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Messengers OK BGCM's 'First Priority' plan, hire Hill Print E-mail

By Vicki Brown, Word&Way News Writer

Roach -- The Baptist General Convention of Missouri will take a team approach to ministry this year after messengers to its annual meeting approved its strategic plan without questions or opposition.

Jim Hill also was chosen as the convention's executive director. Hill served the past year on an interim basis.

Meeting at Windermere Baptist Conference Center April 29-30, messengers approved the five-year plan, called First Priority. The plan includes six strategic initiatives -- leadership development, congregational health, church planting and missions mobilization as Great Commission initiatives, and ministry resources and congregational relationships as resource initiatives.

The leadership development initiative calls for establishing regional networks and providing other resources. The congregational health initiative will help churches evaluate their health and provide resources for church ministry and stewardship development. The church planting initiative will foster networks and provide assessment and training resources. Missions mobilization will assist churches with worldwide missions and with networking with missionary-sending agencies.

Under ministry resources, the convention will develop resources for pastors and staff, including insurance and retirement programs. The initiative also will include assistance for congregations that choose to examine denominational relationships. The congregational relationships initiative will assist church search committees and ministers. BGCM's communication and public relations efforts will be part of this initiative.

Messengers also adopted 10 recommendations from the strategy planning leadership team, including:

-- The BGCM board would be restructured to follow the team concept. Five teams would be developed -- leadership development, congregational health, church planting, missions mobilization, and a resources and relationships team. The chairperson of each team and at least two at-large board members would make up the administrative team.

The board will begin reorganization at its June 3 meeting at its Columbia headquarters.

-- The BGCM will hold down overhead expenses to direct more funds to resource development for churches.

-- New organizational charts for the board of directors and the staff leadership team were adopted. The staff leadership team includes the executive director, the executive assistant, the communications specialist, a secretary/receptionist, the four Great Commission team leaders, and four regional networks and affinity groups.

-- The board will elect four team leaders who will serve as volunteers, as part-time staff or bivocationally.

-- The current special assistant staff position will become the communications specialist with the responsibility to develop a communication strategy.

-- The convention will seek to expand partnership efforts with Baptist institutions in Missouri.

-- The BGCM will provide a world missions giving option.

-- It will develop partnership agreements with the Baptist General Convention of Texas and WorldconneX, a stand-alone mission group organized by the BGCT to help churches and believers connect with mission opportunities.

-- It will expand its involvement in and support of the Baptist World Alliance and the BWA North American Baptist Fellowship.

-- It will establish mission partnerships and encourage churches to participate in missions.

Prior to the annual meeting, the board elected Hill as executive director. Named interim executive director at last year's annual session, Hill will continue to serve part-time. "I am thrilled that he is now our executive director," BGCM president Bill Miller said.

Hill noted that all BGCM staff, except executive assistant Veronica Kramer, serve part-time. They will continue to do so to keep overhead expenses as low as possible.

Messengers also adopted 2005-06 budgets. The Cooperative Program allocations budget, with a goal of $500,000, includes $300,000 or 60 percent to BGCM ministries and $200,000 or 40 percent to Missouri institutions, agencies and ministries.

In addition to CP giving, the proposed board of directors budget anticipates designated gifts of $48,000, state mission offering of $21,000, interest income of $5,000 and miscellaneous income of $1,000.

Some $75,000 is earmarked for Great Commission initiatives, and resource initiatives will receive $43,000. Administrative expenses are estimated at $117,350, with operational expenses at $58,900. Some $5,750 would be placed in a reserve/contingency fund.

Of the $200,000 earmarked for institutions and ministries, Word &Way is scheduled to receive 8 percent. The Baptist Home, Windermere Baptist Conference Center, Missouri Baptist University and William Jewell College will each receive 6 percent. Three percent is budgeted for the Missouri Baptist Foundation, with 2 percent to the Missouri Baptist Children's Home and 1 percent each to Hannibal-LaGrange College, Southwest Baptist University and Woman's Missionary Union projects.

The state missions offering budget, with a goal of $35,000, includes allocations for BGCM ministries at 60 percent, of which $11,000 is earmarked for church planting assistance and start-up and $10,000 for mission partnerships. Other institutions and ministries will receive 40 percent, including $4,000 each to The Baptist Home and the Children's Home and $3,000 each to WMU projects and the FreeWay Foundation.

The Missouri world missions initiative budget designates 40 percent for BGCM mission partnerships, 30 percent to the Baptist World Alliance, 20 percent to the North American Baptist Fellowship and 10 percent to WorldconneX, an independent mission organization under the Baptist General Convention of Texas umbrella.

During the meeting, attendees gave and pledged more than $12,000 to tsunami relief efforts in East Asia. The money will be sent through WorldconneX to build homes and to provide fishing boats. (05-05-05)

 
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