Baptist State Convention (BSC) Board President Allan Blume announced the membership of several important committees during the March 6 meeting of the Baptist State Convention Executive Committee (EC) at Hollifield Leadership Center.
The Executive Committee met for a business session after an overnight retreat, which has become an annual event to enable new members to acquaint themselves with other members and with BSC staff.
The Executive Committee also approved new position descriptions for five staff members and changed the vacant position of African-American church planting consultant to be an urban church planting consultant. That is a position funded jointly by the BSC and the North American Mission Board.
North Carolina’s urban areas are rapidly expanding and urban ministry is an “animal unique unto itself,” said Chuck Register, executive leader for church planting and missions development.
“We must work to reach these areas with the gospel,” said Register, who expects the new consultant to develop strategy for each of North Carolina’s large cities, especially in the area of multi-family housing.
The job descriptions of Neal Eller, Cathy Hopkins, Rick Hughes, David Moore and Phil Stone, all staff members of Congregational Services, were amended to more accurately reflect their current responsibilities.
Revisions also were made for several positions at Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute, including Kenneth Houston as director of cafeteria services, Bobby Garrett as director of campus services and Thomas Hayes as librarian.
Blume, who said the Executive Committee was “starting a fresh mood here” following approval by messengers in November of revised Articles and Bylaws, announced the membership of several important committees. It is the board president’s responsibility to name these committees, and Blume reminded the EC that these “are appointments and do not require approval.”
Committee on Resolutions: Scott Eanes, Joel Stephens, Craig Bailey, Mark Blair, Jonathan Hall, all currently on the Board of Directors.
Budget Committee: Board of Directors members Sarah Knott; Steve Hardy, chair; Chris Hilliard and Eric Cook. At-large members Don Warren, Steve Mangum, PJ Giaritelli and Scott Davis.
Articles & Bylaws Committee: Board of Directors members Aaron Wallace, Bobby Blanton and Steve Weaver. At-large members Ed Rose, Jim Nance, Nate Jones and Joan Mitchell.
Fruitland Nominating Committee: Cindy Stevens, chair; Anne Beck and David Treadway.
Position Evaluation Committee: Cindy Stevens, chair; Allan Blume, Rick Speas, Mark Harris, Ed Yount and Aaron Wallace.
The Executive Committee affirmed the recommendation of BSC President Rick Speas of Gladys McGlamery, member of Pleasant Home Baptist Church in Millers Creek, to fill the unexpired term of Betty Richardson on the Historical Committee.
Wording of the policy by which churches are determined to be “in friendly cooperation” with the BSC was affirmed, to be presented for approval to the full board in May. Because it is a board policy, it will not go to the Convention for a vote by messengers.
The policy language makes it congruent with the Articles and Bylaws changes made by messengers in November.
Board member Kelton Hinton asked if a church would be considered not to be in friendly cooperation with the Convention if it forwarded money from a member designated to an organization that affirmed or endorsed homosexuality, even though the church did not officially support such organization.
He mentioned a specific case where a member from such a church was denied consideration by the nominating committee.
John Butler, executive leader for business services, said the nominating committee will have a chance to consider such a case individually.
He said though, that churches “have to make a decision” on whether to pass through such money.
Passing money from a member through to any organization gives “tacit approval” for the work of that organization, said Steve Hardy, executive committee member.
Butler said since the Convention adopted language in 2006 that defined “in friendly cooperation” in relation to homosexuality, “not a single church” has been named for inquiry. Myers Park named itself and asked the Convention to determine its status in 2007.
Hinton also questioned the inclusion of “association” in document wording which said the issue is in part to keep a healthy relationship between the church, its association and the BSC.
“Why does the BSC concern itself with a church’s relationship with the local association?” Hinton said, asking that the reference to association be deleted.
Hinton is director of missions for the Johnston Association.
“You can only speak for yourself, not for the association,” he said.
Butler responded that the intention is to keep the association in the loop of any discussions concerning a church in the association.
He also reminded Hinton that the BSC Articles and Bylaws say the BSC work is “with and through associations.”
“The language doesn’t force anything onto the association, but gives them the opportunity to be involved,” Butler said.
Last month Fruitland asked the Executive Committee for one-half the cost of buying a $154,000 house next to the campus to be used for a women’s dorm. Butler reported that Friends of Fruitland has shouldered the full purchase price and no gift or loan will be needed.
To a question about progress of the Fruitland presidential search committee, Blume said the committee’s work is “moving along expeditiously.”
Eligibility for access to the Convention’s valuable mailing and data files was outlined.
Basically only direct institutions and agencies of the Convention will have access to that data, and only upon written request.
Affiliated and historic institutions and agencies, the associational missions conference and co-laborers such as Woman’s Missionary Union may request use of this data through the administration and convention relations office. The Executive Committee must approve the request, and if it does, the BSC will handle the mailing of materials for the entity. No data files or labels will be released to the entity.
For a church or association to gain access to the data, it must be partnering with a BSC consultant, who must request use of the information.
Similarly, any other national agency or organization must be in partnership on a specific project with the BSC and request the data through the BSC consultant.
The Executive Committee approved a $200,000 loan to Greater Joy Baptist Church in Rocky Mount, which started in September 2008. The loan is to renovate a building given to the church for a worship center.
Following the brief business meeting, the Executive Committee went into executive session for the third time to discuss the Biblical Recorder. Biblical Recorder board president Mike Smith was present to hear concerns first presented in a letter to Smith in December. The Biblical Recorder officers responded in a letter to the Executive Committee in January. Smith volunteered to appear before the Executive Committee to hear concerns.
Only Smith, Executive Committee members and BSC Executive Leaders were allowed in the executive session.
Although not specified, wording in the Executive Committee’s original letter to Smith indicates the original complaint stems from an interpretation of a piece printed under the editor’s online column entitled “Throw the bums out.”
The complainant evidently felt it endorsed a political candidate and supported homosexuality.
Issues discussed beyond that remain undisclosed through executive session privilege.