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News for Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Board Approves Interim Realignment
By Lonnie Wilkey

Authorization given to begin construction on new chapel at Linden Valley

The Executive Board of the Tennessee Baptist Convention unanimously approved an interim realignment of the Executive Board staff, adopted a budget for 2011-12 and authorized construction of a new worship facility during its Sept. 14 meeting at the Baptist Center.

TBC Executive Director Randy C. Davis said the changes were designed to share leadership responsibility with others.

One major change will be the formation of a ministry cabinet of 10-12 people to assist Davis.

The cabinet will consist of Davis, Bobby Welch, Gary Rickman, William Maxwell, Candy Phillips, Don Pierson, Steve Holt, and Bill Choate, along with two members who will rotate on an annual basis. Serving during the first year will be Julie Heath and Andy Gunn.

Other significant changes include:

• Transforming the current Church Health group into two new groups — Leader Health and Kingdom Growth which will be led by Bobby Welch, associate executive director. He will be assisted by two group coordinators — Steve Holt (leader health) and Don Pierson (kingdom growth).

• The office of strategic relationships was formed. It will be led by Gary Rickman, former ministry coordinator. He will continue to work with associations across the state and promote the Cooperative Program. In addition, Rickman will help in strengthening relationships with TBC and Southern Baptist Convention entities as well as strategic partners.

• The recommendation calls for an anticipated creation of a communications position which will be tasked withcoordinating all communications efforts of the Executive Board.

• The "Shared Ministries Group" will become the "Missions Support Group" and will continue to be led by William Maxwell, administrative director.

Davis told the Board that this has been labeled an "interim realignment" because "we are anticipating there will be directions" from the Vision 2021 team as they complete their report.

"We wanted to leave the door open to respond. We anticipate further changes in structure in about 18 months," Davis said.

2011-12 budget

The Executive Board adopted abudget of $36,750,000 to present to Tennessee Baptist messengers for their approval at the 2011 annual meeting in November at First Baptist Church, Hendersonville.

The proposed budget is a $250,000 or 0.7 percent increase over the 2010-11 budget.

The budget includes a CP allocation of $11,484,375 or 31.25 percent of the total for the Tennessee Missions and Ministry section of the Executive Board allocation and a CP allocation of $2,447,550 or 6.66 percent of the total received for convention operations.

The recommendation, if adopted in November, notes that any amount received in excess of the budget be allocated 50 percent to the SBC and 50 percent to TBC causes (with a pro-rata division based on the base budget).

Worship center at Linden

The Executive Board approved a recommendation from the Shared Ministries Committee to authorize the construction of a new worship center at Linden Valley Baptist Conference Center, with total project expenditures to not exceed $1,650,000.

Committee chairman Bill Oakley, pastor of First Baptist Church, Trimble, reminded the Board that they instructed the committee in March to reduce the cost of the facility which then was estimated at $2.4 million and to utilize volunteers.

"We have tried, as a conference centers focus group and the Shared Ministries Committee, to follow your directions as thoroughly as we possibly could," Oakley told the Board. As a result, $750,000 was trimmed from the anticipated cost while continuing to provide a 500-seat auditorium to serve as the primary worship center.

The conference center's former worship center, The Tabernacle, was damaged by flooding in May of last year.

Plans approved by the Board include the engagement of Hardaway Construction Company to prepare the site for construction, erect a pre-engineered building and install metal stud walls.Hardaway would then provide construction supervision for volunteer construction teams to complete the construction of the facility for a limited period of time.

The recommendation specified that all funding will come from funds already set aside for the project (approximately $1.34 million) and additional funds that may be received.

In response to a question, Maxwell reminded the Board that funds have been received from several sources, including insurance, a special offering, sale of timber on the Linden property and more.

In a related recommendation, the Board approved that the "Hearts Awaken" fundraising campaign for the project be continued until the project is completed with the following elements: a goal of $320,000 to finish the project and authorization for Executive Board staff and the Shared Ministries Committee to directly approach churches for volunteers and funding.

Officers re-elected

All three current officers of the Executive Board were re-elected for another one-year term.

According to TBC bylaws, the president and vice president are for one term only.

But bylaws provide for a second term if it is for "program continuity," according to Roc Collins, pastor of Indian Springs Baptist Church in Kingsport.

Collins made the motion to re-elect David Green, pastor of First Baptist Church, Greeneville, for another term.

"A lot is going on with the Executive Board," Collins observed. "I believe the continuity David can bring to the Board now is extremely important," he said.

No other nominations were offered.

Robert Brown, pastor of FirstBaptist Church, Dandridge, was nominated to serve again as vice president. The same stipulation applied.

The move for a second term for both positions required a two-thirds majority by ballot vote. Both men received in excess of the two-thirds majority required.

Linda Still, a member of ClearView Baptist Church, Franklin, was unanimously elected for her third term as secretary.


Two new partnerships were approved by the Executive Board.

If approved by messengers in November, the partnerships would begin in 2013.

The first partnership is a five-year agreement with International Mission Board missionaries serving in Italy, beginning Jan. 1, 2013 through Dec. 13, 2017.

Larry Kirk, chairman of the Church Health Committee, noted that "this is a call from Macedonia to come and help spread the gospel" in Italy.

The second partnership came at the invitation of the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio. They have asked for the TBC to enter into a five-year partnership agreement with the Greater Cincinnati/Dayton area beginning Jan. 1, 2013 and continuing through Dec. 31, 2017.

The partnership will assist four associations in that area with their church planting efforts among 75-100 different people groups.

Messages, reports

The Executive Board heard challenges from Davis, Green, TBC President Poly Rouse and Bobby Welch. Danny Sinquefield also presented an update from the Vision 2021 Team. See separate story on page 1.

Noting the TBC and the SBC is in transition, Green reminded the Board that "the one thing that never changes is the Great Commission of Jesus Christ."

Green led the Board in a season of prayer for the nation and the TBC and SBC.

Rouse, pastor of Hermitage Hills Baptist Church, challenged the Board to come to the convention in November ready for revival.

For revival to occur it is imperative to pray for conviction, repentance and a renewed trust in God, Rouse challenged.

Davis and Welch reminded Board members of the importance of the Great Commission and the challenges that lie ahead.

"We cannot stop until we make sure everyone in Tennessee has heard the gospel and has been presented an opportunity to exchange an empty life for an abundant life in Christ," Davis said.

Welch, who will lead discipleship and evangelism efforts in the state, noted a good foundation is already in place. "Our job is to go on from where we are," he said. "I sense a certainty of God's hand on what is happening," he added.

Board members also heard a number of reports from leaders of the Tennessee Baptist Foundation, Union University, Carson-Newman College, Woman's Missionary Union, Baptist and Reflector and Harrison-Chilhowee Baptist Academy.

Other business

• Board members approved a recommendation from the Administrative and Collegiate Committees, along with the BCM facilities task force, which prioritize Baptist Student Center facilities and the maintenance and key repairs at facilities across the state. The Board also approved a subsidiary corporation (Baptist Collegiate Ministries of Middle Tennessee) which is similar to what has been done at BCMs in Memphis, Martin, Nashville, Cooke-ville, Knoxville and Chattanooga.

• James Guenther was introduced to the Board as acting legal counsel. He has served as legal counsel for the SBC for 45 years and he represents numerous other Baptist entities.

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