FRESNO—Executive leaders of California Southern Baptist Convention and North American Mission Board pledged their commitment to work in partnership to reach California for Christ during the CSBC Executive Board meeting, Jan. 26.
Pete Ramirez, CSBC executive director, said he is excited about the partnership and development of the Send California Network which already has made great strides in working in the areas of church planting and evangelism to resource CSBC congregations. Ramirez reported CSBC and NAMB are co-funding 20 new church plants. He added 199 evangelism grants, in part to NAMB funding, to CSBC churches resulting in 1,107 salvations in 2022.
Addressing the 28-member Board, Ezell said, “I’ve been waiting 12 years to speak to you.” He thanked Ramirez for his “kindness and graciousness” toward him. He emphasized to the Board, “You won’t have a better partner than North American Mission Board.”
He also “thanked” California Southern Baptists for
- Gifts to the Cooperative Program and Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, which allow NAMB to do its ministry across North America;
- California Baptist University, which he believes is “one of the greatest assets you have” and one of the best “launching pads” for ministry in the nation;
- Jonathan Jarboe, president of The Baptist Foundation in California, who also serves as second vice-chairman of NAMB trustees; and
- Accepting Shane Crister and Will Browning, NAMB church planting leaders in California.
Mission:Dignity Thank You
Ramirez read a thank you note from a California Southern Baptist retiree who received a “13th check” from GuideStone’s Mission:Dignity because of funding from CSBC and BFC. In 2022 each organization contributed $10,000 to make the additional stipend happen.
Mission:Dignity helps more than 2,700 Southern Baptist retirees every year with extra money needed for housing, food, and vital medications. It also ensures a well-deserved dignity, independence, and, often, the ability to continue serving the Lord.
Jarboe, BFC president, reported to the Board that an endowment had been established to fund this project every year. He said the Foundation seeded the endowment with $50,000 and that it grew to almost $88,000 by year’s end. The goal is to have the endowment reach at least $400,000.
Code of Conduct Considered/Vacancies filled
During the meeting, which is the organizational meeting of the Board, members considered a “Code of Ethics, Conduct, and Duties for Executive Board Members.” The Board Development Committee introduced the document, which has been in development for more than a year.
Members discussed the document and Richard Spring, pastor of First Baptist Church in Hesperia, made a motion to refer the recommendation to the Executive Committee for further study and to give members more time to review and understand the document. The motion carried.
Mike Zieman, chairperson of the Board Development Committee and member of First Bilingual Church in Pico Rivera, said the document is important because “integrity for all of us is important because it reflects not just on us personally, but it reflects on our Convention.
“How we live here, at our church, with our families and how we live when we’re out in the world, how we live when we are alone and how we live in front of the computer all matters. That’s what this is intended to cover.”
The document includes information related to Board members, including church membership, lifestyle, attendance, dress code, harassment, dishonest or fraudulent acts, and personal financial responsibility and stewardship.
From a business perspective, the document addresses conflicts of interest, gifts, and entertainment, political activities, and confidentiality.
The document also addresses fiduciary responsibility, including duty of care, duty of loyalty, and duty of obedience. The intent is that Board members would sign a document the document and acknowledge they have received, read and understand it. Failure to comply with the code of conduct could result in disciplinary action up to and including termination from the Board.
Members also voted to fill two at-large vacancies on the Board. Elected were David Kim, pastor of Good Community Church in Torrance, and Daniel Cassels, pastor of Life Way Fellowship in Santa Maria. The CSBC Constitution allows vacancies on CSBC Boards (Executive, BFC, and CBU) to be filled, but “only until the next annual session.” Both Kim and Cassels would be eligible to be elected to a four-year term at that time.
The election of those two completed a full complement of Board members. The Board also approved committee assignments for 2023.
Membership Committee Approves 14 for Affiliation
The Board approved 12 churches for membership, including Bridgeway Baptist Church, Cupertino; Doxa Church, Imperial Beach; Grace Redeemer Church, Anaheim; Holy Ground Christian Ministry, Vacaville; Hope Church, San Diego, El Cajon; and Iglesia Biblica Nuevo Pacto, San Diego.
Also, Iglesia Cristiana Casa De Luz, Hesperia; Iglesia Cristiana Roca Fuerte, Rowland Heights; Pillar Church, San Diego; Redline Church, Encinitas; St. Martin’s Chapel, Bakersfield; and Trinity Church of Benicia, Benicia.
Provisional approval was given to two churches, pending further documentation. They are Set Free Southland, Chula Vista, and The Vine – Espanol, Rancho Cucamonga.
The Board also approved a recommendation asking its Executive Committee to “develop a process to evaluate and act on membership challenges of existing member churches. Dale Garland, pastor of Hope in the Valley Baptist Church in Hemet and chairperson of the Convention Membership Committee, said the duties of the committee are limited in its scope of “recommending churches for affiliation.”
He added that the task of removing a church or investigating a congregation is not addressed in any of the CSBC governing documents.
When asked if other Baptist Conventions have a process, Spring, also a member of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee, said there is a process for the SBC to act on challenges through its Credential Committee. He noted the process had been updated in recent years.
Other Business Considered
Members also approved an off-site Board meeting in May 2023 in San Luis Obispo. They also approved a Zoom meeting for September.
Board members also approved recommendations for corporate officers and authorized them to transact business for the organization in 2023. They are Pedro Ramirez, chief executive officer; Marc Tempesta, chief executive officer; and Sally Cook, secretary.
In other actions, the Board:
- Set Executive Board meeting dates for 2024-2026;
- Gave authorization to set housing allowances for CSBC employees for 2023;
- Retained Matthew Hoffman of Baker Manock and Jensen, PC, as its legal counsel for 2023; and
- Retained CapinCrouse, LLP, as auditor for the 2022 CSBC financial statements.