The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s (BSCNC) board of directors gave unanimous approval to a pair of proposed changes to the convention’s bylaws that outlines criteria by which certain officials could be removed from leadership positions for instances of “serious misconduct.”
The approvals came during the board’s regularly scheduled fall meeting, held Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 23-24, at Caraway Conference Center near Asheboro. Both proposals will now go before messengers from N.C. Baptist churches attending the 2019 BSCNC Annual Meeting this November in Greensboro.
The proposed changes define “serious misconduct” as that which is “damaging to the people, mission or ministry of the Convention.” The changes also state that cases of misconduct may be “related or unrelated to the individual’s duties” with the convention.
The overarching goal of the proposed changes is “to provide an environment that protects and promotes the Christian witness of the cooperating churches and their members.”
The changes would apply to convention officers, members of the convention’s board of directors, appointees to special committees of the board, members of convention committees, and members of Fruitland Baptist Bible College’s board of directors. The proposed changes do not apply to state convention staff members because their conduct is governed by the policies outlined in the BSCNC’s employee handbook.
Board members also reviewed a draft of a written policy that outlines specific steps for addressing and acting upon allegations of misconduct. The policy defines procedures and guidelines for how complaints, investigations, hearings, appeals and dismissals would be handled.
Because the policy is dependent upon approval of the proposed bylaw amendments, convention legal counsel John Small advised the board to wait until after messengers consider the bylaw changes during the annual meeting in November before taking any action on the draft policy.
Based on Small’s recommendation, the board took no formal action on the policy proposal, but plans to take up the matter at its next regularly scheduled meeting in January 2020.
When messengers consider the proposed bylaw changes this November, it will mark the culmination of nearly a year’s worth of work by convention officials to address potential cases of misconduct.
In January, the board approved a motion that directed the BSCNC’s executive committee to develop a formal process by which a board member could be removed from office due to a “moral failure.” The executive committee later referred the matter to the convention’s Articles and Bylaws Committee.
The Articles and Bylaws Committee presented its recommendation to the executive committee in the form of the bylaw amendments which expanded the scope of the initial motion to include “serious misconduct” and additional positions beyond board members. The executive committee unanimously approved the proposals during its July meeting and sent the measure to the full board.
In other business, the board also approved a $30.5 million Cooperative Program budget proposal for 2020, elected new officers, affirmed a continuation of the strategy of “impacting lostness through disciple-making,” approved recommendations for Fruitland Baptist Bible College’s board of directors, and recognized outgoing board members. Board committees also elected new chairs. Summaries of each of these actions follow.
The board of directors unanimously approved a Cooperative Program budget proposal for 2020 totaling $30.5 million. The proposal calls for a 0.5% increase in the percentage allocation to missions and ministries of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), which would bring the state convention’s SBC allocation to 42% of the budget.
New officers elected
Melanie Wallace, member of Hephzibah Baptist Church in Wendell, was elected as board president, becoming the first woman elected as president of the board since 1993.
Matt Capps, senior pastor of Fairview Baptist Church in Apex, was elected as board vice president, and Kathy Bennett was re-elected as board secretary.
Following a report on the feedback received as part of the convention’s formal evaluation of the “impacting lostness through disciple-making” strategy, the board affirmed several next steps related to clarifying and expanding the strategy.
Those affirmations included acknowledgement that the strategy is far from being fully implemented and support to continue the strategy for five more years.
The strategy evaluation took place earlier this year and included an online survey, public forums and personal interviews. While 70% of survey respondents expressed positive sentiments about the strategy, the overall data revealed a disconnect between understanding the strategy and engaging in the strategy.
Brian Davis, BSCNC associate executive director-treasurer, described the strategy implementation and evaluation as a “refocusing” of the convention’s mission to assist the churches in their divinely appointment mission.
“The board is encouraged to use its voice to call North Carolina Baptists to utilize the numerous resources of the convention to assist the churches in the fulfillment of the Great Commission, which is the focus on the strategy,” Davis said.
New Fruitland board members
The board also approved the recommendation of three individuals to serve on the board of directors of Fruitland Baptist Bible College. They were:
- Perry Brindley, member of Pole Creek Baptist Church in Candler.
- Ken Jones, interim pastor of Friendship Baptist Church in Jefferson.
- Anton Roos, senior pastor of Lake Lure Baptist Church.
Board members honored
BSCNC Executive Director-Treasurer Milton A. Hollifield Jr. also recognized 20 outgoing board members who had completed their terms of service.
They were: Durrant Barr; Charlie Brackett; Kevin Buzzard; Ken Coley; Billy Cooper; Dac Croasmun; Steve Frazier; Dan Harrell; Lana Hathaway; Polly Heafner; David Herman; George Hunnicutt; Sandy Huntley; Mike Madaris; Sally Matheny; Chris Morgan; David Richardson; Marion Sykes Jr.; Curtis Williams; and Kevin York.
Board members Shawn Berryhill, Timmy Chavis, Jim Cohn, Matt Mills, Walter Overman and Keith Stephenson also completed their partial (unexpired) terms but are being nominated for additional full terms of service.
To nominate individuals to serve on the BSCNC board of directors or other places of service, visit ncbaptist.org/recommend.
Committee chairs elected
Board committees also elected new chairs for 2020. They were:
- Timmy Blair (Business Services Special Committee).
- Al James (Church Planting and Missions Partnerships Committee).
- Bob Jordan (Christian Life and Public Affairs Special Committee).
- Jon Morris (Communications Committee).
- Keith Stephenson (Convention Relations Special Committee).
- Tracy Smith (Evangelism and Discipleship Committee).
Committee chairs will begin their terms of service in 2020 and will also serve on the BSCNC’s executive committee.
The board’s next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 27-28, 2020, at Caraway Conference Center.