Explainer: EDT transitions, special meetings & more

May 4, 2021

A special meeting of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina has been called for 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 22, at Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem to elect an individual to serve as the next executive director-treasurer (EDT) of the state convention.

The process for electing an executive director-treasurer is addressed in the state convention’s articles and bylaws.

EDT transitions are significant events for the state convention and happen infrequently. Since 1932, just eight men have served in the office. Since 1984, only three men have occupied the position.

Following are some questions and answers about EDTs, the search process and how convention officials arrived at the point of electing a new leader.

What are the duties of the executive director-treasurer?
The executive director-treasurer serves as the chief executive officer of the convention, as well as a spiritual leader who provides statewide guidance and inspiration. The EDT also serves as the chief professional adviser of the convention, the board of directors and convention committees. The EDT oversees the day-to-day operations of the convention by planning, coordinating and supervising convention ministries, programs, budget and staff.

How long is the executive director-treasurer’s term of service?
Upon election, the executive director-treasurer holds office for an indefinite period of time until his death, retirement or resignation. The EDT serves at the pleasure of the board of directors and may be terminated by a majority vote of the board in accordance with criteria set forth in the convention bylaws.

What is the process for electing an executive director-treasurer?
An executive director-treasurer must be elected at an annual meeting or special meeting of the convention, based upon a nomination by the board of directors. Bylaws also permit additional nominations to be made from the floor of the convention. The person receiving the majority of votes cast shall be declared elected.

Why was a special meeting called to elect a new executive director-treasurer?
Convention bylaws stipulate that the executive director-treasurer must be elected at an annual meeting or a special meeting of the convention.

What is a special meeting?
Special meetings are unscheduled meetings that are called from time to time for a specific purpose. Agendas for special meetings are set by the meeting notice. Special meetings usually address matters that need immediate attention or need more time and discussion than can be handled during regularly scheduled board meetings or annual meetings.

How are special meetings scheduled?
Convention bylaws stipulate that a special meeting of the convention may be called by a vote of two-thirds of registered messengers present when a vote is taken at an annual meeting or by a vote of the majority of members of the board of directors present when a vote is taken. Notices of special convention meetings must appear in an issue of the Biblical Recorder with a publication date more than 30 days prior to the meeting and on the convention’s website at least 35 days prior to the meeting.

Who elects the executive director-treasurer?
Messengers who have been duly elected by churches cooperating with the Baptist state convention and who are duly registered and in attendance at the annual meeting or special meeting are eligible to cast votes for the executive director-treasurer. The number of messengers from any cooperating church is determined based on church membership and Cooperative Program giving, in accordance with stipulations set forth in the convention’s articles and bylaws.

How do messengers register for the special meeting?
After being elected as messengers according to their local church’s process, messengers should register for the special meeting online at ncspecialmeeting.org/register. Messengers will need their church’s ID and PIN numbers, which have been sent to churches via email and first-class mail. Each messenger should use a unique email address to register. Upon registration, messengers will receive a ticket by email, which they should bring with them to check-in on the day of the meeting. Visitors and guests wishing to attend should also register online. However, due to space limitations and health and safety protocols that will be in place, visitors are encouraged to watch the special meeting through the livestream that will be available.

How did the executive director-treasurer position become vacant?
The position became vacant when longtime EDT Milton A. Hollifield Jr. retired on Feb. 28, 2021. Hollifield served as executive director-treasurer for nearly 15 years after he was elected during a special convention meeting in April 2006.

Who is currently overseeing the work of the state convention?
Convention bylaws stipulate that the state convention’s board of directors shall elect an interim executive director-treasurer in the event that the permanent position becomes vacant. The interim EDT serves until the permanent EDT is elected. The board elected longtime state convention staff member Brian Upshaw as the interim EDT during a meeting held Feb. 16, and he began serving March 1.

How was the search for a new EDT conducted?
After Milton Hollifield announced his plans to retire, then board of director’s president Melanie Wallace named a nine-member search committee in July 2020 to recommend an EDT candidate to the board of directors. Following eight months of work, the committee announced on March 29 that it was recommending Todd Unzicker to the board as its EDT candidate. In conjunction with the committee’s announcement and in accordance with convention bylaws, convention officials called a special board meeting for April 16 to consider the committee’s recommendations. During the meeting, the board voted to name Unzicker as its nominee to become the next EDT. During the meeting, the board also voted to call a special meeting of the convention for 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 22, at Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem to consider Unzicker’s nomination. A complete timeline and overview of the search process is available at ncbaptist.org/edtsearch.

Who served on the EDT search committee?
The committee was chaired by Noah Crowe, pastor of Peachtree Memorial Baptist Church in Murphy. Allan Blume, former editor of the Biblical Recorder, served as vice chairman. Other members included: Quintell Hill, pastor of Multiply Community Church in Monroe; Andrew Hopper, lead pastor of Mercy Hill Church in Greensboro; Jarrod Scott, pastor of Green Pines Baptist Church in Knightdale; Michael Sowers, former state convention staff member and pastor of First Baptist Church of Buies Creek; Jennifer Thoppil, member of Salem Baptist Church in Dobson; Don Warren, member of Parkwood Baptist Church in Gastonia; and Beth Wooten, a pastor’s wife and member of Beulaville Baptist Church in Beulaville. More information about the search team is available at ncbaptist.org/edtsearch.

Who is being nominated as the new EDT?
Todd Unzicker, chief of staff at The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, is the board of directors’ nominee to become the next executive director-treasurer. Unzicker has worked closely with the Summit’s lead pastor, J.D. Greear, during Greear’s current tenure as president of the Southern Baptist Convention. Prior to his current role as chief of staff, Unzicker led the Summit’s missions and church planting efforts as pastor of sending, and he also served as a campus pastor. Before joining the Summit’s staff in 2012, Unzicker was director of missions at the Holmes Baptist Association in Bonifay, Florida, and he served two years as a missionary in Central America. A native of the Washington, D.C., area, Unzicker is a graduate of the Baptist Bible College of Florida and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Prior to his salvation and call to ministry, Unzicker worked as a sports reporter covering the nationally ranked University of Georgia football program. He and his wife, Ashley, have three children. More information on Unzicker is available at ncspecialmeeting.org/nominee.

by BSCNC Communications
  /  Baptist State Convention of North Carolina

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