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Proposed bylaw amendments address ‘serious misconduct’
Chad Austin, BSC Communications
July 12, 2019

Proposed bylaw amendments address ‘serious misconduct’

Proposed bylaw amendments address ‘serious misconduct’
Chad Austin, BSC Communications
July 12, 2019

The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s (BSC) executive committee unanimously

approved proposed changes to the convention’s bylaws that would create a formal process by

which individuals could be removed from positions of leadership for behavior that would disqualify

them for service.

The committee voted to approve the proposed changes during a regularly scheduled meeting held

Thursday, July 11, at the BSC offices in Cary. The proposed changes will now go before the BSC’s full

board of directors for consideration at the board’s September meeting. Following any action by the

board, the measure would then go before messengers attending the BSC annual meeting in

November for final action and approval.

The proposed amendments specify that certain individuals serving in leadership positions with the

convention may be removed from office for “serious misconduct damaging to the people, mission,

or ministry of the Convention.”

The changes would apply to members of the state convention’s board of directors, non-board

members appointed to board committees, convention committee members, convention officers,

and members of the Fruitland Baptist Bible College board of directors.

The proposed bylaw amendments also authorize the state convention’s board of directors to adopt

and implement a separate policy that would outline the steps for addressing and acting upon

allegations of misconduct. The accompanying policy would include guidelines related to how

complaints, investigations, hearings, appeals and dismissals are handled.

A proposed policy that would accompany the bylaw changes was presented to the executive

committee, but it was not acted upon because its adoption is contingent upon final approval of any

proposed bylaw changes.

If the bylaw changes are approved, the BSC’s board of directors would consider the accompanying

policy at a later date, which would likely be the board’s regularly scheduled meeting in January of

2020.

Currently, the state convention’s bylaws only set forth objective criteria by which a board member’s

service may be terminated. Those standards include failing to meet attendance requirements,

moving outside of the region from which they were nominated to serve, or moving out of state.

The proposed bylaw changes and accompanying policy would give convention officials a formal

process to deal with other matters as they arise.

“The bylaw and policy have both been written from the perspective that the protection of the

Convention is more important than the protection of any individual in a Convention Position,” Don

Goforth, chair of the convention’s Articles and Bylaws Special Committee, wrote in a memo to

executive committee members.

“The policy identifies the objective reasons and speaks to the subjective reasons for removing an

individual from a Convention Position,” Goforth wrote. He added that the policy “seeks to provide

consistency to the process for removal.”

The Articles and Bylaws Special Committee developed the proposed bylaw amendments and

policy in consultation with convention officials and legal counsel at the direction of the BSC’s

executive committee.

In January of this year, the BSC’s board of directors approved a motion made by Curtis Williams of

Brown Creek Baptist Church in Wadesboro, N.C., for the executive committee to develop a policy

that would allow for the removal of a board member for actions that would disqualify them from

serving on the board. The executive committee referred the matter to the Articles and Bylaws

Special Committee during its meeting in March.

During an update to the executive committee and full board in May, Goforth said his committee had

developed a “working draft” of the bylaw amendments and accompanying policy that not only

included board members but also other individuals in positions of convention leadership.

The proposed bylaw amendments that Goforth’s committee presented and the executive committee

approved noted that the overarching goal of the change is “to provide an environment that protects

and promotes the Christian witness of the cooperating churches and their members.”

BSC Associate Executive Director-Treasurer Brian Davis said convention officials have had to

address misconduct issues with some convention board members and committee members in the

past.

“Thankfully anytime that’s happened, they have voluntarily resigned,” Davis said. “But had any of

them not voluntarily resigned, we didn’t have a process to deal with that. Approval of this

(measure) would give us that process.”

2020 budget proposal approved

The executive committee also gave its unanimous approval to a $30.5 million budget proposal for

2020 that includes a 0.5 percent increase in the allocation to the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC)

missions and ministry causes.

While the 2020 budget proposal is $500,000 less than 2019, Budget Special Committee Chairman

Rick Speas described the proposal as “reasonable and faith challenging.” Speas said the committee

took a “balanced approach” in trying to allocate funds among state convention ministries,

institutions and agencies, Fruitland Baptist Bible College and the SBC.

If approved, the increased SBC allocation would mark the 14th consecutive year that the BSC has

raised its support of SBC missions and ministry causes. The increase would bring the state

convention’s SBC allocation up to 42 percent of the total budget.

The budget recommendation will now go before the BSC’s full board of directors for consideration

at its September meeting before being presented to messengers at the 2019 BSC annual meeting in

Greensboro this November.

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