Executive Board approves downsizing, Convention restructure

Published Sep 27, 2017

FRESNO — A new structure for California Southern Baptist Convention staff and adoption of a $14.9 million proposed budget for 2018 were approved by the CSBC Executive Board during their Sept. 7-8 meeting in Fresno.

In his inaugural Board meeting as CSBC executive director, Bill Agee presented his vision statement for the Convention while also outlining a staff restructure for its service to churches into four ministry “initiative teams.”

The Board approved both.

Agee’s vision statement is: “CSBC will focus on resourcing the vision of local churches while differentiating itself in the areas of church revitalization and church planting.”

The teams created to resource “the vision of local churches” are a church planting initiatives team, church revitalization initiatives team, small churches initiatives team and evangelism and missions initiatives team (see separate story page 3).

The proposed budget of $14,890,468 includes a Cooperative Program objective of $6.7 million. In presenting the budget, Jenice Moore, chairman of the Board’s finance committee, said the objective is “based on actual year-to-date 2017 CP receipts and projections for 2018.”

The Cooperative Program (CP) objective of $6,700,000 is a reduction of $100,000 from 2017; it is an increase of 3 percent over 2017 projected actual receipts of $6.5 million.

From CP giving, the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee will receive 35 percent for worldwide missions, an increase of .5 percent, continuing progress in achieving a goal of allocating 35 percent of Cooperative Program gifts to the SBC.

Other allocations of CP gifts include 5 percent to California Baptist University for Christian education and 1 percent to California Baptist Foundation. The remaining 59 percent will be used for Executive Board ministries in California.

The budget includes $1.8 million from the North American Mission Board to fund designated CSBC ministries in 2018. The $1.8 million includes $250,000 for church planting.

Board members also approved a Constitution amendment to reduce the membership of the Executive Board from 40 to 28. The motion must be approved by messengers to and will be introduced at the CSBC annual meeting, Oct. 24-25 at Magnolia Church in Riverside.

Don Fugate, pastor of Foxworthy Baptist Church in San Jose and chairman of the Board, introduced the recommendation during the Thursday plenary session, telling members the executive committee had “discussed the reduction” in recent years and felt it necessary for the Board to be more effective.

By reducing the number of members, the committee said they believe the Board will be more strategic in its actions, members will be more engaged, the Board will be able to act and engage more quickly with churches, and there will be a cost savings of Cooperative Program gifts.

If approved by messengers to the CSBC annual meeting, the reduction will be achieved through attrition.

The recommendation received more discussion than any other presented during the two-day Board meeting, as members questioned the motion’s impact on statewide representation, though the recommendation does not suggest changes in regionalization or how Board members currently are selected.

At least two Board members voiced concern that they hadn’t had enough time to adequately consider the recommendation since it was not published in advance with other materials. Fugate delayed the vote until the Friday morning session.

At the time of consideration, the recommendation passed with one dissenting vote.

In addition to the Constitution amendment, Fugate appointed a “documents review committee” to look at the CSBC Constitution and Bylaws as well as Executive Board Bylaws. Named to the committee are Shawn Beaty, Clovis Hills Community Church in Clovis; Jenice Moore, Trinity Baptist Church in Livermore; Brent Ives, Southwinds Church in Tracy; Stephen Aoki, Tiburon Baptist Church in Tiburon; AB Vines, New Seasons Church in Spring Valley and CSBC president; and Victor Chayasirisobhon, First Southern Baptist Church in Anaheim and CSBC vice president. Fugate will chair the committee and Mike McCullough, CSBC associate executive director, will serve as staff liaison.

Board members approved a three-pronged recommendation requesting the CSBC committee on resolutions, credentials and membership alter its process for approving churches to affiliate with the Convention. The Board asked that new congregations functioning as a mission of a currently-

cooperating church not be required to engage in the affiliation process until it sought to incorporate as an autonomous congregation.

The other two requests relate to working with local Baptist associations to develop a single application for both associations and the Convention. Congregations that have been assessed and affiliated by an association using the cooperative process will not be required to complete a separate process.

The Board also approved 11 new churches for membership: City on a Hill, Oceanside; Convergence Community Church, San Diego; CrossPoint Baptist Church, Huntington Beach; House of the Word, Brea; Kadesh Christ’s Church, Los Angeles; Sanctuary Bay Church, Hayward; Slavic Evangelical Baptist Church of Orange County, Pomona; Straightway Missionary Baptist Church, Mojave; The Gathering Community Church, Clovis; The Hills Community Church, Porterville; and Valley Community Church, Spring Valley.

At their Thursday evening dinner, Board members honored Tony Ahaev on his retirement from CSBC after 27 years of service. Ahaev served with and led church starting for the Convention, as well as working closely with CSBC’s Russia/Ukraine partnership.

An Executive Board bylaw amendment introduced during the May meeting eliminating a duty for the board operations committee dealing with a sub-committee — to help oversee Jenness Park Christian Camp — was approved.

The strategic ministries committee introduced a bylaw amendment to change one of its duties and to transfer two others to the executive committee.

In other business, the Board:

— approved changing the name of California Baptist Foundation to The Baptist Foundation of California;

— approved corporate officers for 2017 to include Bill Agee, new CSBC executive director;

— authorized corporation officers;

— approved the transfer of accumulated earnings from CSBC trusts and endowments to revenue as needed to meet budget requirements for 2017;

— approved retaining the accounting firm of Linger, Peterson, Shrum & Company as auditor for CSBC’s 2017 financial statement;

— re-elected Don Fugate and Dale Garland, Hemet Valley Baptist Church in Hemet, as chairman and vice chairman, respectively.

The Board’s next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 24-26.