The business of the SBTC Executive Board is Convention business
May 7th, 2019 / By: Jane Rodgers | TEXAN Correspondent / comments
GRAPEVINE Churches need charters. So do confessional fellowships of churches. The Southern Baptists of Texas Convention was chartered in November 1998, its constitution approved with a preamble affirming the primacy of God’s Word.
The preamble states that the constitution’s purpose is to ensure the SBTC conducts its business “in an orderly and democratic manner under the Lordship of Christ.”
Part of this Christ-centered “orderly and democratic manner” impelled founders to create an executive board with officers. The executive board also includes the SBTC’s president, vice-president and secretary, who possess voting rights and serve with 44 elected members representing churches across the state. The SBTC’s executive director serves as an ex-officio member of the executive board without voting privileges.
The business of the executive board is to oversee the business of the convention.
“The executive board is designed to enable the convention to function on a regular basis throughout the year,” David Fannin, pastor of Nassau Bay Baptist Church, told the TEXAN, comparing the body to the executive committee of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Fannin, who originally authored the bulk of the SBTC’s original constitution and bylaws, said that like its SBC counterpart, “the SBTC executive board cannot do things totally on their own.”
The executive board is the “the fiduciary, fiscal and executive agency of the Convention,” SBTC bylaws state, empowered to act for the convention between sessions but without the authority to act contrary to or to reverse convention actions, except under circumstances permitted in the bylaws.
The executive board makes a report on the work of the SBTC at the annual meeting and has authority to conclude agreements with third parties that advance the convention and are consistent with the directions of the messengers.
The board recommends the annual budget, employs the executive director who is accountable to it, and has the authority to terminate members. Members serve four-year terms and are eligible for a second consecutive term.
The board’s make-up is varied. A minimum of one quarter of the elected members of the board must be persons not employed in churches or by the denomination.
To guarantee representation of small- and medium-sized congregations, at least one-fourth of those elected must belong to churches whose membership does not exceed 400.
Election to the executive board is based on geographical and numerical factors, with the state divided into four areas, each with at least five representatives on the board.
Regarding the geographical segmentation of the body, Fannin said that the four state divisions were established intentionally in order to give all regions representation: “We wanted to draw people from every area, not just the big cities.”
The executive board also has officers: a chairman, vice-chairman and secretary. These officers, the convention president, and chairpersons of executive board subcommittees comprise the board’s governing executive committee. The SBTC’s executive director is an ex-officio, non-voting member as well.
The executive committee meets separately and in conjunction with the entire executive board. Convention employees and department heads may also attend these meetings.
Executive board meetings are held three times each year. Special meetings may be called by the executive committee with at least a week’s notice and may be conducted by teleconference or through other forms of electronic communication.
A quorum of one-half of the voting members of the executive board must be present for the transaction of business.
Danny Forshee, pastor of Austin’s Great Hills Baptist and the current chair of the executive board, described the meetings. “It’s a blessing when we come together because we all are very passionate about the things the convention stands for: the gospel, fidelity to Scripture.”
“We’ve jumped right in,” Forshee said of the work of the executive board in 2019, noting that the year’s first executive committee meeting occurred in late March at Great Hills to plan for the April 22-23 meeting of the entire board in Galveston.
“It’s a blessing to be able to serve our Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, really an honor,” Forshee said. “I’m excited. There’s 2,700 plus churches rallying around the Great Commission.”
For more information on the executive board and the constitution of the SBTC, see sbtexas.com/about-sbtc/constitution-bylaws.