Thursday, April 1, 2010

First Priority 2015 Plan Approved

The theme for our Annual Meeting this past weekend was “God’s Plans: Hope and a Future!” from Jeremiah 29:11. I believe God does have great plans for our cooperative ministry. Eight years ago a courageous and visionary group met at Fee Fee Baptist Church to organize the Baptist General Convention of Missouri. H. K. Neely provided leadership for our convention during the first two formative years. In 2005, the convention adopted its first strategic plan called First Priority. We have made great strides in our ministry over the past five years as we focused on our mission of serving churches. We have sought to lay the foundation for a new paradigm denominational organization.

Over the past 9 months our Strategy Planning Leadership Team has been guiding a process designed to help us think strategically about the next five years of our ministry. At our Annual Meeting we approved First Priority 2015. This plan outlines our strategy as we take the next step in our journey toward this new paradigm state convention. We want to minimize our overhead and bureaucracy. We want to genuinely focus on helping churches become healthy and effective. I believe the initiatives we approved have the potential to help us serve churches more effectively.

We identified seven initiatives—areas where we believe we must take decisive action. Four of these focus specifically on how we serve churches: the development of a resource center, the creation of a web-based training program, the facilitation of relationships through affinity/peer groups, and the expansion of our consulting program. We also approved initiatives in the area of mission partnerships, church starting, and more strategic collaboration with our institutional partners.

The plan includes a five-year emphasis called Share Hope. Our goal is to encourage, equip, and assist churches as they mobilize their members to share the hope they have found in Christ through relational evangelism, congregational ministry, and community advocacy. A task force of local church leaders will lead the process of developing resources and training for the emphasis. While we will continue to be the Baptist General Convention of Missouri, we also approved a simpler “doing business” name—ChurchNet. We want to be a Baptist network serving churches!

I was blessed by the worship and fellowship during our Annual Meeting. The musicians did a wonderful job leading in worship, and our speakers challenged us as they shared God’s Word. It was incredible to see our convention approve what I believe is a very significant strategic step in our ministry as we approved First Priority 2015. I came away from the meeting with a sense of anticipation as we explore the future God has planned for us. I hope you will check our home page for a downloadable copy of the strategy planning brochure, and I want to encourage you to watch for the launch of our expanded ministry during the coming months.