SBC Life Articles

‘Covenant for a New Century’ Task Force Focuses on Transition

The new task force named to facilitate the SBC's move into the 21st century will "analyze, study and take actions necessary" for an orderly and timely transition. The implementation task force has six areas of responsibility:

Legal issues "necessary for timely implementation," such as the dissolution or revision of various entities' charters.

Financial issues, such as cost analysis for relocating functions, including various personnel, of the RTVC, in Fort Worth, TX, and Brotherhood Commission, in Memphis, TN, to the North American Mission Board, to be based in Atlanta.

Physical assets, with the task force to "develop and propose for consideration by elected trustees a transition plan for the physical assets, including land, buildings, furnishings and fixtures" of the SBC entities being discontinued.

Financial assets, entailing task force recommendations to trustees for handling discontinued entities' operating capital, endowment funds, investments and accounts receivable and payable.

Personnel issues, with the task force to recommend "a compensation plan for employees with long tenure whose positions are discontinued;" a plan "for paying insurance premiums for retirees of entities being discontinued;" and "career transition support for employees whose jobs are being terminated."

Ministry assignments, with the task force to monitor the "implementation of ministry assignments according to the Covenant for a New Century" and review any needed changes in ministry assignment wording or responsibilities not clearly assigned in the study committee report.

The SBC's Executive Committee will "instruct (the task force) regarding any specific actions it deems appropriate" and receive task force reports during the committee's regular February, June and September meetings. The Executive Committee, in turn, will present implementation progress reports at the SBC's annual meetings.

The task force can receive counsel from the Program and Structure Study Committee in interpreting the Covenant for a New Century and assistance from any other Southern Baptists, professional groups or individual specialists in implementing the restructuring, according to the Executive Committee action.

The "Covenant" transition includes: reducing the number of SBC entities from 19 to 12, eliminating the Historical, Stewardship and Education commissions and assigning much of their work to other entities — and creating a new North American Mission Board, encompassing the work of the current Home Mission Board, Radio and Television Commission and Brotherhood Commission. The SBC approved the restructuring by a 9,590-to-5,357 ballot vote during the first day of its June 20-22, 1995, sessions in Atlanta.

The 10-member implementation task force will consist of four members of the Executive Committee and six at-large members. Named as its chairman: Robert Reccord, pastor of First Baptist Church, Norfolk, VA, and a member of the Executive Committee.

Other task force members named from the Executive Committee are T.C. Pinckney, a retired Air Force general from Alexandria, VA; John O. Yarbrough, senior pastor, First Baptist Church, Perry, GA, and president of the Georgia Baptist Convention; and Joe H. Reynolds, a Houston attorney.

At-large members of the task force will be Ted Warren, of Nashville, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Baptist Sunday School Board; C.B. "Bill" Hogue, retired executive director-treasurer, California Southern Baptist Convention, who made a motion during the 1993 SBC annual meeting that prompted the Executive Committee's restructuring study; Rudy A. Hernandez, of Grand Prairie, TX, president of the Southern Baptist Hispanic Ministers' Conference; Sarah Maddox, of Nashville, a homemaker, conference speaker and women's ministry consultant; Michael Hamlet, pastor, First Baptist Church, North Spartanburg, SC; and Don Wills, a Dallas businessman.



Henry Looks at Race Relations, Women's Roles, SBC-state Ties

Racial reconciliation, women's involvement in the SBC and relations between the SBC and state Baptist conventions will be key issues for the remainder of his term, says SBC President Jim Henry. He says:

He will explore ways within the SBC to put "dollars, programs and opportunities to work in behalf of minorities," noting, however, it will not be done in any quota-like manner.

And he will meet with leaders of African-American Baptist denominations for dialogue and to explore "ways to cooperate in reaching our nation for Christ."

He will name a woman to chair an upcoming SBC committee and add other women as participants in the 1996 annual meeting in New Orleans.

He is concerned by a dwindling regard by some in the SBC and some in state conventions for each other's sphere of work: "Each view, if narrowly held to, has one ultimate result: We will end up with neither. The truth of the matter is we need each other. We must avoid this independent spirit."

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