Friday, October 28, 2016

Churchnet Elects New Leaders

The following is a News Release from Churchnet which was released last month.  I am incredibility excited about this leadership transition, and I look forward to working with Brian Ford and Brian Kaylor as we complete this transition over the next year. 

Brian Ford
Brian Kaylor

The Churchnet Board of Directors elected new leaders to guide the ministry of the network in the coming years during its Annual Retreat at Windermere on September 10th. The Search Committee recommended Dr. Brian Ford for the position of Executive Director-Elect effective October 1, 2016 and become the new Executive Director upon the retirement of the current Executive Director. The Churchnet Board of Directors also approved the recommendation of the Search Committee to elect Dr. Brian Kaylor as Associate Director.

The Board approved a proposed succession plan presented by the current Executive Director, Jim Hill, at their December 2015 board meeting to allow the diverse roles and responsibilities of the leadership position to be gradually handed off over a period of approximately 9 to 12 months. The Administrative Team served as the Search Committee and worked with the current director to bring recommendations to the Board.

“I could not have been more pleased with the recommendations of the Search Committee, and I am delighted the board has approved them,” Churchnet’s Executive Director Jim Hill said. “Brian Ford and Brian Kaylor both bring very significant gifts to our ministry, and they bring a fresh, younger perspective as well. I look forwarding to working with them as we transition leadership for our ministry during the coming months, and I am confident God will bless their leadership in the years ahead.”

Ford has served as pastor of Little Bonne Femme Baptist Church in Columbia, Mo., since 2003. He is a graduate of William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo., and completed his M.Div. at Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Shawnee, Kan., in 2000, where he is currently serving as an adjunct professor.  He completed his D.Min. at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., in 2012 with a focus on “Congregational Mission and Leadership.”

Ford previously served as Associate Pastor at First Baptist Church in Independence, Mo., and Youth Minister at First Baptist Church in Lamar, Mo. He has served on the board of Churchnet, and was elected Churchnet’s Vice President earlier this year. He has served as a board member for the Missouri Baptist Foundation and the Missouri Baptist Historical Society. He previously served as moderator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Missouri. He is a member of a state-wide advocacy organization, Missouri Faith Voices, as well as Faith Voices of Columbia.  Brian is married to Holly and has two children. He will assume the Executive Director’s role upon the retirement of the current director in 2017.

“I am honored and grateful for the opportunity to serve Churchnet in this role,” Ford said. “I look forward to working with Brian Kaylor and the other staff. God is actively at work in the world and Churchnet has much to offer to assist churches as they find God and join in God’s mission in their neighborhoods and beyond.”

Kaylor is the longest-tenured member of the Churchnet staff. He was hired by H. K. Neely during the first year of the new convention’s life. He has had a variety of roles during his tenure, but currently serves as the Generational Engagement Team Leader. The new role will allow him to have more time to utilize his gifts and skills and assist in providing leadership for Churchnet’s ministry.

Kaylor is a graduate of Southwest Baptist University and earned an M.A. (in 2005) and a Ph.D. (in 2008) in communication from the University of Missouri. He has been a contributing editor to Ethics Daily since 2005. He was Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at James Madison University from 2008 to 2014. He remained a member of the Churchnet staff even during his tenure with the university. He previously served as pastor of Union Mound Baptist Church in Elkland, Mo., and as a ministry associate with Tri-County Baptist Association.

Kaylor currently serves as Vice Chair of the Communications Advisory Committee of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) and as a member of the Commission on Christian Ethics and the Awards Committee of the BWA. He is the author of four books, has written more than 400 news articles and columns, and has been a guest on various radio and television programs. He has been a regular writer for Word&Way and has received more than 20 awards for his writing. Brian is married to Jennifer and has a son.

“I am excited to serve the network in an expanded role,” Kaylor said. “It’s been a blessing to be a part of the ministry of Churchnet for the past 13 years and I remain hopeful about the future. I look forward to working with Brian Ford and the rest of the staff as we serve churches.”

Churchnet, also known as the Baptist General Convention of Missouri, started in 2002. Churchnet’s first executive director, Neely, served from 2002 until 2004. Hill became Churchnet’s second executive director in 2004. Churchnet’s mission is to serve churches by fostering collaboration and hope for engaging new generations and cultures. Learn more at

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Churchnet's 2016 Annual Gathering - Plan to Join Us!

I have been away from my blog for about a year, but I have decided it is time to get back to it.  My last post was about plans for our 2015 Churchnet Annual Gathering.  Appropriately, this post allows me to share about our plans for the 2016 Annual Gathering.

We are excited about this year's Annual Gathering.  The Gathering will be held at First Baptist Church in Lee’s Summit on Friday evening and Saturday morning, April 15-16.  We are particularly delighted to have Rev. Samuel C. Tolbert, Jr. as our guest speaker on Friday evening.  Rev. Tolbert has served as Pastor of the Greater Saint Mary Missionary Baptist Church in Lake Charles, La. for the past 30 years.  He was elected the 15th President of the National Baptist Convention of America International, Inc., in June of 2014.  The choir and musicians from Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church in Kansas City will be leading us in worship Friday evening.

The Gathering begins on Friday evening with our Annual Missions Banquet at 5:30 p.m. followed by worship where Rev. Tolbert will be speaking.  Carol Bercian, Founder and Director of the Tabitha Ministry in Guatemala City, will be speaking at our Annual Missions Banquet.  There is no charge for the Banquet, but we encourage you to register on our website at  The Gathering concludes following worship at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday.  The Saturday morning schedule includes a light breakfast, a brief business session and a variety of workshops.  Our theme this year is Engage the Future through Missional Collaboration.

Our speaker for our Saturday closing worship will be Rev. Otto Echeverria.  Rev. Echeverria is completing a 4-year term as President of the Guatemala Baptist Convention, and he serves a congregation in the city of Coatepeque.  Churchnet is celebrating 10 years of partnership with the Guatemala Baptist Convention this year.  Mrs. Donna Potts, President of Churchnet, will also be sharing remarks during our Saturday morning worship.  Donna is a member of Fee Fee Baptist Church and is completing her third year as our President.  The choir and musicians from First Baptist Church in Lee’s Summit will be leading us in worship Saturday morning.

Following the Saturday morning breakfast and our Business Session the Annual Gathering will feature a series of 45-minute workshops.  The workshops will begin at 8:45 a.m., and they will be repeated at 10:00 a.m.  The workshops will focus on our theme, Engage the Future through Missional Collaboration, as we explore ways to work together as seek to share the gospel in our communities.  Several of institutional partners will be leading workshops.  Click HERE for a list of this year's workshops.  We hope you will join us for the Annual Missions Banquet on Friday evening and entire Annual Gathering for a wonderful time of fellowship, worship and learning together.  Click HERE for a downloadable flier.  Click HERE to register now.