DALLAS—During the Feb. meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Board, directors unanimously elected Ward Hayes to serve as the new Chief Financial Officer (CFO)/Treasurer. Hayes is a Certified Public Accountant, senior pastor of Valley Grove Baptist Church in Stephenville and current board chair.
President Michael Evans presented remarks based on Romans 12:9, and stated, “every individual that is a part of this Executive Board is called to cling to what is good.”
He went on to detail many exciting ministry highlights celebrated throughout the meeting such as more than 29 million meals served through the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering ministries in 2019, and Chaplaincy Relations being ranked fifth in the county in new chaplain military endorsements.
“Reset your priorities, reset your attitude, and reset your relationships,” Evans said. “Cling, hold-fast, to all the good things that God is doing through our Texas Baptist family.”
HSU President addresses board
During the Monday evening session, Hardin-Simmons University President Eric Bruntmyer addressed the board and reported on the recent decision by trustees to close Logsdon Seminary.
Bruntmyer presented historic enrollment numbers, financial statements, and guiding questions that trustees considered during their deliberations. After a thorough review, and after much deliberation and some dissent, the vote was taken by HSU trustees to close Logsdon Seminary.
Bruntmyer noted the decision was solely financial, and that current seminary students would be given the opportunity to complete their degree.
“We will teach-out to the very end. We take care of our students because they are our students,” Bruntmyer said.
Following his report, Executive Director David Hardage encouraged board directors to gather around Bruntmyer and pray for him and the university.
Update on Cooperative Program giving
Jim Reed, controller and assistant treasurer, provided an update on financials and reported that investments were at $167 million, which represented a $10 million increase from 2018. CP Texas received $27.6 million in 2019, which was 97.3% of the budget. Gifts to the Southern Baptist Convention totaled $10.2 million, a decrease from $10.5 million in 2018. Texas Worldwide gifts remained consistent at $1.1 million.
Chris Liebrum, director of Cooperative Program Ministries, reported on a new award for educators called Baptist Educators Serving Texans (B.E.S.T.). The award will recognize public school educators who have graduated from Texas Baptist universities. Nominations will be accepted through June 1, 2020.
Other business approved
- A recommendation to change the sector map for Executive Board Members was approved. Associate Executive Director Craig Christina noted the sectors were reviewed every five years and the proposed adjustments were due to increases in population in metropolitan areas and decrease in rural areas.
- Another recommendation was approved to create a Response Council that would address critical issues that demand an immediate response or action from the BGCT.
- The Finance Committee brought a recommendation to approve the allocation of $552,000 from the JK Wadley Endowment Fund earnings to be used for MinistrySafe sexual abuse prevention training, Collegiate Ministries building maintenance, Campus Missionary Interns, Western Heritage Ministry and cross-cultural ministry.
- Three board vacancies were filled: Mario A. Ramos, Crossroads Baptist Church, San Antonio, for a 2022 term on the Baptist Health Foundation of San Antonio Board of Trustees; Stephan Vernon, First Baptist Church, Belton, for a 2022 term to the Valley Baptist Missions/Education Center Board Trustees; and Mark Lindsey, First Baptist Church, Big Spring, to serve until November on the BGCT Executive Board.
- The Institutional Relations Committee approved a recommendation from the Theological Education Council to provide Ministerial Financial Assistance to students enrolled in Stark College & Seminary’s new Master of Arts in Ministry.
- WMU Executive Director Tamiko Jones reported an increase in giving for the Mary Hill Davis Offering in 2019, which included gifts from 43 churches which had never given before.
- TBM Executive Director Mickey Lenamon shared about a new partnership with Buckner International as well as expanding partnership in Israel.
Board celebrates recognitions, milestones in ministry
Hayes read a resolution in recognition of workplace excellence after Texas Baptists was named a 2019 Top Workplace, National Standard winner by The Dallas Morning News.
Another significant celebration took place on Monday evening as Texas Baptists recognized the 1,000th chaplaincy endorsement by the BGCT and Baptist General Association of Virginia. Texas Baptists have endorsed chaplains since 2002 and currently have more than 600 active chaplains in the military, healthcare, business, prisons and other areas.
“This is a milestone for us, and we’re looking to continue to grow,” said Jim Brown, associate endorser of Chaplaincy Relations. “We have endorsed 1,000 chaplains to serve in a variety of areas. It’s an exciting time to be a part of this and it’s a wonderful ministry.”
Board members learned about a new Texas Baptists event called Heaven on Earth, which will be held on April 25 at Dallas Baptist University. The event is coordinated by the Cultural Engagement Team and will celebrate the rich diversity of Texas Baptists through worship, fellowship, testimonies, booths representing different cultural groups and food trucks.
Closing Tuesday’s meeting, Hardage announced that Dr. D.L. Lowrie and Chuck Dooley will be recipients of the 2020 Texas Baptists Legacy Award. They will be honored during a special service on June 7 at the historic Independence Baptist Church.