In 2017, the South Carolina Baptist Convention Executive Board committees will be organized in a way that provides seamless work with the state convention staff toward accomplishing the priorities of evangelism, missions mobilization, church revitalization, and church planting.
Approval of the reorganization came at the board’s Dec. 8 meeting in Columbia. The new organization alongside convention staff leadership looks like this:
- The Priority Advancement Team, chaired by Jim Schiele, will work alongside Mark A. (last name withheld because Mark A. formerly served as an international missionary), associate executive director and chief strategist. Mark A. leads the convention’s Advance Team, which also includes team leaders Lee Clamp, evangelism; Jay Hardwick, church planting; Tim Rice, missions mobilization; and Steve Rohrlack, church strengthening and discipleship.
- The Budget, Finance & Audit Team, chaired by Talmadge Tobias, will work alongside Pam Carroll, chief financial officer.
- The Operations Team, which includes convention properties, chaired by Michael Sapp, will work alongside David Parks, who leads the convention’s operations team.
- The Partnership Team, which includes scholarships, chaired by Joe Willard, will work alongside Wayne Terry, who leads the convention’s prayer and partnerships area of work.
- The board’s Administrative Committee will no longer exist. Its responsibilities are now managed by the office of executive director-treasurer Gary Hollingsworth. Members of the Administrative Team will be assigned to new board teams.
- As part of the reorganization, chairmen of the board’s four teams will join with the Executive Board chairman to form a Board Advisor Council to the executive director-treasurer.
The board also heard from Hollingsworth, who announced a half-day prayer conference for convention staff members during the first week of January 2017, keeping with the convention’s ongoing catalysts of prayer and leadership development. He said the conference would be one of several during the year supplementing the staff’s weekly chapel time.
Hollingsworth also reported staff realignments with regard to the reorganization. Joe Youngblood will now be working with a new Legacy Project, serving interested churches that are near closing and helping find creative solutions like mergers, cooperatives with other churches, or even utilization of property for church planting. Jerry Sosebee will become director of the convention’s church strategies area of work, and Scott Shields will move from church planting to be associate director of the church strengthening team. James Nugent will become a statewide church planting strategist. There will also be a new hire in the area of strategy, utilizing existing funds and not requiring new funding.
In other news from the December meeting, the board:
— Elected its 2017 officers, including chairman John Goudelock, associate pastor, Living Water Baptist Church, Longs; vice chairman Tommy Kelly, pastor, Varnville First Baptist Church; and secretary Katie Whitaker, West Columbia First Baptist Church.
— Approved a recommendation from the Properties Committee to form a subcommittee that will allow for further non-binding investigation into the purchase of property adjacent to Camp McCall. A report will be brought back to appropriate board teams for discussion, and ultimately the full board will make a decision as to whether a purchase is made.
— Heard from the Budget, Finance & Audit (BF&A) Committee that “very good” financial audit reports have been received from the Baptist Foundation of South Carolina, Charleston Southern University and Anderson University. The annual audit for North Greenville University will be completed by early 2017. The firm of CapinCrouse, LLP provides the independent convention audits. The BF&A also approved a Properties Committee request of $15,000 for the roof of the Charleston-area Baptist Collegiate Ministry building.
— Heard from Hollingsworth the result of a board inquiry about the financial feasibility of maintaining the convention building in Columbia. Hollingsworth reported that although there is unused space as a result of downsizing from 112 to 70 staff members, over the past several years, factors of geography, strategic church service, ministry partnership, and financial stewardship don’t add up to the disposal of the convention building at the current time. The building, which was paid in full upon completion in 1994, is 82,760 square feet in size.
— Approved a request by outgoing board chairman Duane Greene to continue his service on a board subcommittee studying a Bylaws Committee request to define better what it means to be a leader within the convention and for a church to be in friendly cooperation with the convention. A report to the board is planned for April 2017. The convention Bylaws Committee had been approached by the convention’s Nominations Committee, which desired better clarification of the points as it proceeded with its annual work. Greene’s board term expired Dec. 31, 2016, which necessitated board approval of his continued subcommittee service through April.
— Heard that the board officers and committee chairmen had successfully completed Hollingsworth’s annual review.
— Heard from 2017 convention president Keith Shorter, who announced that “Unite” would be the theme of the annual meeting, Tuesday-Wednesday, Nov. 7-8 at Shandon Baptist Church, Columbia. Shorter said the word “implies that we have a reason to come together — to do kingdom work together.” He said he plans to take several pastor vision trips to witness lostness in the mission field and is working with the Order of Business Committee to plan a Tuesday afternoon of mission service in Columbia during the annual meeting.
— Recognized staff anniversaries: Suzanne Bachelor, Jerry Sosebee, Scott Shields, Joe Youngblood, five years; Ron Morgan and Judy Ramsey, 10 years; Janet Altman, 15 years; and Sue Harmon and Janet Clonts, 20 years.