For over a year I have been in close communications with our executive leadership team and with our Administration Committee working on a reinvention of our convention with a special focus upon how the future ministry might be more effective and efficient. This reinvention is built upon a commitment to: global missions support, Georgia church services, Georgia church planting partnerships and Georgia community evangelism and missions. There were eight objectives that were identified through the process:
1. Ministry that compels the next generation to be engaged.
2. Ministry that strengthens churches and church leaders.
3. Ministry that puts more resources into connecting children and teens.
4. Ministry that results in more Gospel proclamation and salvation.
5. Ministry that brings ethnic churches and leaders into leadership and full participation.
6. Ministry that directly supports the priorities of the 5 Smooth Stones.
7. Ministry that mobilizes people to personally engage in missions.
8. Ministry that compels people to want to give more financially.
In this reinvention, we will change our “doing business as” name from the Georgia Baptist Convention to the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, which better represents the fact that we are a missionary sending agency in Georgia. Our corporate name, “The Executive Committee of the Baptist Convention of the State of Georgia,” will not change. “Georgia Baptist Convention” will remain the name used for our two-day meeting each November.
Interestingly enough the new name “Georgia Baptist Mission Board” is not new. In the May 15, 1919 issue, The Christian Index reported that in 1879 a resolution was passed, changing the name from the “State Mission Committee” to the “Board of Missions of the State of Georgia.”
Functionally, this reinvention will include “field based personnel” with employees and practitioners who will work closer to the churches across the state resulting in a reduced need for building space. The deployment of personnel throughout Georgia reduces the need for the large capacity that we currently have in our Missions and Ministry Center. We have rejoiced all year over the generosity of the Georgia Baptist Health Care Ministry Foundation that paid off our remaining indebtedness on the building last February. If God provides a buyer willing to pay an appropriate amount for the building and property, the proceeds could be used to purchase a smaller facility to house administrative staff and the remainder could be invested with the Georgia Baptist Foundation to provide financial endowment for future ministry.
The reinvention includes changes to the organizational structure in order to meet the objectives focusing upon practicality that makes sense, avoiding duplication in ministries, strengthening successful ministries, partnering with churches and associations in successful events, and planting campus churches in Georgia Baptist properties across the state.
Reinvention has actually already been initiated with the sharing of resources between The Christian Index and the Communications Ministry area. The Christian Index will now function as a ministry without a board of trustees that was dissolved at their recent meeting. The Administration Committee will have four scheduled meetings a year rather than ten and the Executive Committee will continue to have four meetings each year. If the Missions and Ministry Center is sold, the Executive Committee meetings will be held in churches throughout the state.
A new operations schedule for the Missions and Ministry Center will include expanded office hours Monday-Thursday with the center being closed on Friday. A “call center” will receive and refer calls to staff on Fridays as the staff works remotely. This is a practical change that will make more effective use of our resources.
I am very appreciative of the many positive responses that we have had to this reinvention of our work. I am excited about not just the reinvention, but the revitalization of our relationships across the state as we work even closer among our churches and associations. While some of the reinvention processes are already taking place, the official start-up of the reinvention is January 1, 2016 and will be completed by December 31, 2017.