A 12-member study group is expected to recommend in 2018 a new title, credentialing process and expectations of effectiveness for Southern Baptist directors of missions (DOMs).
The Southern Baptist Conference of Associational Leaders (SBCAL) appointed the group at its conference held June 11-12 in advance of the 2017 Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting in Phoenix. The team is charged with submitting a report at the SBCAL 2018 meeting in Dallas.
The changes are needed as the SBCAL works to better serve missional leadership needs across the SBC, SBCAL Executive Director Ray Gentry told Baptist Press. To see more about the lead roles Florida Baptists will be playing in this transition go here: http://gofbw.com/blog?id=1712
"We feel like it's time for a new name for the new century and the new demands upon us and the new opportunities before us," Gentry said. "In addition, a profile of associational effectiveness with competencies ... is even a bigger enchilada than the title.
"There really is no commonly accepted job description for a DOM," he said, "and so we want to come up with a profile with competencies for search committees and for purposes of coaching and helping new DOMs. We feel like that's going to be very, very important and very helpful to raise the credibility, and the profile and the effectiveness of DOMs."
The SBCAL has never had a process of credentialing for DOMs, Gentry said, pointing out the common practice of business associations in particular to have credentialing processes. A cross-section of respected Southern Baptist leaders named to the study team is intended to encourage widespread use and approval of any recommendations the SBCAL adopts from the study group, Gentry said.
"We have a cross-section to help us to really be attentive to all of the different demands and priorities that need to be addressed in 2017 and in the coming days," Gentry said. "Whenever this team reports, we wanted them to have the respect of whoever in Southern Baptist life will read the report. If we don't have buy-in from megachurch pastors, from state conventions and SBC entity heads, then it will be for naught."
Rick Wheeler, the lead missional strategist from the Jacksonville Baptist Association of the Florida Baptist Convention, will lead the team on which Gentry will also serve. Joining them are members Mike Carlisle, executive director, San Diego (Calif.) Southern Baptist Association; Paul Chitwood, executive director, Kentucky Baptist Convention; Josh Ellis, associate director, Union Baptist Association, Houston; Dale Fisher, executive director, Caldwell Baptist Association, Lenoir, N.C.; Steve Holt, state DOM, Tennessee Baptist Association; Jason Lowe, DOM, Pike Association of Southern Baptists, Pikeville, Ky.; Mark Millman, church planter strategist/DOM, Southern Wisconsin Baptist Association; Roger "Sing" Oldham, vice president for convention communications and relations, SBC Executive Committee, Nashville; Ted Traylor, senior pastor, Olive Baptist Church, Pensacola, Fla.; and Port Wilburn, executive DOM, San Francisco (Calif.) Peninsula Baptist Association.
In other business during the meeting at the Westin Phoenix Downtown hotel, the SBCAL amended its constitution to allow non-Southern Baptist but like-minded missional leaders to join as non-voting members, approved a 2017-2018 budget of $62,000, appointed regional leadership team coordinators, and approved a 2017-2018 executive team of officers, and denominational and associational members.
In addition to Gentry, officers are chairman Tim Pruitt, associational missionary, Gila Valley Baptist Association, Arizona Southern Baptist Convention; vice chairman David Stokes, DOM, Central Kentucky Network of Baptists, Kentucky Baptist Convention; recording secretary Philip Price, executive director, Jackson County Baptist Association, Mississippi Baptist Convention Board, and nominating chairman Preston Collins, executive DOM, Union Baptist Association, Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.
Newly appointed associational members are Mitch Martin, executive DOM, Mid-South Baptist Association, Memphis, Tenn.; Sean McMahon, executive director, Florida Baptist Association, Tallahassee, Fla.; Robby Smith, DOM, Catawba River Baptist Association, Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, and Mark Snowden, director of missional leadership, Cincinnati (Ohio) Area Baptist Association. They join returning associational members Ronny Carroll, Bob Dean, Mike Pennington, Pruitt, Stokes, Deryl Lackey, Vince Smith and Terry Stockman.
Denominational members are Steve Bass, representing the North American Mission Board; Kristy Carr, Woman's Missionary Union; Mark Dance, LifeWay Christian Resources; Tim Head, GuideStone; Oldham, SBC Executive Committee, and Terry Sharp, International Mission Board.
Regional leadership team coordinators, designed to correlate with NAMB's ministry regions in the U.S., are Keith Lawrence, Northeast, DOM, Maine Baptist Association; Millman, Midwest; Bobby Braswell, Southeast, associational missionary, Middle Baptist Association, Georgia Baptist Mission Board; Charles Cruce, Southwest, DOM/treasurer, Tulsa (Okla.) Metro Baptist Network; and Lackey, West, DOM, Inland Empire Baptist Association, Ontario, Calif.
Worship, roundtable discussions, workshops, a banquet, a ministry fair and networking rounded out the two-day event.
Robby Gallaty, pastor of Long Hollow Baptist church in Hendersonville, Tenn., preached the June 11 morning sermon. Former SBC president Johnny Hunt, pastor of First Baptist Church, Woodstock, Ga., was the banquet speaker.
Gallaty's message from Matthew 28:19-20 urged the group to help churches in their associations be more focused on discipleship than any other function of church life. "Could it be," Gallaty said, speaking about the steady decline of the Southern Baptist Convention, "that for many years we have taught people to share their faith, but not to share their life?"
At the banquet, Hunt spoke from the book of Titus, saying the letter is all about leadership. Hunt said research shows there are around 400 leaders whose stories are told in the Bible. Of that 400, only 80 "finished well," he said. He listed as common markers of success humility, intimacy with God, obedience, faith and an ability to receive counsel.
Diana Chandler is Baptist Press' general assignment writer/editor. With reporting by Marc Ira Hooks, associate DOM and director of communications for the Collin Baptist Association of the Baptist General Convention of Texas. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists' concerns nationally and globally.