Messengers to the 2009 Baptist State Convention (BSC) annual meeting in November will consider the second half of extensive revisions to the BSC Articles and Bylaws in a process they started last year.
“I think you’ll like them,” Articles and Bylaws Committee Chair Shannon Scott told BSC Executive Committee members July 16 when he presented a draft of the changes, soliciting their questions and input. Because of changes made to the Articles and Bylaws in 2008, the committee is now a committee of the Board of Directors and it presented changes to the Executive Committee as a courtesy.
Revisions will be considered by the full Board of Directors in September. Their final product will be considered by messengers in November.
Brian Davis, executive leader for administration and convention relations, was staff liaison with the Articles and Bylaws Committee. He said when the final product is approved by messengers it will represent the most extensive revisions in the Convention’s corporate documents in probably 75 years. That covers a period of extensive changes, such as when the colleges were added, Baptist Retirement Homes was created, Wake Forest University and Meredith College withdrew and auxiliary relationships changed.
Even through extensive revisions, the Articles and Bylaws contain little that will change the way the Convention operates. The basic effect is to streamline systems, clarify, collate and condense the verbiage in 13 current articles to just four, and combine redundant committees that will ultimately save the Convention “tens of thousands of dollars” according to John Butler, BSC executive leader for business services.
They also clarify procedures for severing or re-engaging ministry or institutional relationships, and for the first time, a clear process for transition to a new executive director-treasurer.
In 2008 the Articles and Bylaws Committee reviewed documents relating to the board of directors and other entities, such as the institutions, agencies and auxiliaries. The 2009 recommendations are about the Convention and miscellaneous items.
Articles and Bylaws relating to the Convention have been amended to be covered in just four categories: meetings of the Convention, officers, committees and miscellaneous.
The changes also address the relationship of the Baptist Retirement Homes of North Carolina and a study related to the three Convention councils that will change their status to committees of the Board where they will function as other committees.
The relationship with Baptist Retirement Homes will be described as “a historical social services institution” in the new document, a term similar to that of Wake Forest University and Meredith College, which are “historical educational institutions” and not “affiliated” educational institutions.
The Retirement Homes “is autonomous in its governance and its board of trustees shall be elected by its board of trustees in accordance with such procedures as set forth in its governing documents,” according to proposed wording.
“We looked at what we needed to do as an organization to be more flexible and more nimble,” Davis said in his office later. “The effort to streamline an organization as big as ours starts here.”
Redundant trustee orientations conducted by the institutions and by the Convention “disappear” Davis said. In the proposal, Convention staff will assist the institutions in whatever way requested as the institutions orient their new trustees.
Committees are reduced from nine to four, and all members will be elected to three-year terms.
Total membership on the committees is reduced from 106 in the nine, to 57 in the four. They are combined in this way:
- The trustee orientation committee is eliminated.
- The Committee on Committees is combined with the Committee on Nominations and is called the Committee on Nominations.
- The Enrollment, Program, Place and Preacher and the Local Arrangements committees are combined into the Committee on Convention Meetings.
- The Resolution and Memorials committees are combined into the Resolutions and Memorials Committee.
- The Historical Committee remains as is.
All members of current committees will finish their terms on the combined committees. So these committees will be abnormally large for a couple years.
The proposal eliminates two officers of the Convention: the recording secretary and assistant recording secretary.
That work has fallen primarily to the secretary of the Board in recent years assisted by audio and video technology.
The parliamentarian, named by the president, is to be recognized as an officer of the Convention during the annual meeting.
In the miscellaneous area, Davis said Article 11 adopts clear language both for severance or establishment of relationships or ministries. If adopted the new language clarifies and quickens the process. If the Board of Directors has at least six months to consider a proposed change in relationships, such a change can be approved by the Convention in one annual session, rather than two.
Changes clarify the responsibilities of the Board and of the Executive Committee in both search for a new executive director-treasurer (EDT) and in the case of termination of a serving EDT.