be examining ways to elevate the prominence of various other local leaders who now may be deferring to an MBC specialist.
“Jay and I believe that the future of Missouri Baptist Convention work is going to be so tied to people out there in these mentor kind of roles,” Field said.
The latest attrition/transition move in MBC life came June 27 when it was announced that Vince Blubaugh, communications and development director, will be leaving Nov. 1 to become missions and church planting pastor at Second Bapist Church, Springfield. With the hiring freeze intact, Blubaugh’s position will not be filled.
Stephen Davis, the new vice president for NAMB Midwest, will be traveling to the Baptist Building in the fall to help clarify the various staff roles for Jan. 1, 2013, and beyond.
Board members voted to recommend a four-year partnership with the Baptist Convention of Iowa, with a four-year option to renew. The partnership, if approved by messengers at Tan-Tar-A, is designed to help Iowa Baptists double their number of 106 churches by 2020.
The board also watched a video on Disaster Relief that was designed to be informative and educational. Rick Seaton, MBC Disaster Relief coordinator, and Rick Hedger, MBC team leader over Disaster Relief, talked about ministry components and how partnership missions can be included on the back end of these situations.
Hughes reported that around $200,000 has been sent to the state office for Disaster Relief, with contributions coming from 32 states and even a couple of countries. The board later approved a special Disaster Relief offering Nov. 1.
The MBC’s legal action to recover five breakaway agencies is ongoing, as is the collecting system for the litigation. Dollar amounts for Plan A (churches designating for legal expenses) and Plan B (churches opting out) had been running about 50-50, but now Plan B is up to 55 percent, Hughes said.
Chairman John Marshall, pastor, Second Baptist Church, Springfield, announced the appointment of three board members to the Committee on Executive Board Committees. They are Ned Nugent, minister, chairman, Benny Gard, minister, and Menk Ferguson, minister. They join Ty Harmon, minister, Gordon Voss, layman, and Stephen Ward, minister, whose terms expire this year.
Marshall also announced the appointment of the Committee on Convention Committees. Those members are: Gary Miller, Green Valley Baptist Church, St. Joseph, layman; Rachel Wallace, South Union Baptist Church, Maywood, laity; David McAlpin, Prairie Home Baptist Church, Liberty, minister; Tom Denton, Cairo Baptist Church, minister; Dwight Blankenship, Parkway Baptist Church, St. Louis, minister, chairman; Lisa Holbert, NorthBridge Church, Springfield, laity; David Purichia, Second Baptist Church, Cabool, minister; and Jim Barnhart, Miner Baptist Church, Sikeston, minister.
In other business, board members:
• Voted to begin a process of appointing a five-person committee changing both the Executive Board Bylaws and the MBC Business and Financial Plan, in part in conjunction with the Committee on Continuing Review, regarding the clarification of MBC roles and the securing of general counsel concerning a resignation or a suspension of an executive director.
ALLEN PALMERI/associate editor