IMB trustees launch investigation, express concern over board representation
March 10th, 2017 / By: Joni Hannigan / comments
HOUSTON—A Texas pastor serving as a trustee of the International Mission Board said several of the smaller state conventions could be in danger of losing representation on the board if changes are not made in how the board is comprised.
David Fleming, pastor of Champion Forest Baptist Church in Houston and an IMB trustee, will serve as a member of a trustee representation study group that he said will evaluate the process of trustee representation on the board and present any findings and/or recommendations for discussion at or before the board’s June meeting in Phoenix.
Fleming said the move to form the study group came as officers of the board of trustees at the IMB “learned recently that several of the smaller state conventions have lost or will be losing their seat on the board per SBC and IMB trustee selection guidelines.”
Currently there 77 IMB trustees representing the following states: Alabama, 5; Arizona, 1; Arkansas, 3; California, 1; Colorado, 1; Florida, 4; Georgia, 6; Hawaii, 1; Illinois, 1; Indiana, 1; Kansas/Nebraska, 1; Kentucky, 3; Louisiana, 3; Maryland/Delaware 1; Michigan, 1; Mississippi, 3; Missouri, 3; Nevada, 1; New England, 1; New Mexico, 1; New York, 1; North Carolina, 5; Northwest, 1; Ohio, 1; Oklahoma, 1; Pennsylvania/South Jersey, 1; South Carolina, 3; Tennessee, 5; Texas, 12; Utah/Idaho, 1; Virginia, 2; West Virginia, 1.
IMB trustees are elected by messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention annually for a four-year term based on a formula set forth in the SBC Constitution and the IMB charter indicating the board includes one member from each cooperating state and the District of Columbia, one additional member from each state having 250,000 members, and an additional member for each additional 250,000 members. The president of the SBC also is an ex officio member on the board.
Southern Baptists of Texas Convention Executive Director Jim Richards currently serves as chair of the SBC Committee on Nominations, which reviews the qualifications of potential nominees to fill SBC trustee and committee vacancies and nominates a slate of names to messengers at the SBC annual meeting each year.
"Several states including Texas lost trustee positions on the International Mission Board due to the formula that is used," Richards said. "Proportionate representation is ideal. Hopefully, an equitable system can be proposed."
Fleming, in response to questions posed by the TEXAN, said he cannot predict a possible outcome of the effort to study this process.
“We certainly respect the guidelines but have concerns about churches and state conventions not having a voice on the IMB,” Fleming said. “The officers would like to have a sub-committee study the issue and bring any recommendations back to the board.”
The move to study the process was announced March 1 at the close of the IMB board meeting by board chair Scott Harris, from Brentwood, Tenn., who said the issue was discussed in the final moments of the IMB’s Feb. 28 trustee forum.
Fleming confirmed the trustee officers asked him to serve on the team.
“We hope to have a discussion with the full body of trustees to see if there are positive ways to make sure all Southern Baptists are represented,” Fleming said.