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Ariz. Southern Baptist Convention restructures; CP Missions increased

PHOENIX, Ariz. (BP)–The Arizona Southern Baptist Convention will be restructured, and funding will be increased for Cooperative Program receipts that are forwarded to the Southern Baptist Convention and for the Arizona Regional Campus of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary.

The changes are the result of actions by messengers to a special called convention session June 1 and become effective July 1.

Messengers voted 357-146 (71-29 percent) to amend the state convention’s constitution and articles of incorporation. A two-thirds affirmative vote was required for passage.

The state convention structure and staff will be streamlined, and the Arizona Church Growth Board and Arizona State Mission Board will be dissolved effective June 30.

With a messenger-approved change in relationship with Arizona Baptist Children’s Services, the state convention will no longer own and operate any agencies but will relate to the children’s services agency through a cooperative agreement. The Children’s Services’ board of trustees will become a self-perpetuating board but is committed to remaining Southern Baptist.

Messengers approved cooperative agreements with Children’s Services, Baptist Senior Life Ministries, Golden Gate Seminary and the California Baptist Foundation, which has an estate planning office in Arizona.

Under the new state convention structure, cooperative agreements also will be negotiated with the 14 associations. The state convention will provide resources and assistance to help support the strategy of each association, which will be determined by the strategies of the local churches.

Five staff “resource facilitators” in church planting, church ministry and church evangelism will work with the executive director and a Convention Council (which replaces the Executive Board) to negotiate and resource the cooperative agreements.

Messengers elected 35 Convention Council members at the called meeting. A pastor from Central Baptist Association placed two additional names in nomination after questioning the associational involvement of some of the Central nominees. However, the effort failed, and all of those nominated by the Committee on Boards were elected.

Messengers approved a $2,390,302 transitional financial plan for July 1-Dec. 21, 2001.

The plan allots $397,641.25 for the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee for the Cooperative Program. This represents 25 percent of the Cooperative Program receipts from Arizona Southern Baptist churches and 17 percent of the total ASBC budget, when other income is added to the Cooperative Program receipts from the churches. Previously, 20 percent of Arizona Cooperative Program funds had been sent to the SBC.

Associational partnerships are allotted $611,208.61 (26 percent of the total budget).

Statewide programs and operational expenses, including the pastors/wives retreat, dual career pastors/wives training, the production of Portraits, office space lease and anticipated legal fees are allotted $595,240.25 (25 percent of the total budget).

The plan allots $524,862.90 (22 percent of the total budget) for salaries and benefits for the state convention staff.

Ministries through cooperative agreements will receive $261,250 (11 percent of the total budget), including $125,000 for the Arizona Regional Campus of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary; $66,250 for Arizona Baptist Children’s Services; $40,000 for Baptist Senior Life Ministries; and $30,000 for estate planning through the Arizona office of the California Baptist Foundation.

The annual amount for Golden Gate is an increase from $83,000 to $250,000. The ASBC 2000 budget represented the first year of a five-year plan to increase Golden Gate’s funding by $50,000 per year to a total of $250,000. Under the adopted financial plan, the commitment will be fulfilled all at once.

A motion to reduce Golden Gate’s funding to $50,000 for the next six months and use the remainder to fund associational partnerships was overwhelming defeated.

The new convention staff team includes the following from the Arizona State Mission Board: Ken Belflower and Fernando Amaro, who will serve as church planting facilitators; Mitch McDonald, church evangelism facilitator; Mary Travis, assistant in church planting; and Tracy Baker, receptionist and coordinator.

Joining the convention staff from the Arizona Church Growth Board are Bob Mayfield, church ministries facilitator for programs; Keith Henry, church ministries facilitator for leadership; and Mary High, assistant in church ministries.

Continuing in their service from the Executive Board staff are: Steve Bass, executive director/state missionary; Kathy Keller, business administrator; Elizabeth Young, director of communications; Frankie Wedergren, administrative assistant; Lorraine Hook, office assistant; and Nelda Kent, Historical Commission archivist.

Not continuing in the new structure are the following from the Arizona State Mission Board: Don Cartwright, president, and Nathan Pillow, director of church evangelism, who are both taking early retirement; and Jerry Jones, director of church planting/ethnic, who is retiring. Ruth Wood, church growth consultant with the Arizona Church Growth Board, will take early retirement, and Kerry Wainwright, Church Growth Board office manager/program assistant, chose not to apply for a position with the new organization.

Under the dissolution agreements of the two boards, all employees were described as being terminated, since the organizations are ceasing to exist, even though many will join the new convention staff team.

The Church Growth Board will provide severance of about $84,214 for its eight employees, which includes the four Baptist Student Ministries directors. The Arizona State Mission Board will provide severance of about $192,800 for eight employees.

    About the Author

  • Elizabeth Young