Recent days have been tough for everyone on the staff here as we knew the elimination of positions was coming following the Executive Board. Good people have lost their jobs. Please pray for them as they seek what God has planned for them next and for the rest of the staff as we continue trying to serve Texas Baptists.
Here’s the official release:
DALLAS – The Baptist General Convention of Texas notified 29 employees Oct. 1-2 that their staff positions are being eliminated effective Oct. 31, according to Ron Gunter, associate executive director and chief operating officer for the convention.
Four other positions are being created that will combine the functions of eight of the reductions, and employees affected by the cuts will be able to apply for those new roles, Gunter said. Three positions in evangelism and leadership have been restructured into contract roles.
Most of the employees were notified Oct. 1. “This is a day I wish we could have avoided,” Gunter said, “but we have a responsibility to do the most effective ministry possible with the available financial resources.”
Of the 29 affected employees, 12 are program staff. The others are in support and clerical roles.
Most work teams were affected by the cuts, including the administrative offices.
Twelve of the lost positions are on the Missions, Evangelism and Ministry Team, the largest BGCT work group. The two jobs reduced in youth evangelism will be restructured into contract positions. Also, two MEM Team ministry assistant roles will be replaced by one.
“The BGCT is blessed to have such a quality staff, so any reduction in that staff means that gifted servants of our Lord are affected,” said Charles Wade, executive director. “I deeply appreciate the work of these men and women, and I’m praying God will raise up new places of service for them. Our staff will be available to them in making this transition.”
The 12 program staff positions being eliminated are as follows, by team:
• Associational Missions Team
Camp specialist – Susan Ater
• Communications Team
Cooperative Program Services manager – Glenn Majors
• Congregational Leadership Team
Church administration specialist – Josie Flores
Leadership project specialist – Mary Johnson
• Congregational Strategists Team
Strategist for Service Area 4 in San Antonio – Jim Furgerson
• Institutional Ministries Team
Director of the Baptist Laity Institute – Linda Cross
Ministry relations/shared resources – Tom Ruane
• Missions, Evangelism and Ministry Team
LifeCall Missions director – Cecil Deadman
Women’s ministry specialist – Debra Hochgraber
Church architecture specialist and associate director – Russell Maddox
Texas Partnerships specialist – Tom Robuck
Music and worship special events coordinator – Debbie Smith
Earlier this year, three positions in the Service Center Team were eliminated, as well, Gunter said.
Texas Baptist Laity Institute leadership will be transferred to Royce Rose, coordinator of vocational theological education on the Institutional Ministries Team. Leadership of LifeCall Missions will be assumed by Lindsay Cofield, multihousing/Key Church director.
Cooperative Program services will be moved into a CP/stewardship role, Gunter said. Terry Austin resigned earlier this year as stewardship director. The new role will promote strategic development of CP promotion and stewardship efforts in churches.
Service Area 4, which includes San Antonio, has had two strategists, Fred Ater and Jim Furgerson. Ater will take on full responsibility for this area.
Each person affected by the cuts will be eligible for financial assistance, insurance continuation, outplacement services and counseling services, said Casey Bailey, senior consultant for HRHouston Group, which handles the BGCT’s human resources functions.
The severance package comprises two weeks of pay for every one year of service, with a minimum of four weeks of pay and a maximum of 12 weeks, Bailey said. The BGCT also will pay the full premiums for medical, dental and/or life insurance during that time. All other accrued benefits will be provided, as well, including a pay out of unused vacation time.
Human Resources will assist with transition into new job opportunities with the BGCT or with other organizations, and will provide resume assistance and search strategies, Bailey said. The Information Technologies office will make computers available for employees to conduct Internet job searches and prepare resumes. Counseling services will be available with the BGCT staff and through referral networks.
“These are difficult times for affected employees and for other workers, as well,” Bailey said. “Everyone needs our prayers right now through this period of transition.”