Board Elects Officers, Conducts Business at December Meeting

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Julia Bell

Julia Bell is a freelance writer who loves to put words to the story of how God is at work. She also teaches music in her church's weekday preschool program, and loves a good day trip to The Biltmore Estate. Julia lives in Lexington with her husband Ed, and two children.

Board MeetingThe Executive Board of the South Carolina Baptist Convention met Thursday, December 7, at the convention building in Columbia. The year-end meeting included electing 2018 officers, committee reporting, and conducting other business.

Chairman John Goudelock welcomed incoming South Carolina Baptist Convention President, Marshall Blalock, and new board members. The board elected the following 2018 officers:  Tommy Kelly as chairman; Randy Kirby as vice chairman; and, Cindy Sanders as Secretary.

Dr. Gary Hollingsworth, executive director-treasurer, recognized members rotating off of the board during the meeting. “Out of 300,000 active South Carolina Baptist church members, 72 of you are selected and asked to serve in this role, and you treat it as an honor as you serve,” he said.

In conjunction with the Operations Committee report, Hollingsworth updated members on the progress of the sale of White Oak Conference Center (WOCC) in Winnsboro. As reported during the state convention in November, the executive board has given approval to Hollingsworth to continue discussions with a potential buyer for the property. Hollingsworth said those discussions and plans continue to progress, and the possibility exists for a closing to happen faster than expected.

“God is at work in this, and I will keep you up-to-date with everything I know as we move along,” he said.

In other news, the Priority Advance Committee Chair Jim Schiele updated the board on reports from convention staff leading in the four priority areas of evangelism, missions mobilization, church planting, and church strengthening. The committee heard about the information gathered at 5 ADVANCE lunches hosted by the Ministry Priority leadership team in the fall of 2017. During these lunches pastors were asked questions about what the barriers in their specific area churches were to Serving, Sending, Sharing, and Starting.  The top 3 barriers in each area were identified and the Ministry Priority leadership team has been meeting to determine how to best assist churches in addressing these barriers so that they can be better equipped to fulfill the great commission. Mark A., associate executive director and chief strategist, shared with the committee, “As we’ve listened to multiple hundreds of leaders across our state share with us the challenges they are facing day-in and day-out in creating cultures which are “outward” focused, the same barriers keep coming up over and over.”

Schiele went on to explain how the leadership team will differentiate between terms and indicators for these areas of work moving forward – including measuring and tracking progress in goals, objectives, and key result areas. Mark reported, “As of today, our four ministry priority teams have completed almost all of their 2017 objectives.” He added, “Though on many fronts, this year has been a rebuilding year, our teams have worked diligently in 2017 and are poised to see (we pray, by faith) some very exciting outcomes in 2018 related to Kingdom Advance in South Carolina Baptist churches.” The committee pledged to continue working closely with staff as they are committed to assist pastors and churches until every life is saturated and transformed by the hope of the gospel.

Talmadge Tobias, chair of the Budget, Finance, and Audit Committee, reported on the audit subcommittee responsible for receiving reports from convention ministry partners. An outside auditing firm showed clean reports and no deficiencies for completed audits among those institutions. Tobias also reported that projections indicate giving will support the committee’s decisions related to the budget.

During his report, Hollingsworth affirmed the board’s work of the previous year and the importance of the December meeting. He presented eight new convention staff core values prayerfully developed by the convention’s leadership team, and further discussed in small groups and during staff forum before being finalized. Hollingsworth said his intent was to present the values to the board in December and delve deeper into content during the coming year.

The seven core values are Spiritual Vitality, Authentic Relationships, Empowered Teams, Accountable Integrity, Innovative Excellence, Kingdom Partnerships, and Global Gospel Advance. The named values represent the basic points from which convention staff will be working, including determining ministry approaches moving forward.

“We are in a perfect place with our mission statement, purpose statement, and, now, our core values. I want to be a part of things that we can do and that only God can do. God is putting on our heart a clearly defined strategy of things we can do, and I trust God with the results,” Hollingsworth said to board members.

Berea Church PresentationIt was announced that a ministry highlight from one of the four priority focus areas of convention work will be added to board meetings, with the first being from an international church plant in Columbia. SCBC Missions Mobilization Team Leader Tim Rice introduced the pastor and ministry leaders from Berea Mission Church which, he noted, was the first Burmese mission church in the United States. The church presented Hollingsworth with a plaque of appreciation for Berea Church’s 10th anniversary and its partnership with the convention, Columbia First Church, and Columbia Metro Baptist Association.

“On behalf of our South Carolina Baptist family, I receive this with humility and gratitude for our partnership in the gospel. May God bless you with ten more years and beyond,” said Hollingsworth.

Convention staff members celebrating milestone years of service were also recognized during the meeting. Kristina Bradley, Leisa Butler, and Lee Clamp have served for five years on staff. Kristy Adams, Ron Barker, Barbara Husman, and Denny Newman have completed 10 years of service. Those having served 15 years included Kendal Danford, John Pitzer, and Steve Rohrlack. Lee Douglas was recognized for completing 35 years of service at the convention.

The board will convene again in April at the convention building.

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