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State cooperative agreements study team develops survey

PERRY, Ga. (BP)–The group studying cooperative agreements between the Southern Baptist Convention’s Home Mission Board and state conventions/fellowships has developed a survey for gathering information and named a larger study team.

According to John O. Yarbrough, new chairman of the Implementation Task Force which created the five-member study group, a meeting was held March 6 at the HMB’s office in Alpharetta, Ga.

Cooperative agreements are documents which have guided HMB and state conventions in supporting mission work in the states.

The study is prompted by the restructuring of the SBC, called “Covenant for a New Century,” which reduces the number of convention agencies from 19 to 12, including a merger of the HMB, Radio and Television Commission and Brotherhood Commission into a new North American Mission Board.

“This study will provide the leadership of NAMB information and recommendations concerning the important cooperative agreements that define strategic partnerships between the present HMB and state convention/fellowships,” Yarbrough said. “The study will list strengths and challenges concerning the agreements as they presently are structured. Recommendations concerning effective ways for these partnerships to be structured by NAMB in the future will be provided.”

Yarbrough is senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Perry, Ga., and a member of the SBC Executive Committee which created the ITF to assist affected agencies in the restructuring process.

Yarbrough said the study group’s work will be given to the leadership of NAMB to use as a resource.

“Strategic partnerships between state convention/fellowships and NAMB will be important components in reaching North America with the gospel,” he said.

The survey/questionnaire will be mailed to key participants in the cooperative agreement process, state convention executives, mission strategists and denominational leaders. Their input will be analyzed by a larger study group of 13, consisting of six state executives, two pastors and five HMB staff members, Yarbrough said. He will chair the group. The SBC lists 41 state conventions and fellowships.
The report from that study group will be presented to the ITF which will pass the information to the new NAMB leadership as that agency is launched in June following the annual meeting of the SBC in Dallas.

Participants in the March 6 meeting at the HMB were Yarbrough; Carlisle Driggers, executive director of the South Carolina Baptist Convention; J. Robert White, executive director of the Georgia Baptist Convention; Ernest Kelley, interim HMB president; and Phillip B. Jones, director of the HMB research division.

Driggers and Yarbrough also are members of the incorporators, a 13-member committee searching for a nominee for NAMB president.

Yarbrough became chairman of the ITF March 4 following the resignation of Robert Reccord, senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Norfolk, Va., who is in the process of evaluation, and is the probable nominee, for NAMB president by the incorporators.

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