Thursday, November 8, 2007

Welcome to my blog!

Welcome to my blog. I named my blog "Our First Priority" because that is my passion. Our first priority is "serving churches." I serve as Executive Director of the Baptist General Convention of Missouri. The Baptist General Convention of Missouri is a young, new paradigm organization committed to serving churches.

I am a graduate of Southwest Baptist University and received my Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. During more than 35 years of ministry, I have served as a home missionary, church planter, pastor, interim pastor, and denominational leader in Missouri and Georgia. I served as Director of the Church Starting Department for the former Home Mission Board (now North American Mission Board). I also served as Executive Director of the Missouri Baptist Convention from 1998 to 2001.

I serve our convention part-time like most of our staff in order to reduce the overhead expenses and allow the convention to focus resources on the needs of churches. I am also president of RDI Consulting and Resource Churches, a Jefferson City-based consulting firm providing strategy and resource development services to institutions, non-profit organizations, churches, and Christian ministries. I have a passion for developing strategies for ministry. I am married to Bettie Jo, and we have three sons and two grandchildren.

A few years ago the Baptist General Convention of Missouri approved a strategic plan for our ministry. We called it First Priority. Our mission is to serve churches and church leaders as they fulfill the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. Our vision is to be an organization that gives First Priority to Serving Churches.

First Priority is all about churches. It is about acknowledging that our convention exists to serve churches and church leaders. It is about focusing on the needs of local congregations and seeking to minimize the convention’s bureaucracies and overhead. It is an effort to remember that conventions are merely the way churches cooperate to strengthen their ministries and do together what they would not be able to do alone.

Our First Priority plan includes four Great Commission Initiatives—Leadership Development, Congregational Health, Church Planting and Missions Mobilization. These are the areas where the BGCM must take decisive action as we serve churches. Our two Resource Initiatives are Ministry Resources and Congregational Relationships. You can visit our web site for more information about First Priority and our Great Commission Initiatives.

I wanted to use my blog as a place where I could dialogue with pastors and church leaders regarding their successes, challenges, opportunities, and needs. I look forward to sharing with you.