Friday, October 26, 2007

An Interview with Mike Green
Nominee for a second term as MBC President
Mike is the Director of Missions for the Twin Rivers Baptist Association

1. Why do you feel led to allow your name to be place in nomination for an MBC office?
First, let me say that I never sought the office. Others have sought me out, and asked me to serve, initially as 1st Vice President, and then as President. I’ve agreed to run for the constitutionally-allowed second term because there are big changes coming in Missouri Baptist life, and I believe that we need some continuity in the midst of that change.

2. Please tell me about your conversion experience and a little about your spiritual journey.
I became a believer when I was nine years old. I was saved at the Bates Creek Church Camp in Jefferson Baptist Association, and made my commitment to Christ public at the 1st Baptist Church of Desoto, MO. I was baptized into the church by Rev. Milton Elmore who was one of my heroes when I was growing up.

3. What is your vision for the future of the Missouri Baptist Convention?
My primary vision for the Missouri Baptist Convention is simple – that we fulfill our Lord’s Great Commission. Secondly, that we move forward and stay on course with the conservative resurgence.

4. Please tell me a little about your family.
I am married to Cathy. We met in school through the local BSU. Cathy is a High School music teacher and also teaches private voice and piano lessons. Our son Matthew is the “brains” of the family. He is getting ready to attend Washington University and will major in medicine. Elise, our daughter, has a degree in Entertainment Management and works for Silver Dollar City.

5. What do you believe are the major issues confronting the Missouri Baptist Convention?
One of our top priorities right now is finding God’s man and a god-led man to be our next Execute Director. Another priority needs to be planting biblically solid church plants, that believe in orthodoxy as well as othro-practice. I fully agree with our interim Executive Director, Dr. David Tolliver, that we need a major emphasis on growing healthy churches. A healthy church will be a church that fulfills the Great Commission and the Great Commandment.

6. What do you believe are the major issues confronting the local Baptist Church?
Perhaps the most important issue facing our local churches, is staying faithful to Scripture in a post-modern world. Developing strong biblical leadership among both clergy and laity in our local churches is also of utmost importance. It’s one of the reasons I chose the theme that I did for this year’s annual meeting -- Building Kingdom Focused Churches based on Acts 1:8. As a new Director of Missions, I have also discovered that we have a great number of pastors and staff members in our churches who are disillusioned and hurting. They need ministry and encouragement.

7. Do you believe the MBC should continue its legal case against the five former convention agencies who’s trustee boards voted to go self-perpetuating?
In a word – Yes!

8. Save Our Convention argues that a small cadre of Missouri Baptists are controlling the state convention from behind the scenes. How do you respond to that?
My friendships and relationships in the MBC cross many lines. I do not like the controversy. No one does. But I also believe that we must continue the conservative resurgence. I can also say, that as MBC president, I was not controlled by any cadre of people.

9. What is your opinion of The Pathway?
I believe that The Pathway is one of the finest state newspapers in the SBC. This is not just my opinion. I’ve heard many others express that view from other states including other editors. As with any newsjournal, there are probably ways to improve the paper.

10. Why should local churches continue to support the Missouri Baptist Convention?
For the same reason that we’ve always supported the work of the convention: It is a solid organization that links us together to support, missions, evangelism and other ministries in the state of Missouri.

11. Is there anything else that you would like to say to Missouri Baptists?
Thank you Missouri Baptists for giving me the priviledge this last year to serve as your president. I thank you for your prayers, your kind letters and emails, and I would ask that you pray for me as I moderate the convention in Tan-Tar-A this year. Also pray for me as a believer and a new director of missions, that I would always honor my lord and Savior, Jesus Christ in all that I do and say.

Monday, October 22, 2007

An Interview with Roger Moran
Nominee for MBC 2nd Vice President
Roger is a layman who owns his own business and is a member of the FBC, Troy, MO

1. Please tell me about your conversion experience and a little about your spiritual journey.
At the age of 13, I made a profession of faith in Christ. But in my late teens and early twenties, I had wondered off to the far country of rebellion and bad behavior. However, on May 1st, 1982, at the age of 25, the Lord did an amazing thing in my life. Through a series of events and circumstances, He brought me to the point of repentance and changed my desires in a significant way so that for the first time in a long, long time, I wanted Christ and realized that I needed Him desperately. God changed me from one type of person to a completely different one. I still had lots of faulty thinking and bad behavior to deal with, but I was on a new path. I had never really read the Bible before, and was an extremely poor reader. But I remember well moving back in with my grandmother, and for the next three years was completely consumed with reading the Scriptures. I’d sit behind her old wood stove in the winter with the door of my bedroom cracked so the light would shine on the pages of the black Bible she gave me and there I would read late into the night, always amazed at what I was reading. There are no words that can express how grateful and thankful I am for what Christ did in my life. In those days, I literally drove a stake in the ground that I might remember that I had chosen to put my hands to the plow and that by the grace of God, I would never look back.

2. Please tell me a little about your family.
My wife, Ronna and I have nine children ranging from age two to 19. Our eldest, Kristina, attends Hannibal LaGrange College. Michelle, 16, is considering Pensacola Christian College. Yulia, 15, is our adopted daughter from Russia. Daniel, 14, has spent most of the last year recovering from a serious horse riding accident. Rachel is 11 and loves people. Rebekah and Elizabeth are nine year old identical twins. Jonathan is a handful at five. David is two and will be attending his first convention this year. We live on a 160 acre farm about 25 miles from Troy, MO, where we attend church. Ronna, is finishing her bachelor’s degree while home schooling our children.

3. What do you believe are the major issues confronting the local church?
At the 2006 SBC annual meeting in Greensboro, NC, I made a motion requesting that LifeWay Research investigate the growing body of research regarding two specific issues that should greatly concern every SBC/MBC church. First is the research showing that the vast majority of those who call themselves evangelical Christians (which includes Southern Baptists) do not hold to a clearly defined biblical worldview. Second is the growing body of research stating that 88 to to 92 percent of the children from evangelical homes are leaving the church as they are entering young adulthood. (The SBC Counsel on the Family cited the 88 percent figure) Thus, I have come to view the underlying causes of these issues as the major issues confronting the local church. If, as Southern Baptists, our quest for biblical truth fails to translate into a biblical worldview and if our passion for evangelism fails to reach and sustain our own children, then we are in grave danger of becoming a people committed to nothing more than religious rhetoric.

4. What do you believe are the major issues confronting the Missouri Baptist Convention?
The book of Amos asks the rhetorical question: “Can two walk together except they be agreed?” As Missouri Baptists, we are increasingly finding ourselves in need of self-definition as a growing number of SBC/MBC voices are telling us that we should not be divided over “secondary issues.” But we were never told what those “secondary issues” were. Now we have discovered that the “secondary issues” include the use of alcohol in church ministries, cursing pastors, men’s poker night, men’s Bible and brew night, “film night” ministries where secular R-rated movies are shown, churches hosting secular rock concerts for underage kids, church services in breweries, and other such activities that characterize the Acts 29 Church Planting Network, which we are now being asked to embrace because they claim to be “theologically conservative.” However, issues and “ministries” such as these will indeed continue to divide Missouri Baptists because they do not represent the vast majority of Missouri Baptists. Ultimately, this is what this year’s MBC annual meeting will be about. Four years after Project 1000 and the battle for theological conservatism, Missouri Baptists will now decide if we will embrace the “cultural liberalism” of the emerging church movement.

One of my greatest current concerns has been the formation of the new political group called SOC (Save Our Convention), whose message has been that the convention needs to be “saved” from its current leadership, which they refer to as a group of “legalistic Pharisees” bent on destroying the MBC and its agencies. Yet, within the SOC group there is strong support for the Acts 29/emerging church movement. Even among SOC leaders that are clearly opposed to the use of alcohol, there are issues and inconsistencies that should cause serious concern among Missouri Baptists, especially in light of their stated desire to become the elected leaders of the MBC. Such concerns would include John Marshall’s support and involvement with the pro-alcohol/pro-emergent, Core Fellowship Church in Springfield, whose pastor has stated that he “wouldn’t be surprised one bit if Jesus chose never to show up in church on Sunday, or had a beer at a frat party, or frequented a gay bookstore” (read the full text of the statement I made before the SBC Executive Committee and my letter to the editor regarding this church plant); David McAlpin’s support and involvement with The Refuge Church in St. Charles, an Acts 29 church and mission of the Journey in St. Louis (also an Acts 29 church), which, like the Journey, has a bar-room ministry in a brewery; Jim Breeden, DOM of the St. Louis Metro Association, which strongly supports the Acts 29 group, and whose associate DOM, Darrin Casper is a member of the Journey.

At some point, Missouri Baptists need to ask some hard questions: Has McAlpin’s ongoing conflict with the Theological Study Committee been at least in part because that committee is exposing what McAlpin has been involved in (Acts 29)? Or, could it be that Gerald Davidson (SOC’s candidate for MBC president) launched his unprovoked public attacks against the Missouri Baptist Laymen’s Association at least in part because his son-in-law is an Acts 29 church planter?

The SOC attitude of “tolerance” and their broad tent of undefined “inclusiveness” will likely continue in a significant way if Missouri Baptists elect Davidson and other SOC leaders in Tan-Tar-A. An example might be one of our larger churches in the Southwest part of the state that recently participated in a “U2Charist,” where various faith groups partake of the Lord’s Supper to the music of the rock band U2. This event, which has swept the United States, is co-sponsored by the One Campaign, a liberal group whose sponsors include such far-left groups as Emergent Village (led by Brian McLaren); Sojourners (led by Jim Wallis, well known as a pro-Marxist, religious left leader whose board chair is Brian McLaren); the Unitarian Universalist Association (a predominately atheistic denomination); etc. The pastor of this large MBC church will nominate John Marshall for MBC Second Vice President. My concern is not a lack of commitment to “sound doctrine,” but the serious lack of discernment and judgment among the SOC leaders that will certainly influence the course of the MBC.

5. What is your vision for the future of the Missouri Baptist Convention?

Our vision for the future is often shaped by our understanding our past. The recent political battle we fought called Project 1000 recognized that Missouri Baptists were being led in the direction of theological liberalism with the clear objective of moving us away from the more conservative SBC and toward embracing the more liberal Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. The battle was clearly over biblical truth and sound doctrine. However, sound doctrine alone was never intended to be the final destination, but rather the starting point from which Missouri Baptists would recognize the absolute necessity of pursuing with passion the pathway of holiness, purity, obedience and faithfulness. Because the demons of hell believe and tremble, we understand that right believing is never a guarantee of right living or of godly character.

My vision for Missouri Baptists has never changed. The “main thing” for every born again believer is the passionate pursuit of holiness, seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, at which time we, as Missouri Baptists, have every right to expect God’s divine intervention in the lives of our people and our churches. It is from this vantage point, I believe, that our commitment to missions, ministry and evangelism becomes increasingly significant because it is God who draws, God who convicts and God who regenerates, just as it is the Spirit of God who leads us into all truth and gives us a clear understanding of the seriousness of sin – the very thing for which Christ died. And it is only from this vantage point that we will ever see an authentic transformation of our people and our churches, which I believe is the highest honor we can pay to our Lord and our Savior Jesus Christ. It is from a position of holiness, purity, obedience and faithfulness that Missouri Baptists will receive power from on high to carry out the great commission. But there are those who measure our success only by the number of people we draw with the latest religious fads and gimmicks; the number of baptisms, despite their absentee membership; and the number of dollars we give to the Cooperative Program. Such thinking has failed to measure the things that matter most. I believe it’s time to look once again at transformed lives, godly attitudes, character, integrity, honesty and biblical fidelity. These are also important evidences of where we are in Christ.

6. Save Our Convention (SOC) argues that a small cadre of Missouri Baptists are controlling the state convention from behind the scenes. How do you respond to that?

First, I would argue that the SOC group is made up predominately of pastors from some of our largest churches who are angry over the firing of David Clippard. I would further argue that the SOC group could be divided into two specific groups. The first group is angry because their close relationship with David Clippard gave them direct access to the “oval office” of the MBC as they influenced the course of the convention in a significant way. When Clippard was fired, the degree of access and influence they enjoyed ended immediately.

The second group is angry because Clippard was their primary advocate for the emerging church movement within the MBC -- specifically Acts 29. Clippard’s identification of the Journey as a church plant model and its pastor as a modern-day Caleb (2006 MBC annual meeting) came nearly a year after his push for a $200,000 loan to the Journey to “help facilitate a church planting center in St. Louis.” There was no question where our former Executive Director was leading the MBC in regard to this issue and certainly, the Journey’s bar-room ministry was no secret. Thus, SOC leader Kenny Qualls was absolutely wrong when he stated at the SOC meeting at Harvester that the formation of SOC was not about alcohol, the emerging church or the firing of David Clippard. The issue of alcohol cannot be divorced from Acts 29 and Acts 29 cannot be divorce from the former Clippard administration.

With all this being said, I would agree that there was a small cadre of Missouri Baptists influencing the course of the MBC from behind the scenes. But it wasn’t the Missouri Baptist Laymen’s Association, Project 1000, the nominating committee or a group within the MBC Executive Board, for Clippard had come to view these as his political enemies. Those who were attempting to control the convention from behind the scenes were the SOC leaders, who by using the powers of the Executive Director’s office in the day to day operations of the convention, were attempting to advance their own agenda. I would further argue that because their agenda was out of step with most Missouri Baptists, their efforts had to be from behind the scenes. This also explains, at least to some degree, the conflict between Clippard and numerous members of the Executive Board, who felt that Clippard was getting his “marching orders” from people other than his convention elected authority – the Executive Board.

Now that the predominantly large church pastors that make up the SOC group have made it clear that they will not rest until they seize control of the MBC, one important question needs to be asked: How far to the left is David Sheppard and his fellow SOC leaders willing to go to build a political coalition to “move the MBC back to the center?” Another important question that needs to be asked is this: When SOC leaders said that the current leadership of the MBC has moved the convention too far to the right, what exactly do they mean? I find this extremely deceitful, especially considering the number of SOC leaders and people from their churches that serve at both the MBC and SBC level.

Since January 2007 (this calendar year), members from the 11 SOC churches serving on MBC and SBC positions include: Five members on the MBC Executive Board; two members on the MBC Nominating Committee; Three members on HLG; three members on SBU; two members on MBU; one member on the Children’s Home; two members on the MBC Foundation; two members on the Baptist Home; one member on the Executive Director Search Committee; one member on the Theological Study Committee; one member on the Credentials Committee; and one member on the Local Arrangements Committee. At the SBC level: one member at Southeastern Seminary; one member at Southwestern Seminary; two members at IMB; two members on the Committee on Nominations; and two members on the Committee on Committees (which selects the committee on nominations). This gives a total of 32 positions held by people from the 11 SOC churches.

Equally deceitful is the SOC accusation that good Missouri Baptists are being excluded from service in the MBC. If this is true, it certainly isn’t the 11 SOC churches that are being excluded. It also needs to be noted that because there is a limited number of positions of service available each year, there will always be “good people” who are “excluded” from service. But it is also true that the people currently serving within the MBC are “good people,” and SOC’s reference to current MBC elected leadership as “legalistic Pharisees” was nothing more than divisive political rhetoric designed for their own political gain.

7. What is your opinion of Pathway?
It has been my observation that Missouri Baptists have one of the finest news journals in all of the SBC, as well as one of the finest editors. I have the utmost confidence in Don Hinkle and his staff. Don has performed his responsibilities remarkably well, especially in light of the political turmoil the convention has experienced the last couple years. I would contend that Hinkle is to be commended for his faithfulness to Missouri Baptists and to the cause that brought Bible-believing Missouri Baptists to the helm of leadership within our convention. I know of few men who could have endured what our state editor has had to endure in recent months. I believe we owe him our prayers and a debt of gratitude.

8. Why should local churches continue to support the Missouri Baptist Convention?
Like any other institution, the Missouri Baptist Convention must earn the support of every MBC church. Yet at the same time, the convention cannot be “all things to all people” for it is bound by the decisions and directives of the messengers meeting in annual session. I still believe Missouri Baptists are overwhelmingly conservative and have a passion for the things that matter most to God. Nevertheless, if we begin to elect MBC leaders that dilute or downplay our long standing opposition to the kind of bad behavior flowing from the emerging church movement, the same Bible-believing Missouri Baptists that rose up and took back the MBC will either rise up again, or wearied by fighting and foolishness, will gradually reconsider the legitimacy of such a religious institution.

Thus far, all we know about the SOC group and their political agenda is what they say they don’t like about the current leadership of the MBC (the vast majority of which is based on false and extremely misleading statements). But what they are not saying publicly is what they are for -- and what they want the MBC to look like when they’re done. I would submit that thus far, their actions are speaking louder than their words.

9. Is there anything else you would like to say to Missouri Baptists?
There are a number of things Missouri Baptists need to know about the current political environment within the MBC . Since the formation of the SOC group, I had opted to allow their rhetoric and accusations to largely go unchallenged, hoping that some degree of sanity would return to the convention. By early September, I thought that maybe that time had arrived. At the recommendation of MBC president Mike Green and interim Executive Director David Tolliver, I agreed to meet with SOC leader John Marshall the day after Labor Day in St. Peters. This private meeting was at his request to discuss convention issues. At the end of the meeting, Marshall stated that it was his intention to “shut down” the SOC group. Marshall called David Tolliver and announced to him the same thing. The next day, Marshall called again and asked if I would be willing to meet with Kenny Qualls and Tom Willoughby (both SOC leaders) as I had with Marshall. However, three weeks later (October 3rd) when the second meeting took place, it was clear that there was no intention of shutting down the SOC group, but rather, it became evident that the SOC group had planned their own meeting for that same day. The following day I was informed (not by Marshall or SOC leaders) that far from shutting down SOC, they had endorsed a full slate of SOC candidates for MBC officers.

Other concerns I have about the SOC group would include their first meeting at FBC Harvester in May, when David Sheppard went into great detail about how it “grated” on him that a front page story in the St. Louis Post Dispatch identified me as “the most powerful Baptist in Missouri,” an editorial comment based on a statement from a CBF pastor. However, Sheppard never quoted the full title of the article: “Missouri’s most powerful Baptist takes on the ‘emerging church,’” which was the focus of the article. Even more revealing is that Sheppard never mentioned another front page article in the Sunday edition of the Post Dispatch titled: “Beer and the Bible: It works for one growing church. But it’s got Missouri Baptists hopping mad.” This was in reference to the Journey in St. Louis which was the recipient of a $200,000 loan from Missouri Baptist. That apparently didn’t “grate” on Sheppard, even though the emerging church article was in response to the “Beer and the Bible” article.

I find it equally disturbing that SOC leaders accused MBLA at the Harvester meeting of being “powerbrokers” in part because Kerry Messer, MBLA president and Richard Stone, an MBLA board member served on the SBC Committee on Nominations in 1998 and 2000 respectively. But they failed to note that since 2004, numerous SOC leaders have served on both the SBC Committee on Nominations and the SBC Committee on Committee (which appoints the SBC Committee on Nominations): For current year 2007, SOC leader David Sheppard is serving on the SBC Committee on Committees and SOC leader Dewight Blankship will serve on the Committee on Nominations; In 2006, James Barnhart (associate pastor under SOC leader Mitch Jackson) served on the Committee on Committees and SOC leader Tom Willoughby served on the Committee on Nominations; In 2004, SOC leader Mitch Jackson served on the Committee on Committees and James Montgomery (from John Marshall’s church) served on the Committee on Nominations. (It should also be noted that in 1998, when Kerry Messer served on the SBC Committee on Nominations, Project 1000 had not yet won their first MBC presidential election.)

10. Do you believe the MBC should continue its legal case against the five former convention agencies whose trustee boards voted to go self-perpetuating?
Yes. There is no question that the trustees of these agencies wrongfully “stole” these entities from Missouri Baptists. The absolute wretched behavior of these former MBC leaders is most clearly seen in the fact that they have used every possible tactic to delay our “cause” from coming before a judge for a simple ruling as to whether or not the trustees had the right to do what they did. The only thing Missouri Baptists have ever asked for was a simple ruling on the merits of the case. And we still are waiting on that simple ruling while those who plundered the convention are attempting to spend us into submission. I would also argue that while we may certainly forgive a thief, especially if he repents, we also have a Biblical responsibility to hold a thief responsible for his wrongful behavior – especially if the thief professes the name of Christ.

11. Why do you feel led to allow your name to be placed in nomination for an MBC office?
I entered the political fray of MBC life in 1989 over the issue of pornography and the SBC endorsed boycott against Holiday Inn. It was at that time that I discovered that the MBC had been funding Americans United for Separation of Church and State for over 30 years. From that battle, we moved to the CBF and ultimately Project 1000. Today, Missouri Baptists are facing a significantly different kind of issue only in that we have theological conservatives opposed to theological conservatives. Nevertheless, the underlying issues we now face still have serious ramifications.

Men like Mike Green, Jay Scribner, Jerry Williams (and I need to include myself since I’m on the slate of officers I am recommending), have never stammered, stuttered or wavered in our commitment Biblical Truth or issues of holiness. Peace and unity are always one of our highest priorities, but not at any price.

I have chosen to add my name to a slate of men that I have the utmost respect for and who will continue to move Missouri Baptists in the same direction and on the same course that we (and several of the SOC leaders) charted way back in 1998. I think it is clear what we will stand for and what we will stand against. In the meantime, we will continue to pray that God will use what has happened in the MBC to move us on to a deeper level of maturity and a greater passion for the things that matter most to God.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

An Interview with Jay Scribner
Nominee for MBC 1st Vice President
Jay is the former pastor of First Baptist Church, Branson now retired

1. Why do you feel led to allow your name to be place in nomination for an MBC office?
I agreed to have my name placed in nomination for first vice president because I love the Missouri Baptist Convention where I have served for 30 years. I am pleased that we engaged ourselves in the conservative resurgence and saw God’s favor regarding biblical inerrancy and the exposure of a lack of theological integrity among the moderates/liberals. We need to continue the course which we have been on for the last 8 years. We have undergone some difficult decisions within the MBC during the last several months. I feel that I can be of benefit in helping to bring about healing and stability among the conservatives of our fine convention.

2. Please tell me about your conversion experience and a little about your spiritual journey.
I accepted Christ in college in 1969. I am a graduate of Hannibal LaGrange College, Oklahoma Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Seminary. I served on a multi-staff ministry at a church in inner city Ft. Worth for five years during my seminary experience. After graduation from seminary, I was called to pastor First Baptist Church of Branson. I pastored this great church for 28 years. We are grateful for God’s favor in our ministry. Our church underwent a debt-free relocation process. We consistently ranked high in Cooperative Program support among MBC churches. We developed an aggressive missions ministry, both domestic and international. We enjoyed consistent baptism statistics. I have had the privilege of taking numerous international mission trips and have been privileged to serve a number of years on the Executive Board of the MBC under Dr. Reuben South, Dr. Don Wideman, Dr. Jim Hill, and Dr. David Clippard.

3. What is your vision for the future of the Missouri Baptist Convention?
The Missouri Baptist Convention needs to continue its course toward healing. We need to maintain strong evangelism and mission development. We need to establish an aggressive focus upon prayer, exalt Jesus Christ, and stop “fighting in the barracks!”

4. Please tell me a little about your family.
I’ve been married to my wife, Kay for 40 years. We have two sons, Paul and his wife Jill, as well as Mark and his wife Jaime. We also have 4 wonderful grandchildren, Jonathan, Molly, Andy, and Sophie.

5. What do you believe are the major issues confronting the Missouri Baptist Convention?
Unity and harmony, ending the legal battles, strengthening the Cooperative Program, assisting churches to become healthy through bible-based discipleship.

6. What do you believe are the major issues confronting the local Baptist Church?
Preaching the relevant gospel with doctrinal soundness, A call to uncompromised holiness, a return to biblical basics.

7. Do you believe the MBC should continue its legal case against the five former convention agencies who’s trustee boards voted to go self-perpetuating?
I definitely feel that the MBC should continue its legal case against the five former agencies. We need to put pressure on these irresponsible trustees to make honorable decisions and to stop the exorbitant waste of funds being expended on legal maneuvering. We need to withdraw any and all support, communication, and acknowledgement of these agencies until there is a repentance on the part of their leadership and their trustees. We have wasted a massive amount of money, as well as a tremendous amount of time as they have set about to splinter the MBC. There is no way that God can be honored through this gross display of disunity, disrespect for our history and heritage, and the reprehensible use of God’s resources.

8. Save Our Convention argues that a small cadre of Missouri Baptists are controlling the state convention from behind the scenes. How do you respond to that?
The bible says that it is foolish for a man to answer a matter before he hears it. They obviously have not done their homework, or are ignoring the facts. As a result of the conservative resurgence, more Baptists (from more Baptist churches) are being included in the overall involvement of Missouri Baptist life through the appointment and election process which has been in place for decades. The arguments of Save Our Convention are weak and ill founded, selfishly motivated, and disunifying to the positive direction that we should be moving under the guidance and direction of God’s Holy Spirit.

9. What is your opinion of The Pathway?
It is refreshing to have a newsjournal that is uncompromisingly conservative and to have an editor who is willing to take on any issue pertaining to the life of the MBC. The Pathway is becoming increasingly broad in its focus upon missions and its coverage of individual churches and ministries. We have a first-class news journal which is remarkable because of its extremely young life span.

10. Why should local churches continue to support the Missouri Baptist Convention?
Our theological conservatism, our emphasis on missions, our focus on evangelism, and our desire to help strengthen the churches of the MBC, along with the genius and heritage of the Cooperative Program, blend together to encourage us to “stay the course” as we work to expand God’s Kingdom throughout the state of Missouri and to the uttermost part of the world.

11. Is there anything else that you would like to say to Missouri Baptists?
Lift up Jesus!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

An Interview with Jerry Williams
Nominee for MBC Recording Secretary
Jerry is the Director of Missions for the Barry Baptist Association

1. Why do you feel led to allow your name to be place in nomination for an MBC office?
I have been ask by a friend to be nominated for the position of recording secretary, and a number of years ago I prayed about serving Missouri Baptists and I felt lead at that time to serve anyway that I could when I was ask. I still feel that this is what the Lord would have me do. I leave it in His hands.

2. Please tell me about your conversion experience and a little about your spiritual journey.
I was saved at the age of 7 on my knees by my bedside in October of 1954. Followed my Lord in baptism two weeks later in the FBC of Webb City, MO. Church has always been a part of my life, I was born along with a twin brother into a wonderful Christian home. My mother and father were both Sunday School teachers. At the age of 12 at Baptist Hill, Mt. Vernon, MO during camp, I felt the call into special service, not knowing at that time what the Lord wanted me to do. By the time I had reached 17 the Lord had made it clear to me that he wanted me to preach His Word and so on a Sunday night in November of 1964 I answered that call. After graduation from High School, my twin brother and I started the fall semester of 1965 at SWBC (now SBU). My first pastorate was Harwood Baptist Church, Nevada, Association. I did not choose a profession, I answered a call. I am still preaching and serving my Lord, I am now 60 years of age and I am not sorry that I answered His call on my life so many years ago. Truly it has been a wonderful journey, with many mountains and many valley's but He has never left me.

3. What is your vision for the future of the Missouri Baptist Convention?
My vision for Missouri Baptists is to see us all in harmony working together to bring people to Jesus. We must see people as our Lord sees them. We need to continue with our partnership ministries. I believe with all my heart that more people can be reached with the Gospel with all of us working together and giving of ourselves, our resources and our time, than we can by ourselves.

4. Please tell me a little about your family.
I met my wife, Clara, while in college at SWBC (SBU) we married on August 27, 1967 and just celebrated our 40th anniversary this past August. We have three children: Cindy Lou Lacy, Rebekah Lynn Stults, and Daniel Jason Williams. (Daniel just returned recently from the Persian Gulf, he is in the U.S. Navy). We have been blessed with 6 wonderful grandchildren.

5. What do you believe are the major issues confronting the Missouri Baptist Convention?
I believe the major issue confronting Missouri Baptists is the division that we now see among us. Also the support of the Cooperative Program, the break away agencies, and the selling of the Baptist Building. We need to get the building we now have sold and relocate to a newer building that will be cost feasible for us.

6. What do you believe are the major issues confronting the local Baptist Church?
Issues confronting the local Missouri Baptist Church, I believe, is the nearest lost soul. Lost souls are all around us, we must have a burden for lost souls. It bothers me as I visit in the churches, that there does not seem to be a burden for lost souls, or a burden over sin. Our altars are empty, there seems to be no tears shed over the souls of men. I see a lot of programs and activities, but I wonder if we have lost the main purpose of that which we have been called to do. Matthew 28:19-20.

7. Do you believe the MBC should continue its legal case against the five former convention agencies who’s trustee boards voted to go self-perpetuating?
Definitely. We should stay the course in getting our former agencies back. We should not give up in this matter.

8. Save Our Convention argues that a small cadre of Missouri Baptists are controlling the state convention from behind the scenes. How do you respond to that?
I do not believe that to be the case. No one was controlling me when I have been at the convention and voted. I voted as I felt lead. No one controlled me when I was chairman of the state nominating committee. We received nominations from individuals, and prayerfully went over the nominations and chose those that we felt the Lord had laid on our hearts for the nomination. I do not understand the thinking of the SOC group therefore I cannot agree with them on this.

9. What is your opinion of The Pathway?
I am so grateful for the Pathway and Don Hinkle. I appreciate the Pathway and the information that is provided us through it each time it comes. I find it to be most informative of what is going on in our convention and throughout the state. Our churches in Barry County are most appreciative and I have heard nothing but good remarks about it from our people.

10. Why should local churches continue to support the Missouri Baptist Convention?
We should continue to support the MBC because it is ours, it is a work of the Lord as we His people join hand in hand in furthering His Kingdom with the on-going work of the: Children's Home, Hannibal LaGrange College, SBU and as our state workers make themselves available to help our churches in Sunday School work, evangelism, College work through the BSU's, missions (local, state and foreign). Why would we not want to support it, we have worked together over the years and have invested ourselves together for the purpose of spreading the good news of Christ our Lord. We are family.

11. Is there anything else that you would like to say to Missouri Baptists?
Yes, be in prayer for the convention for one another. May the Lord's will be done and may He continue to use us all for His glory.