Archive for February, 2007

Executive Board Passes Statement on Annual Meeting Ruling

February 27, 2007

This morning the Executive Board passed a “statement of understanding” regarding its role. The board expressed its “regret” over a ruling at the 2006 BGCT Annual Meeting struck at the heart of Texas Baptists life. That ruling included a statement that the Executive Board “preempted” the role of the messengers to the annual meeting.

The Executive Board affirmed its role as a “servant board.” It exercises authority delegated to it by annual meeting messengers or given to it by the convention’s governing documents.

The Executive Board understands and confirms that it has always considered itself to be a “servant board.” It understands that it exists to serve Texas Baptists, the churches, and the messengers to the Convention’s Annual Meeting.

This Board understands that it has no power or authority except to the extent messengers have delegated it authority under the Convention’s Articles of Incorporation, Constitution, and Bylaws, and as the messengers may further direct it to act.

This Board recognizes that certain duties delegated to it by the Convention and under its governing documents are so-delegated because they can be handled by the Board acting as a smaller body with more available time to consider and to act and, in some cases, with a greater degree of confidentiality, if appropriate.

This Board understands its role to be that of a steward. The Executive Board regrets the parliamentary ruling at the 2006 Annual Meeting. This Board does not intend in any way for its actions prior to an Annual Meeting to “preempt” the role of messengers. Rather, this Board seeks to perform its duties faithfully between annual meetings.

Republican Added to Atlanta Baptist Meeting

February 27, 2007

During the BGCT Executive Board meeting, BGCT Executive Director Charles Wade announced Lindsey Graham, a Republican senator from South Carolina, will speak on immigration during a 2008 meeting of North American Baptists.

The addition of a Republican would help balance a program that includes former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. During the Executive Board meeting, Wade said he was one of several Baptists pushing hard for representation from the political right on the program.

He hopes the addition of Graham and possible addition of Sessions will allow Baptists to put politics aside and focus on being a “Jesus” people who focus on spreading the gospel by meeting people’s needs in issues such as poverty, hunger and AIDS.

“If we can simply focus on what Jesus called us to be and do – which includes preaching the gospel to the poor, binding up the wounded, feeding the hungry, announcing liberty for the oppressed, proclaiming the acceptable year of the Lord has come because Jesus is the messiah and He still is – it’s time for us to sound a call for Americans all over North America, Baptists especially, to stand up and be a Jesus people,” Wade said.

BGCT Implementing Changes to Prevent Future Misuse of Funds

February 27, 2007

BGCT Executive Director Charles Wade and the BGCT staff are implementing investigator-recommended, Executive Board-requested changes, according to a board-appointed oversight group. The actions are designed to prevent further misuse of BGCT church-starting funds.

The recommendations were new church-starting guidelines, more accessible church mortality rates, more integrated and coordinated record keeping, better internal controls and an accounting-designed control system. Each has been or is being implemented.

Wade has given a convention-commissioned investigation report and all related evidence to legal authorities. The convention’s attorney, Steve Wakefield, is in regular contact with the authorities, but does not know exactly where the case stands.

Wade said the convention will wait to pursue civil action until the authorities either pursue the case or let the convention know they will not follow up with an investigation. But staff members are collecting materials in case they are needed for civil action.

“The group looked at and felt like and thinks today and is confident of the fact that Dr. Wade and the staff have worked very, very hard with great attention and great commitment to the problems that existed and were discussed on Nov. 13,” Jim Nelson, chairman of the oversight group, said to the Executive Board. “They have done work in these weeks that is remarkably admirable and broad and deep to correct the problems and try to ensure what happened before won’t happen again.”

The day included extended discussion between the BGCT Executive Board and convention staff leaders. Executive Board members asked many questions.

I’ll be posting more detailed information on the BGCT web site as quickly as possible.

Rafter J Cowboy Church

February 23, 2007

Cowboy churches are exploding across Texas. I love the honesty that these cowboys have in this interview.

Check out the Ecclesia story on our homepage about Rafter J Cowboy Church.

Interested in more information on cowboy churches? Contact Charles Higgs.

Transforming Communities

February 23, 2007

HSU Friendship HouseI love writing about Texas Baptists who are making a difference in their respective communities. It’s encouraging to see believers carrying out God’s commandment to love people.

An increasing number of Texas Baptists are diversifying their community missions efforts in order to address multiple needs a person may have. Churches are working together to develop comprehensive mission efforts. Texas Baptist child care ministries, aging care ministries, hospitals and universities — like Hardin-Simmons University’s Friendship House pictured on the left — also are serving in their communities.

And lives are being changed. Read some Texas Baptists’ thoughts on community missions here.

Job openings

February 22, 2007

Here is a list of open employment positions at the BGCT.

-Evangelism Team Leader
-Evangelism Specialist-Local Church Evangelism Director
-Donor Relations Coordinator
-Information Management Operator
-Church Starter-Service Area 5
-Web Developer/Designer
-Baptist Student Ministry Director – San Antonio Area
-Baptist Student Ministry Director – Texas A&M, Kingsville
-Ministry Assistant, Resource Services BaptistWay Press
-Project Coordinator for Women’s Ministry
-Ministry Assistant to Service Areas 7

For more details and an application visit the BGCT web site.

Taking the lead

February 22, 2007

Many of us applaud efforts to bring the reality of clergy sexual misconduct into the public eye. It’s something we wish didn’t exist, but it does; and Texas Baptists have a responsibility to do everything we can to prevent people from being victimized in this matter.

As a result, the BGCT has been proactive in seeking to help churches to be informed about incidents of sexual misconduct.

Because of that, it’s especially sad when we see a story like the one that appeared in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram today. This story about the Southern Baptist Convention was not primarily about the BGCT, but they referenced us in one paragraph.

“Brown, who runs a Web site called the Voice to Stop Baptist Predators, and the Texas regional SNAP office have pushed for the Baptist General Convention of Texas to open its confidential files and name the Baptist ministers who have been accused of sexual misconduct. But the convention says the list must remain confidential, largely to protect the identity of victims,” the newspaper reports.

Technically, that’s accurate; but it leaves the inaccurate impression that the BGCT is seeking to protect sex offenders.

The BGCT keeps a file of such incidents reported to it by churches, and all Texas Baptist churches are encouraged to contact our Congregational Leadership staff to determine if a particular minister has been involved in any such incidents.

Please help us spread the word that this service is available.

TBM called to Missouri

February 20, 2007

Texas Baptist Men disaster relief volunteers have been called to serve again. Read about it here.

These men and women provide a powerful ministry, meeting people at their point of need. Please pray for them as they serve in an area hit hard by snow.

For more information about how to serve in TBM’s disaster relief efforts, call 888.244.9400.

The Cowboy 10 Commandments

February 20, 2007

Junior cowboys at Rafter J Cowboy Church in Terrell, TX share the Cowboy Ten Commandments.

Read a recent story about cowboy churches here.

New BWA website

February 20, 2007

The Baptist World Alliance has a new web site — The BGCT partners with Baptists around the world through this great group.

I had the privilege of attending the BWA World Congress in Birmingham, England, and it was one of the worshipful highlights of my life. Seeing people of many nationalities, races and languages worshiping together is an inspiring taste of heaven.

Start thinking ahead now to the next BWA World Congress in 2010. The place: Hawaii. We’re already working on ways to make the event a spiritually rewarding experience. You’ll hear more as we know more.