Published September 20, 2012
What it means
The reorganization organizes ministries and work groups that address specific components of the 5 Smooth Stones and provides church strengthening services. For more information visit the5smoothstones.com.
When does it take place?
When was the last major reorganization?
Are new jobs being added?
A very limited number of positions are being created but are within the current budget restraints. No additional funds are required to implement the reorganization.
The Georgia Baptist Convention has reorganized itself around a more aggressive strategy that is focused on reaching more of the unchurched through five core initiatives.
The new structure, which is the most far-reaching reorganization since March 1997, was shared with staff on Sept. 10 and then with Executive Committee members during their fall meeting on Sept. 11.
The reorganization flows out of a strategy called 5 Smooth Stones which was approved by messengers at the annual meeting in November. That new emphasis was the result of an exhaustive two-year study of the state convention by a GBC Study Task Force.
The core initiatives include spiritual renewal, kingdom generosity, church revitalization, church planting, and authentic evangelism.
“We are going to take the staff into a new alignment around the 5 Smooth Stones,” GBC Executive Director J. Robert White told employees in the called meeting. “Some of you will be moved into other work units, others will remain where you are, but all will be focused on these new objectives to reach the growing number of lost in Georgia.”
No staff reductions
White noted there would be no staff reductions and that the limited new positions would not require additional funding.
The state convention has already experienced several rounds of staff reductions due to the economic downturn, with staffing levels down 26 percent since 2008. As recently as late January, 16 employees and two vacant positions were removed from the chart. The Convention is currently operating at funding levels not seen since 1998.
But with a leaner, more focused staff, White is confident the state convention is poised to reach the goals of Mission Georgia 2020, which was created to reach the state’s estimated 8.1 million unchurched who will be living in Georgia in the next 8 years.The realignment calls for revised purpose and vision statements and the creation of work groups that address the specific components of the 5 Smooth Stones and provides church strengthening services, White explained.
In staffing areas:
■ Bobby Boswell was named assistant executive director in charge of day-to-day operations in White’s absence. In addition he will provide administrative leadership for all ministries.
■ Steve Parr will serve as vice president of staff coordination and development and will be responsible for coordinating all staff in fulfillment of the 5 Smooth Stones vision. He will also oversee five work groups – one for each of the stone themes – that will be integrated into the new structure. Parr previously served as evangelism vice president.
■ Kevin Smith has been named vice president of operations and will provide leadership for human resources and support ministries. He previously supervised the human resources area.
■ Toby Howell, as vice president of finance, will now manage all finances and budgets.
■ Larry Wynn will join the staff on October 1 as vice president of church revitalization and leadership. In that newly created position he will coordinate all ministry staffs to undergird revitalization. The longtime Georgia pastor has served as vice president of evangelism at the North American Mission Board since early 2011.
After his introduction Wynn affirmed his passion for Georgia and his strong sense of following God’s calling. “I have never lived anywhere else. I have never pastored anywhere else. My primary connections are in Georgia.
“I am looking forward to interacting with pastors and asking them, ‘How can we help you?’ I want to be used of the Lord to help churches break through those barriers that have hindered growth. It will be wonderful to see churches revitalized and experiencing new growth.”
He then thanked NAMB President Kevin Ezell for the ministry opportunity afforded him during the early days of his administration.
“I thoroughly enjoyed working with Kevin and I believe him to be the most godly, visionary man that I know. I believe he is taking NAMB in the right direction,” he added.
■ White said Wynn, whose ministry will be related to the church revitalization area of the 5 Smooth stones, will be responsible for designing a ministry to help the 72-78 percent of churches that are plateaued or are declining. Benny Pate and Jay Vineyard, who served in Leadership Ministries, have been assigned to work with Wynn in the new structure. Marcus Merritt, who currently serves in Evangelism Ministries, will join Church-Minister Relations.
■ In the area relating to Spiritual Renewal, Discipleship Ministries will be renamed Discipleship and Spiritual Renewal; Prayer and Spiritual Renewal will be assigned to Discipleship Ministries; and Marty Youngblood of Church-Minister Relations will join Discipleship Ministries.
■ In the Authentic Evangelism area, Sunday School/Open Groups will be re-named Sunday School/Small Groups to relate more effectively to the roughly one-fourth of GBC churches which use the small group approach by meeting in weekday small groups. A part-time small groups consultant will join the staff in the future.
■ Associational Missions & Disaster Relief will be renamed Associational Missions/Disaster Relief/Mobilization Ministries.
■ In that same area, Joel Southerland will become a specialist in Evangelism Ministries, replacing Steve Parr who previously served as vice president of evangelism, and Jonathan Jordan will move from Discipleship Ministries to Evangelism Ministries. In addition, Scott Smith, a vocational evangelist from Tennessee and a native Georgian, will join the staff as a consultant in evangelism.
■ In the Kingdom Generosity area, Cooperative Program/Stewardship, Cooperative Program Advancement and Endowment will begin planning to consolidate Church Administration ministries into their area within the next 12 months.
■ In another of the alignments around the Five Smooth Stones, the Convention will create an aggressive media strategy to bolster greater used of social media into the work of GBC staff and ministries.
A cluster of work groups around each of the five emphases will serve as a major linchpin of the new structure, White stated. All staff and ministries will be assigned to one of the groups most closely supporting their assignments.
“Each ministry area will continue to provide church strengthening services that will be multi-faceted in their particular ministry offerings,” he explained. “All ministry specialists and consultants will receive training to ensure knowledge sufficient to interact and assist any pastor or church with the fundamental principles of the 5 Smooth Stones.
■ The Spiritual Renewal Ministries Workgroup will consist of Collegiate Ministries, Discipleship & Spiritual Renewal, Men’s Ministries, and WMU & Women’s Enrichment Ministries.
■ The Kingdom Generosity Ministries Workgroup will include Cooperative Program/Stewardship, and Church Financial Services.
■ The Church Revitalization work group will include Church Revitalization & Leadership, Church-Minister Relations, Regional State Missionaries, and Music & Worship.
■ The Church Planting group will include Church Planting Ministries, and Intercultural Church Planting Ministries.
■ The Authentic Evangelism Ministries Workgroup will consist of Evangelism, Associational Missions/Disaster Relief/Mobilization, Sunday School/Small Group, and Youth.
The ministry support area will include Executive Leadership, Convention Financial Services, Communication Services, Conference Center Services, Employee Services, Information Services, Research Services, and Support Services and will not be assigned to work groups.
Other areas with their own boards and with separate supervision, such as The Christian Index, Children’s Homes, Health Care Ministries Foundation, Baptist Foundation, and retirement communities, remain intact in their current roles.
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