I have attempted to keep the focus of this blog on the International Mission Board and the exciting future direction of the Southern Baptist Convention. I have desired to be very positive about the work of the IMB in every area, including that of our trustees, and any impartial reading of my posts will give evidence of that positive outlook. Yes, I have disagreed with the two new policies at the IMB, but I have attempted to show that disagreement in a spirit of respect toward my fellow trustees. I have a deeply held belief that Baptists can disagree but continue to cooperate, and that has been at the forefront of my efforts to express my opinion but remain kind to everyone involved. This is the Southern Baptist way!
There are some very gifted men and women who have been chosen to represent the Southern Baptist Convention as International Mission Board trustees. Evidence of their wisdom can be seen in the Manual of Trustees, a self-imposed policy trustee manual, proposed and adopted by the trustees themselves. It was this book that was given to me last June, and the one I studied diligently before I ever attended my first meeting in July of 2005 as a new trustee. I believe that all trustees really do desire to perform a work that is honoring to Christ, regulated by policy that is based upon Scripture, and of course, one that is primarily concerned with the spreading of the gospel of Jesus Christ by appointing God-ordained, Spirit-filled believers called to the mission fields of the world.
Some of the good common sense of my fellow trustees is seen in several statements within the blue book that include:
(1). The International Mission Board's power can never exceed that of the convention itself. (page 1)
(2). Each trustee is to fill a servant role and represent the total constituency, not any particular segment within the geographical United States. (page 8)
(3). Ideally, the total constituency is to be informed on matters related to the work of the International Mission Board. (page 10)
(4). Trustees are expected to support the president in the effort to build a quality institution known for its excellence . . . (page 10)
(5). We will not enter lands with attitudes of haughtiness or superiority, but with humility and love. (page 22)
(6). The board never does its work in secrecy, but through openness. Baptists abhor hidden corners in its denominational operations. They expect a constant flow of communications and interpretations. The only times executive sessions of the board should be held are when human life is at stake, or tedious personnel problems must be handled. Instead of a secret approach, Baptists demand a program of information and want it to be kept up to date. (Page 22)
(7). (Trustees) must feel and act on their own best judgment. (page 26).
(8). Trustees are to decide and implement what is best for the institution and the churches served by it. (page 26).
(9). Careful and complete records are (to be) studiously kept of all actions and decisions of the board and its administration. (page 29).
(10). A trustee is to bring (his/her) voice to the meetings when serving, but is to also take (his/her) interpretations back to the people after adjournment. (page 33).
As you can tell, these are some excellent, wise policy statements, and there are many more!
How can so many wise people misunderstand my motives with this blog? I honestly think some of the trustees were initially just simply confused about the nature of a blog. Some made the mistake of attributing comments in a blog to the author of the blog. Rather than viewing blogs as a very positive way to get input from the grassroots level of the Southern Baptist Convention, some misunderstand a blog as a way to gossip. I think trustees are now beginning to see the value and benefit of blogging, and it does not include gossip.
However, to be fair, there does need to be some rules regarding blogging for trustees. I am asking you, my friends in the blogging world, to read the the excellent policy statements above regarding the protocol of trustees, and come up with similar statements regarding blogging. I will be in New York City tomorrow and Wednesday with my son and his sixth grade class, so I will be unable to post comments on a regular basis. However, please type your comment, and as soon as I have an opportunity, I will post it.
I would like to take your suggestions and formulate a "blue book for blogging." Maybe in the future this tool can be used in a powerful way to get all our Southern Baptists involved in the plannign and direction of the ministries of our convention.
Again, I express my faith in my fellow trustees at the International Mission Board and you, my blogging friends in the Southern Baptist Convention. Our best days are ahead.
In His Grace,