The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s (BSC) board of directors voted unanimously to adopt a policy that establishes a process by which certain officials could be removed from their places of service for cases of “serious misconduct” and other criteria in accordance with the state convention’s bylaws.
The vote came during a regularly scheduled board meeting held Jan. 27-28 at Caraway Conference Center near Asheboro.
The policy applies to members of the BSC board of directors, elected state convention officers, members of convention committees, non-board members who serve on special committees of the board, and members of Fruitland Baptist Bible College’s board of directors.
Fruitland is owned and operated by the BSC.
The policy does not apply to state convention employees because their conduct is governed by the BSC’s employee handbook.
The policy allows for the removal of individuals for “serious misconduct damaging to the people, mission or ministry of the Convention, whether such conduct is related or unrelated to the individual’s duties in the Convention Position, in order to provide an environment that protects and promotes the Christian witness of the cooperating churches and their members.”
The policy outlines criteria for filing complaints, investigating allegations, hearings and appeals.
In addition to matters related to conduct, the policy also outlines other objective criteria as grounds for removal, including meeting attendance requirements, residency and church membership.
“We have tried to think of everything we possibly could think of in order to make sure things are done right and in order,” said Don Goforth, chairman of the Articles and Bylaws Committee, which drafted the proposed policy as well as related amendments to the state convention’s bylaws.
During the 2019 BSC annual meeting last November, messengers approved two amendments to the state convention’s bylaws that paved the way for the conduct policy to be adopted by the board.
The bylaw changes adopted by messengers described the criteria for which an individual may be removed and defined the positions it applies to. The bylaw amendments also directed the board to adopt “appropriate policies” related to the changes.
The adoption of the conduct policy marked the completion of a year’s worth of work by the state convention.
At the January 2019 board meeting, a motion was approved that directed the state convention’s executive committee to establish a policy for removing a board member in an instance of “moral failure.”
The executive committee referred the matter to the Articles and Bylaws Committee, which determined that bylaw changes were needed before a policy could be developed.
Last July, the executive committee endorsed the bylaw changes before they were approved by the full board of directors last September and by messengers last November.
John Butler, the BSC’s executive leader for Business Services, reported to the board that Cooperative Program giving totaled slightly more than $29 million in 2019, which was a 5.2% increase over 2018, but still about 6.2% below last year’s budget amount of $31 million.
At the same time, giving to special offerings for state, North American and international missions all increased in 2019. When special offerings and Cooperative Program gifts are considered together, North Carolina ranks third in total support to the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), Butler said.
“I’m proud of how N.C. Baptist churches support SBC causes through the special SBC offerings,” Butler said. “But the most effective way for us to do missions together is through churches supporting the Cooperative Program.”
In other business, the board elected four at-large members of the executive committee, elected a new board secretary and approved 12 individuals to serve on the Committee on Nominations. Board President Melanie Wallace also announced several appointments to various committees.
Executive committee at-large members
Individuals elected by acclamation to serve as at-large members of the executive committee were: Noah Crow of Peachtree Memorial Baptist Church in Murphy; Troy Grant of Lake View Baptist Church in Hickory; James Harrington of Fellowship Baptist Church in Moyock; and Travis Suits of Laurel Springs Baptist Church in Deep Gap.
Angela Kilby of First Baptist Church of Cary was elected board secretary.
Committee on Nominations
Individuals approved to serve on the Committee on Nominations were: Betsy Bolick of Perkinsville Baptist Church in Boone; Joey Canady of Hampstead Baptist Church; Brian Chilton of Westfield Baptist Church; Rusty Davis of Cherry Grove Baptist Church in Cerro Gordo; William Hardin of Fruitland Baptist Church in Hendersonville; Quintell Hill of Multiply Community Church in Monroe; Heath Lloyd of Fairview Baptist Church in Reidsville; Mark Meeseree of Lahu Baptist Church in Newton; Matt Miles of Powellsville Baptist Church; Heather Morris of Freedom Biker Church in Monroe; Richard Sherriff of Peachtree Memorial Baptist Church in Murphy; and Patrick Warutere of North Raleigh International Baptist Church.
Robin Fisher of Sunset Avenue Baptist Church in Rocky Mount will serve as the committee chair.
Articles and Bylaws Special Committee appointees
Wallace appointed the following individuals to serve on the Articles and Bylaws Special Committee: Jody Yopp of Kellum Baptist Church in Jacksonville; and Kim Jones of Cape Carteret Baptist Church.
Don Goforth of Great Marsh Baptist Church in St. Pauls will serve as the committee chair.
Budget Special Committee appointees
Wallace appointed the following individuals to serve on the Budget Special Committee: Katherine Batchelor of Hephzibah Baptist Church in Wendell; and Jennifer Hinnant of Central Baptist Church in Wendell.
Rick Speas of Old Town Baptist Church in Winston-Salem will serve as the committee chair.
Business Services Special Committee appointees
Wallace appointed the following individuals to serve on the Business Services Special Committee: Brandon Powell of Wakefield Central Baptist Church in Zebulon; and Charles Havens of First Baptist Church of Asheboro.
The board’s next meeting is scheduled for May 18-19 at Caraway Conference Center.
(EDITORIAL NOTE – Chad Austin, BSC Communications.)