FRESNO – Meeting the objectives of the remaining recommendations from the Focus 21 Task Force report “will require a great deal of study, expertise and wisdom from God,” according to Montia Setzler, chairman of the California Southern Baptist Convention Executive Board.
Addressing the Board during its winter meeting Jan. 24-25, Setzler said the remaining recommendations – prioritizing church planting, prioritizing global responsibilities and reducing denominational overlap – are connected.
“When you change one, it changes the others.”
He noted that “prioritizing global responsibilities,” which calls for a 50/50 split of Cooperative Program funds between CSBC and the Southern Baptist Convention, is the only one with a time frame of five years.
Setzler said the recommendations being considered call for more CP gifts going to the SBC for worldwide missions with the remaining CP gifts for California missions being redistributed. He noted achieving the goal would be “difficult” when considering a “30-year decline in CP giving and a fledgling economy.”
Setzler’s goal is for the Board to approve recommendations by their September meeting to present to messengers at the CSBC annual meeting, Oct. 22-23 in El Cajon.
“The recommendations will require change,” Setzler said. “But in the spirit of change, the Executive Board has been given the charge to ‘do no harm’ to this Convention. So the tension we live with is to make changes without destroying what God has established.”
Using the example of a commercial airliner, Setzler said the aircraft can quickly negotiate a tight turn, “but the passengers don’t like it.” Likewise, the same aircraft can make a wider turn without passengers even knowing.
“We need to be able to bring recommendations that don’t throw California Southern Baptists against the wall, but at the same time being intentional and moving in the right direction,” Setzler explained.
“The Executive Board must work on behalf of the Convention because we are the Convention ad interim.”
Setzler admitted these are “challenging times for us. We are not alone in trying to figure this out. Other states are wrestling with the same topics, it’s just we have a lot more lost people and a whole lot fewer people to do the work.”
He added, “We need to come up with something that will honor God while helping us reach our state for Christ.”
In responding to the Executive Board’s Focus 21 Task Force report at the 2012 annual meeting in Clovis, the Board’s executive committee introduced a change to Article V of the bylaws related to the search for an executive director. An addition allows the search committee to seek input “from a variety of sources,” gives the committee latitude in allowing “non-Executive Board leaders to serve as non-voting advisors/consultants” and allows the committee to seek “professional assistance” in the search process.
Setzler noted the amendment will be considered at the May 9-10 meeting since bylaws changes must be presented to Board members at least 30 days prior for consideration.
Board members also approved a California Mission Offering goal of $444,444. The goal is an 11 percent increase compared to the 2012 goal of $400,000. Gifts to the offering in 2012 totaled $428,865, the second consecutive year gifts exceeded the goal.
The recommendation detailed that church starting will receive 40 percent of the gifts while evangelism and healthy church projects are projected to receive 28 percent. Associations will receive 14 percent of gifts given by their churches.
Greetings and reports from California Baptist Foundation and California Baptist University also were presented. Philip W. Kell, Foundation president, presented a $50,000 check to CSBC for church starting efforts. Kell noted the gift was from earnings on church starting endowments managed by the Foundation.
Setzler told Board members Mike Abdollazadeh and Patrick O’Brien had resigned.
The group welcomed five new members to their ranks, and
- approved committee assignments for 2013;
- approved meeting dates for 2014-16;
- authorized the business services group leader to designate housing allowances for eligible staff;
- approved corporate officers;
- authorized corporate officers to transact business; and
- retained Bruce D. Bickel as legal counsel for 2013.
The Board is scheduled to meet again May 9-10 in Fresno.