Thursday, May 20, 2010

Doug's Thoughts on the SBC GCRTF Part 4

While there have been comments recently downplaying whether anyone cares what bloggers think, I'm going to chime in with my own opinion about one of the current issues we're facing in Southern Baptist life. Now, this is a long thought, so it's going to be spread across 5 blog posts. There's a “Contact” link at the top of the blog. Email me if you want the whole thing in one document. Or click here for a PDF (I hope!)

    1. Peg the compensation of all executives for any entity receiving CP funds to the pay scale of IMB/NAMB missionaries. Vice-Presidents would be pegged to 1.5x the salary and Presidents 2.5x the salary of IMB/NAMB Missionaries. Use a publicized average salary level to derive this number. This would also apply to administrative/executive positions at seminaries receiving CP funds. Benefits and cost of living/locality pay should match what missionaries receive. (As a side note: I think the salary information would be pertinent to each church as they determine compensation for ministry staff.) This will require action by all Boards.

    2. Require, as part of their annual reporting, accounting of administrative expenses from entities, including satellite management locations that exist for administration. For example, as NAMB or IMB operate regional management offices (which IMB does, I'm not sure about NAMB), how much is spent on staff in those offices? Are these individuals counted in missionary count totals? Are they actually doing missionary work as their primary role or are they primarily administration, with the hope that they do some evangelism on the side? What costs are incurred for travel and provision when these people travel to ministry locations? This will require action by all Boards.

    3. Return to encouraging furloughing/stateside assignment missionaries to speak individually at small churches, rather than pushing the giant conferences in large locations. Reconnect the missionary force with the churches that support them. Yes, the IMB/NAMB appoint those sent by their churches, but they are also sent on behalf of all of us. Meet the church members where they are: their home churches, with attendances under 100, so that we see missionaries. This will require action by the IMB/NAMB.

    4. Mandate public disclosure of compensation agreements with all CP executives: how much time is to be spent speaking at conferences or traveling; compensation for book-writing; time spent doing things that are not what their job should entail. (For example, no criticism should go the IMB President for being at every missionary appointment service, speaking at seminaries to recruit, etc, although one could criticize if the IMB President spoke on several “Bible Study Cruises.”) Mandate a balance between conference and mega-church visits and seeking ordinary churches to speak to, including avoiding duplication of church visits in a given time span (for example, why should any one church be visited by the Presidents of every CP agency inside of 2 years, when there are other churches that have never seen anyone paid by the national portion of the CP?) Reduce compensation from CP agencies in accordance with outside income: furloughing missionaries receive no compensation if they receive outside income while stateside. This will require action by all Boards.

    5. Address concerns about dominance of national annual meeting and the resulting board/committee nominations by adjusting the messenger system. Here are some thoughts (not all are good or workable):

      1. Establish satellite voting locations. If major corporations can hold shareholder votes via the internet, why can the SBC not? My experience at the annual meeting was that over half of the reports brought were made of pre-fabricated video anyway. Stream it, publicize intended motions and move on. As it stands, all business is pre-cleared by the Committee on Order of Business, and anything brought up at the open microphones is either referred or ruled out of order. You can refer it from a distance, and you can rule it out of order from a distance.

      2. Require that no less than one-half of the Boards and Agencies Nominees come from churches that are in majority of size of SBC churches.

      3. Alternately, as each board is typically allocated to receive a certain number of nominees from specific states, allow the state meeting to elect the state's representatives to those boards. The Annual Meeting of the SBC could then elect any “at-large” roles, with the Nominating Committee paying an extra dose of attention to those churches not involved in a state convention.

      4. While this would be a major change, establish a two-level system of involvement in the SBC: Partner Churches and Participating Churches.

        1. Partner churches would:

          1. Be in agreement with the Current BF&M, whichever one that is (currently 2000, but how long do you give it?)

          2. Financial support of a minimum of either a designated percentage or a designated amount, such as either 5% of budget or $100,000. (Or more, or less)

          3. Commitment that SBC missions are the primary missions outlet for the church in funding and participation.

        2. Participating Churches would:

          1. Be in agreement with any edition of the BF&M.

          2. Provide any amount of financial support to the causes of the SBC.

          3. Hold SBC mission work at any level of priority in the church, from first place to an afterthought.

        3. Both types of churches would be allowed the appropriate number of messengers at the Annual Meeting based on the By-laws.

        4. However, only members of Partner Churches would be eligible for service on Boards and Agencies.

        5. Missionaries could be appointed from either type of church.

        6. If done in conjunction with the recommendation to split state/national funding, no church would be able to claim a status based on supporting a state convention.

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