Last week the annual meeting of the Missouri Baptist Convention was held in St. Charles and with it my term as second vice-president came to an end. It was a great honor to serve in this role on the executive board.
I greatly enjoyed working with our excellent executive director, John Yeats, and my fellow board members and officers. My neighbor to the south, Neil Franks (pastor of FBC-Branson), did a great job as president. (Thank you, Neil, for allowing me to preside over the annual meeting Wednesday morning. That was pretty cool.) Neil’s successor, Ken Parker, is a good man who will serve Missouri Baptists well. The same may be said for Jeremy Muniz (first vice-president) and Rick Beisiadecki (recording secretary). I served with all these men on the board this past year, and consider them friends. I do not know Tim Smith who will replace me as second vice-president, but I look forward to meeting him.
This was a memorable year to serve on the executive board, and I’m proud of what we accomplished together. After years of litigation, the Missouri Baptist Foundation was restored to the control of MBC-elected trustees, and we continue to hope/pray for the return of our other entities as well. Additionally, a new set of governing documents was approved by the board and presented to Missouri Baptists at the annual meeting this year (for adoption at next year’s meeting). These documents will guide the work of the convention into the foreseeable future. Finally, a lesser publicized action (but an important one nevertheless) is that the board voted to implement a mechanism of oversight/accountability in regards to the men invited to speak at the MBC pastors’ conference. (Not technically our conference, but held in conjunction with our annual meeting.) This will ensure the doctrinal integrity of this important event going forward.
Missouri Baptists should know that serving on the executive board (particularly as an officer) is hard work! I drove to Jefferson City four times over the course of the year (and once to St. Louis) to participate in hours and hours of meetings. What really surprised me was the amount of time we spent in side sessions during the MBC annual meeting! There is SO much that goes on behind the scenes that, even going to the annual meeting for years, I had no idea how much planning it actually takes. Again, the MBC is blessed with an executive director and staff that truly have servant hearts. We have tremendous men and women working for us, Missouri Baptists!
Much has been made in recent years of the future of state conventions in our changing denominational landscape. And I certainly do not have the answers to all of those questions. It is true that the New Testament says nothing of denominations, conventions or associations. (Although, we do see a principle of cooperation between churches in the NT.) Additionally, the Great Commission was not given to any denominational entity, but to the Church. All that being true, I would submit the role of a state convention is to come alongside the local church to equip her and support her in her work. I believe the Missouri Baptist Convention, particularly under its current leadership, does exactly this. I am thankful for our diverse family of churches. Thank you for allowing me to serve.