Family needs, spiritual renewal draw Executive Committee action

ST. LOUIS (BP)--A focus on the family and a corporate call for Southern Baptists to renew their passion for the Lord Jesus Christ dominated the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee's June 10 meeting in St. Louis.

The group approved a report from the convention's Council on Family Life calling for all elements and entities of the SBC to focus on the needs of families in America. The goal is to also communicate to Americans that Southern Baptists care about families. In addition, the Council on Family Life will host a "Kingdom Families Rally" next year in Phoenix, Ariz., on June 19, the Thursday immediately following the 2003 SBC annual meeting.

The council's plan calls for already-existing Southern Baptist ministries to carry forth the family emphasis after next year's rally, with the bulk of responsibility falling to LifeWay Christian Resources -- already well-sourced in family materials.

The Executive Committee next endorsed a recommendation from the Empowering Kingdom Growth (EKG) Task Force, calling Southern Baptists to "renew their passion for the Lord Jesus and the reign of his kingdom in their hearts, families, and churches." Morris H. Chapman, president and chief executive officer of the Executive Committee, said he hopes that by casting a vision for holy living, sacrificial service and global witness that "a great spiritual movement will bubble up from grassroots Southern Baptists."

Other noteworthy business:

-- Election of new officers: chairman, Gary Smith, pastor of Fielder Road Baptist Church, Arlington, Texas; vice chairman, Bill Anderson, recently retired pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, Clearwater, Fla.; secretary, Mary M. "Marty" Odom, a layperson from Quail Spruce Baptist Church, Edmond, Okla.

-- Recommending a bylaw change to the charter of LifeWay Christian Resources, simply listing LifeWay's new address, One LifeWay Plaza, in Nashville, Tenn.

-- Recommending a charter amendment for Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, reducing the trustee board from 65 members to 45.

-- Passing a resolution of appreciation for Hollis E. Johnson III, retiring president of the Southern Baptist Foundation. Mike W. Weeks, from BancorpSouth, Inc., Tupelo, Mississippi, was introduced as the foundation's new president.

-- Amending an amendment to Bylaw 20, which streamlines the process for introducing resolutions to the Southern Baptist Convention. The original amendment failed to specify when the new rules would engage.

-- Selecting Ernst & Young as the Executive Committee's auditor for 2002-03.

-- Approved a new fundraising campaign for Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary: "Scholarship on Fire! Preparing the Called."

-- Approval of the 2002-03 SBC Comprehensive Budget

-- Executive Committee member A. Dean Nichols, pastor from First Baptist Church in Kenai, Alaska, recommended that the Executive Committee change its current personnel policies to allow freer access to employee salary information. Executive Committee chairman Bruce G. Coe stated that the current policies provided appropriate access. Nichols' motion was overwhelmingly defeated, yet he promised to raise the issue on the floor of the SBC.


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