By Tim Lubinus, BCI Executive Director/Treasurer
At three different meetings this year, the BCI Executive Board has crafted and approved a change in the bylaws to reduce the number of members of the Executive Board from twenty-four to nine and merge the function of the Administrative Committee with the Executive Board. The Executive Board will be made up of the four officers (president, vice-president, second vice-president, and secretary) plus the one member from each of the five regions (Northwest, Southwest, Central, Northeast, Southeast). After much discussion and consideration of alternate proposals, the final recommendation was approved without any “no” votes.
A number of factors led to this decision:
- Under our current structure, it sometimes becomes difficult for executive board members from one region to recommend new members to fill vacancies from other regions. Instead of a selection process that asks, “among the possible candidates we’ve identified which ones are best to serve?” it can quickly become “does anyone even know anyone from that region who we could ask to serve regardless of other qualifications?” The Executive Board members realized the selection system should be improved to find the best qualified Executive Board members. The new proposal allows people from each region to fill vacancies on the Executive Board and moves us toward a more decentralized leadership selection system than we currently use.
- The original idea behind having four Executive Board Members from each of the five regions was to allow broad representation from every region. The new proposal to conduct meetings in each region will allow for much more involvement and input from BCI congregations and members as the Executive Board develops and implements strategy for reaching the people of Iowa for Christ. Instead of getting input from only four people from each region, the Executive Board can hear from dozens of people. These regional meetings also will help connect churches and better create a regional identity for potential regional ministry and church development projects.
- Having an Executive Board and an Administrative Committee sometimes creates duplicate meetings where an agenda item would be discussed and approved by one committee only to have to have the same conversation over again with the other committee on another day. The new proposal merges these committees and eliminates the duplication.
In addition to the Executive Board meetings, the current BCI president, Robert Knight, along with vice-president Jack Owens, wanted to do everything they could to create broad consensus for this change and recently invited the past BCI presidents to discuss this proposal. After a lively discussion that considered several alternatives, the consensus from this group is that the Executive Board proposal is the best way forward for the BCI.
A few more details of the plan:
At each annual meeting of the Convention, messengers of BCI affiliated churches from each of the five regions listed in the operations manual meet separately and shall:
- Select an Executive Board member to serve on the BCI executive board from the region when there is an open position (members serve three-year rotating terms). The executive board member is responsible for the leadership of regional meetings. The messengers from each region will also select an alternate in case someone cannot serve the full term.
- Approve a calendar with meeting times and places for meetings including two proposed dates (to make sure the meeting is held at a different date than other regions) for a regional meeting scheduled within the first three months of the calendar year that among other things, includes providing input to BCI leadership on such topics as:
- Church Planting Strategy and Structure
- Church Support Strategy and Structure
- Other topics relevant to BCI ministry
Proposed Executive Board meeting plan:
- January to March: Officers and BCI staff attend various regional meetings
- April: Executive Board Meeting (includes BCI Church Planting Annual Strategy Review)
- May: Executive Board Meeting (includes BCI Church Support Annual Strategy Review)
- September: Executive Director evaluation, consider input from regional meetings and set next year’s goals, budget, calendar
- Other meetings as needed
Proposed Bylaw Change: Proposed for November 4, 2017 Convention (announced at least 90 days in advance: [by Aug 6, 2017], requires majority vote at annual meeting):
- The executive board of the Baptist Convention of Iowa shall consist of 20 (change to 5) regular members plus the president, first vice-president, second vice-president, and secretary. Total: nine members.
Various changes to combine Administrative Committee and Executive Board, for example:
The administrative committee of the executive board, when sufficient emergency arises as to time or place, may change the annual meeting either as to time or place or both.
Proposed Constitution Change: Proposed for November 4, 2017 annual meeting (announced at least 90 days in advance [by Aug 6, 2017], requires 2/3rds vote at two annual meetings):
- Eliminate ARTICLE IX, THE ADMINISTRATIVE COMMITTEE and ARTICLE X, DUTIES OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE COMMITTEE