It has been just over two years since I had the opportunity to begin my service with the churches of California through California Southern Baptist Convention. This hopefully will give you an Insight into the first two years.
I am often asked, “Is serving in your role what you expected it to be?” The answer, as you might expect, is yes and no.
The “yes” is related to working with the churches, directors of missions and partners in our state. I knew pretty much what to expect and it has been the blessing I expected it to be.
The “no” deals with things I was not aware of but found myself dealing with from the outset.
The biggest issue confronting the Convention was a lack of financial strength, primarily due to the downturn in the economy almost a decade ago.
- It has been rewarding but challenging to deal with this lingering problem of resourcing the vision of the churches in California with less than what once was available, before the economy shifted.
- I am excited to share with you that the Convention has made the corrections necessary to be in a strong position once again. Yes, we walked up to the edge of the cliff, but now we have come back to be in a position to carry out the mission for which we exist.
So what insights can be learned from this experience?
- First, no organization is immune from dealing with financial challenges. Each entity must be vigilant and not afraid to make hard decisions to keep the organization in balance. It has taken all hands on deck to address this issue, and I am extremely grateful to all parties who have helped the Convention get a clear picture of where it has been and chart a course for a bright future.
- Secondly, each organization must determine what it will do, but also what it will not do. We are focused on carrying out four major initiatives to assist churches: evangelism and missions, church planting, church revitalization and addressing the needs of small churches. When resources are prioritized around vision, the priorities are always addressed. Areas not in those priorities may not be resourced as they once were.
- Finally, once the corrections have been made to “right the ship” there must be a commitment to ensure that the policies that have led to success are not violated.
The Convention has been on a journey to be the best steward it can be and I am blessed to see fiscal responsibility as a hallmark of our future.
Join with us and “step up” in the area of stewardship. I believe these are exciting days to be a Southern Baptist in California!
See archives of Dr. Agee’s previous Insights.