JEFFERSON CITY – During their March 7-8 meeting here, Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) executive board members set the 2023 Cooperative Program (CP) allocation goals and responded to motions from two messengers at the 2021 MBC annual meeting.
The board also recommended a team to respond to a report expected to come from the the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) Sex Abuse Task Force this June, and they approved an MBC mission partnership with SEND Relief International.
They also discussed a building project at a Baptist Student Union in Springfield and decided to explore additional avenues for funding the project.
2023 CP, missions offering goals
The executive board once again set the state’s Cooperative Program (CP) goal at $15 million. Goals for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering goal remained steady, at $4 million. The Annie Armstrong Easter Offering goal increased by $200,000, with an overall goal of $2.2 million. The board increased the Missouri Missions Offering goal by $10,000 from the previous year, setting it at $750,000. The World Hunger Fund goal remained steady at $150,000.
The board also recommended, once again, a 2024 CP allocation goal of $15 million. The plan sets aside 5 percent of the total CP giving for “shared expenses,” which are allocated for annuity protections and The Pathway. From the remaining CP funds, 35 percent are allocated for MBC missions and ministries and 22 percent for Missouri Baptist entities, including the Missouri Baptist Children’s Home, Baptist Homes & Healthcare Ministries, the Missouri Baptist Foundation, Southwest Baptist University, Hannibal-LaGrange University and Missouri Baptist University. The remaining 38 percent is allocated for Southern Baptist Convention causes. Any receipts above the CP budgetary goal will be split evenly between MBC and SBC ministries.
The MBC also set allocations for the anticipated 2022 MMO receipts of $740,000, which will help fund the MBC’s various ministries in 2023.
Executive Board responds to messengers’ motions
The executive board also responded to two motions presented by messengers at the MBC last fall:
• Melissa Wilbanks, a messenger from Parkway Baptist Church, St. Louis, offered a motion calling the MBC executive board to form a taskforce “to brainstorm ways to create a pathway to send more missionaries through the IMB (International Mission Board), especially for those desiring medical autonomy. The goal of this task force is to create and submit a motion to the IMB at the 2022 SBC annual meeting in Anaheim and to work with the IMB through the proper channels to advance the Kingdom.”
The MBC executive board responded to the motion by approving the following statement from its Multiplying Churches committee: “After consultation with the IMB of the Southern Baptist Convention, we the Multiplying Churches Committee, find that the possibility of individuals serving alongside IMB on the mission field while holding to ‘Medical Autonomy’ is already possible according to their documentation. Secondly, IMB is working diligently to increase the number of missionaries serving through the IMB on the international mission field by 500 by 2025. These provisions by the IMB meet the requests addressed in this motion.”
• Josh Andrews, a messenger from Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Edgerton, offered a motion calling for the MBC’s credentials committee to “tasked with an investigation over the next three years, into Missouri Baptist churches out of step with the BFM 2000 article VI, which states, ‘The office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture,’ with the purpose of calling churches with women as pastors, either in title or function, to repentance and, if repentance is not achieved, then to consider said unrepentant churches not in friendly cooperation with the Missouri Baptist Convention.”
The MBC executive board responded to the motion by approving the following statement: “Such a motion is well received and is in keeping with the Credentials Committee Rules and Procedures. Any church affiliated or seeking affiliation with the MBC must adhere to the (current) Baptist Faith and Message (BF&M); an investigation of all MBC churches would exceed the Credentials Committee’s current responsibilities.
“When a local MBC church contacts the MBC Credentials Committee with the possibility a local church is out of line with the BF&M (as in such a case of having a female pastor), the Credentials Committee does already follow the procedures of checking into the specific allegation, and if found to be accurate, follows the procedure as mentioned in the motion. The process is ongoing as a regular task of the Credentials Committee.”
Creation of Response Team recommended
The MBC Executive Board also recommended the creation of a “Response Team to review and recommend MBC responses and action steps to take after receipt of the report of the SBC Sex Abuse Task Force in June 2022.”
Their recommendation adds, “The Executive Board authorizes the president, in consultation with officers and the executive director, to appoint up to ten Missouri Baptists fit to serve on this team to study and recommend righteous, caring, and wise responses to sexual abuse in Missouri Baptist life, in light of the Sex Abuse Task Force report. We further recommend that the Sex Abuse Response Team brings a report at the August Executive Board meeting and at the MBC Annual Meeting of 2022.”
Members of the Response Team have not yet been named.
SEND Relief International partnership recommended
The executive board also recommended that the MBC “enter into an official mission partnership with SEND Relief International to provide disaster relief services such as training, consultation, and response” in Turkey and sometimes Central Asia, especially during Level 2 relief mobilizations.
This recommendation responds to a request from SEND Relief International, asking each Southern Baptist state convention to partner in various regions. The partnership formally begins on Jan. 1, 2023, and ends on Dec. 31, 2025, though it can be extended for three years by the MBC at the request of SEND Relief.
BSU building project
The MBC Executive Board also made a decision to explore additional avenues for funding a building project at Missouri State University, and to begin some preliminary demolition work on the BSU’s old buildings.
The Executive Board’s recommendations regarding the BSU project read as follows:
• “The Executive Board authorizes the demolition of the student center building and annex building both located on the Springfield BSU property using funds already approved by previous Executive Board decisions. The approximate cost of this demolition is not expected to exceed $125,000.”
• “The Executive Board authorizes the Executive Director time to research new models being considered in other state conventions for multipurpose buildings similar to the plans developed for the Springfield BSU Project.”
See related story here.
In other business, the executive board:
• approved a list of potential exhibitors for the 2022 MBC annual meeting;
• recommended that the MBC 1) receive U.S. Treasury bonds that were gifted to the convention and honor the donor’s request to designate the funds to Missouri Disaster Relief ministry and 2) authorize the MBC’s Controller and Disaster Relief leadership “to execute any and all necessary documents to convert the bonds and finalize the donation.”
• approved the distribution of the MBC’s 2021 underspend, to be used in the following ways: approximately $120,000 for refreshing MBC “ministry buckets” and for CP promotional funding; $20,000 for ministerial scholarships; up to $100,000 for the hiring of consultants recommended by the CP Vision Task Force (see story, page 2); approximately $40,000 for 2022 mid-year staff bonuses; and $40,000 for renovation of the Baptist Student Union building at Lincoln University in Jefferson City. The balance of the underspend will be put in general reserves.
• recommended the revision of a line in the Nominating Committee Profile form. This line formerly read, “Are you in agreement with the Baptist Faith and Message (current edition)?” The proposed revision reads, “Have you read, do you agree with, and affirm the Baptist Faith and Message (current edition) while serving as a Trustee for the MBC?”
• recommended that “a third party evaluate MBC communications processes” and report back to the board meeting, Aug. 29-30, 2022.