The executive board of the Tennessee Baptist Convention voted unanimously May 17 to accept a $9 million offer for the convention’s office space in Brentwood, Tenn.
The executive board has been in its present location since 1969. The two buildings that comprise the Baptist Center, along with 5.25 acres, will be purchased by Franklin Land Associates LLC.
Rich Wallace, an attorney and member of First Baptist Church in Sevierville, brought the recommendation to sell the property from the administrative committee which he chairs. The executive board began a feasibility study of selling the property in 1996, Wallace said.
Since 1989 when the conference center was added, the number of full-time employees has dropped from 135 to 105. Eighty-eight of those positions are assigned to the Brentwood office and about half of them work with churches in the field, board members were told.
The decision, said TBC executive director Randy Davis, did not stem from financial difficulties, because Tennessee Baptists are giving faithfully. “We are on solid financial footing, thanks to prudent decisions such as the one made by our executive board today,” he said.
While stressing that the Executive Board does not know where it is going on a temporary or permanent basis, “We know why we are going,” Davis said. “We understand very clearly why we are selling the building. Stewardship and strategy have driven this decision.”
If the sale closes, Davis said, the executive board “will become a more efficient missions organization.”
“We will be able to put more Great Commission Cooperative Program dollars into better serving our churches, thus reaching more Tennesseans with the gospel of Jesus Christ,” he said.
- Wilkey is editor of the (Tennessee) Baptist & Reflector newspaper.