Convention E-Board informed of NAMB cuts, strategic giving report

Published Jun 01, 2011

FRESNO – California Southern Baptist Convention Executive Board members approved several recommendations to amend the organization’s guiding documents, and learned about the changing relationship between CSBC and the North American Mission Board during their spring meeting May 12-13.

The Board voted to amend its bylaws related to the duties of the board operations committee and to amend the CSBC constitution and bylaws related to officers of the Convention. Also approved was an amendment to the constitution to clarify the role of the president as an ex officio member of auxiliary boards.

The Executive Board bylaws change, which was introduced in January, establishes a sub-committee to give oversight to Jenness Park and to the policies and strategies for the office of strategic giving; other changes include the strategic giving coordinator reporting to the BOC. Jenness Park continues to report to the committee.

In her first report to the BOC, Judy Logan, director of strategic giving, noted that in the 15 months since she began, she has been instrumental in raising $4 million for ministry through estate plans. She also noted that more than half the amount, $2.15 million, is for CSBC ministries.

The Executive Board is recommending that the Convention amend the constitution to remove the Convention president as an ex officio member of the boards governing California Baptist Foundation and California Baptist University. The primary reason is the liability of those serving on the boards. The recommendation does not change the role of the president as an ex officio member of the Executive Board with full voting privileges.

The officer recommendations are in response to a motion at the 2010 CSBC annual meeting by J.T. Reed, pastor of First Baptist Church in Fair Oaks, who moved that the Board study Convention officer “structure for effectiveness and efficiency” and bring a report with recommendations to the 2011 annual meeting.

The recommendations, which have ramifications for both the CSBC constitution and bylaws, deletes the office of second vice president and assigns the nomination of convention music director to the committee on convention operations, which also nominates the preacher and alternate for the annual sermon. Under the proposed change, the music director still would be elected by messengers.

All CSBC bylaws and recommendations will be presented at the annual meeting in Fremont in October. Bylaws can be voted on the year they are presented if published a month in advance. Constitutional amendments must be read into the record at one convention and voted on the next year. Since the officer recommendations cover both the constitution and bylaws, both will be presented in 2011 but not voted on until 2012, so the guiding documents are in agreement with one another.

Fermin A. Whittaker, CSBC executive director, told Board members that changes in the relationship and funding between the Convention and the North American Mission Board “will impact our ministry in California.”

NAMB has asked CSBC to take $400,000 in reductions for 2012. About $300,000 of that will come from current vacancies of jointly funded personnel.

“The vacant positions already were on hold at NAMB’s request since the middle of 2010,” Whittaker explained. “Now those positions and their corresponding dollars will be permanently removed from CSBC’s budget.”

The loss of funds for the vacant positions is retroactive to Jan. 1, and Whittaker said the additional reduction of $100,000 will be effective Jan. 1, 2012.

He noted, “Your administrative team has not had time to determine the most strategic means of reducing the NAMB budget by the $100,000 being requested. We are taking our time to discover what we believe is the least painful and most strategic way to reach that amount.

“The dollars may come from the Ministry Resource Center, field staff or some combination of the two.”

Whittaker also said NAMB has decided not to “rush the process” of replacing current “Cooperative Agreements” which detail the working relationship between the agencies, but instead is “seeking input from state executive directors to formulate an appropriate document.”

He announced that NAMB elected Steve Bass, executive director of the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention, as the vice president to work with the 11 state conventions in the West.

“He is a good choice for the Western states since Steve knows and understands us,” Whittaker said. “We anticipate our first formal meeting with Steve in the fall. All future negotiations with NAMB will be through him.”

Though the Convention has no control over the economy, what NAMB or the CSBC Focus 21 Task Force will do, Whittaker said CSBC is committed to serving churches.

“We know these are difficult times and that our Southern Baptist Convention is in the midst of great change in how we do cooperative missions. I do believe God is in control. We will continue to trust God as He leads us forward to serve the churches in California.”

One way CSBC serves is by helping start new churches. Whittaker reported 52 new congregations have been started since Jan. 1. To help in that effort, California Baptist Foundation presented a $50,000 check from trusts and endowments to start new churches in California.

The next Executive Board meeting is set for Sept. 15-16 in Fresno.