The amount of money saved by the SBC due to the restructuring of its agencies will be substantial, said Ted Warren, ITF member spokesman and chief operating officer of the Baptist Sunday School Board. During the 1996-97 SBC fiscal year (October through September), Warren said the ITF estimates that a savings of $289,000 will be achieved, mostly from entities being dissolved or modified.
Under the restructuring plan, the Education Commission would be dissolved and functions of the Historical Commission, Stewardship Commission, and Southern Baptist Foundation would be assigned to other agencies.
The "Covenant for a New Century" restructuring plan, approved by messengers at the 1995 SBC annual meeting in Atlanta, calls for the merging, consolidation and/or dissolution of several entities and ultimately reducing the number from 19 to 12. A second vote on SBC Bylaw 15, which lists individually the various agencies, is required and will come at the 1996 annual meeting in June in New Orleans.
During fiscal 1997-98, Warren said the ITF expects a savings of $1.1 million. In addition there should be several million dollars saved in the "efficiencies gained in the revamped structure." Warren cited the creation of a single North American Mission Board with the merger of the Home Mission Board, the Radio and TV Commission and the Brotherhood Commission.
Thanks to this savings the SBC should recoup the full cost of the management consultant, the expenses of the ITF, and the legal costs involved in the restructuring, all within the first fiscal year after the changes are complete, said Warren. "More savings are expected but that is not our primary objective," Warren said. "It is to increase effectiveness in how we assist churches and do mission work here and abroad."
The Implementation Task Force, a 10-member group approved by the SBC Executive Committee last September to oversee the restructuring process, is working with an Atlanta based firm that specializes in organizational change. The firm, Coopers and Lybrand, has assisted hundreds of businesses of various sizes, including other Baptist entities, and received good recommendations, Warren said. The firm will have Southern Baptists on its team and plans to give the SBC "high priority" by making "national level consultants and national managers" available.
"We are not employing Coopers and Lybrand for them to tell us what to do, but to assist us in achieving all the effectiveness we envision," Warren said.
The process toward restructuring, Warren said, will be specially designed to bring "considerable input" from the "stakeholders," and especially those entities involved in merger and dissolution. But it also will involve state conventions because they have cooperative working agreements with SBC agencies.
The interaction with the agencies has been on-going for several months and the Coopers and Lybrand team has been gathering data, performing analysis with the goal of producing a high level financial review for the ITF's report to the New Orleans meeting in June. In the change management process, Warren said, the task force envisions multiple interviews with personnel associated with the NAMB, including focus groups, leading to a period of analysis and consolidation.
The ITF, in its June report, will identify key issues and provide a transition plan (what needs to be done, by whom and when), Warren said. However, Warren said only so much can be done prior to the final approval of Bylaw 15 at the New Orleans meeting.
The Depth and Breadth of the ITF Resumes
Robert Reccord, chairman
Current service: Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church, Norfolk, Va.; SBC Executive Committee. Resume includes: Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Chemecto, Inc., while a bivocational minister with the Michigan State Convention; Director of Leadership Training, Evangelism Explosion; Director of Witness Training, Home Mission Board.
Current service: Pastor, First Baptist Church, North Spartanburg, S.C. Resume includes: Trustee Chairman, SBC Radio and Television Commission; President, South Carolina Pastors' Conference; Founder and President, Citizens for Decency, Columbia, S.C.; Associate Pastor, Second Baptist Church, Houston, Tex.; Board Member, Childhood Evangelism Fellowship, Spartanburg, S.C.
Current service: International Evangelist. Resume includes: Second Vice President, SBC and Baptist General Convention of Texas; Pastor, largest Hispanic Baptist church in SBC; Interpreter for Billy Graham; Director, Home Mission Board; President, Mexican Baptist Convention of Texas; General Council, Baptist World Alliance.
Current service: Retired Executive Director-Treasurer, California Southern Baptist Convention. Resume includes: Vice President, Evangelism, Home Mission Board; Helped plan and implement long range planning process for HMB; Director of Evangelism, Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma; Pastor, Eastwood Baptist Church, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Current service: Homemaker; Conference Speaker and Seminar Leader throughout the South. Resume includes: Chairman, Women's Conference, Two Rivers Baptist Church, Nashville, Tenn.; Junior High English Teacher; Founder and President of F.L.A.R.E., Inc., a Christian family advocacy organization for women; President, Baptist Women, Bellevue Baptist Church, Memphis, Tenn.
Current service: Editor, The Baptist Banner; SBC Executive Committee. Resume includes: Retired General, U.S. Air Force with specialties in personnel, mobilization and change implementation; Staff Member, National Security Council, White House; Wing Commander; Pilot in Vietnam with 189 combat missions; Director, Far East Region, Office of the Secretary of Defense.
Current service: Attorney; SBC Executive Committee. Resume includes: Court appointed mediator in many complex, multi-party cases; special focus on commercial litigation and personal injury/plaintiff; Decorated Korean War veteran, fighting at Anchon and the Chosin Reservoir; Deacon, Second Baptist Church, Houston, Tex.; Chairman, SBC Nominating Committee.
Current service: Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Baptist Sunday School Board. Resume includes: President, Grace Drilling Company; Executive Vice President, Texas Oil and Gas Production Company; Petroleum Engineer, Gulf Oil Company; Experienced at reorganization and restructuring; M.B.A., Harvard.
Current service: Chairman of the Board, First National Bank, Athens, Tex.; Board of Directors, Compass Bank, Dallas, Tex., and Snyder National Bank, Snyder, Tex.; Trustee, Virginia L. Murchison Administrative Trust. Resume includes: Trustee, SBC Annuity Board; Trustee, Baylor University; Mayor Pro-Tem, Wichita Falls, Tex.
Current service: Pastor, First Baptist Church, Perry, Ga.; President, Georgia Baptist Convention; Georgia Baptist Program and Structure Committee; SBC Executive Committee. Resume includes: Speaker, SBC Pastor's Conference; Chairman, Georgia Baptist Convention Radio and Television Committee; Twenty years service to local Baptist associations.
Prayer at the Heart of Task Force
"God laid on my heart to not start with the organizational stuff but to start with the heart first," said ITF Chairman Robert Reccord. He indicated the Implementation Task Force doesn't make a move unless it is bathed in prayer.
"We begin all of our meetings in a season of prayer, not simply a perfunctory, 'Lord, bless this meeting,'" Reccord said. "We spend time in focused prayer. We pray not only for our work but for those … who will go through this transition."
The task force holds forth no pretense of just sounding spiritual. "We pray because the people on the task force, while incredibly confident in their makeup, are wonderfully and spiritually sensitive in their heart."
Before the task force had their first meeting, Reccord asked that task force members read two books: The Coming Revival by Bill Bright and Broken in the Right Place by Alan Nelson.
A key essential to spiritual leadership is brokenness, Reccord said. "Nelson's book talks about making sure your heart is right with God before you do anything on the leadership level." Bright's book details how, through prayer and fasting, the body of Christ is enabled as "a conduit through which God can work," Reccord said.
Reccord called together Southern Baptist agency heads, state executive directors, seminary presidents and members of the Executive Committee for a day of prayer and fasting at the close of the Executive Committee's latest meeting. Singer/songwriter Steve Green rearranged his schedule to open the assembly, and then the "rest of the day dealt with Bible study and prayer for a fresh leading from God in our lives and convictions," said Reccord. He said the need for brokenness was emphasized so the task force would remain focused on God's agenda and not man's desire.