By Jeff Swart, President, BMA of America
The officers of the Baptist Missionary Association of America, in consultation with the department and agency directors, the Coordinating Council and the national meeting production team, have cancelled the 2020 BMA of America national meeting. The reasons for this historic decision were explained in a press release. (See Baptist Trumpet website at www.baptisttrumpet.com)
Let me just say, that this decision has forced us into territory that we have never trod before and created a boatload of additional work. I am so thankful for the diligent work of the officers of this association, the department and agency directors, the Coordinating Council and the national meeting production team, all of whom have worked without complaining.
Because of our uncompromising belief in the autonomy of the local church, in the information that follows we are presenting the issues to the churches of this great association to vote on — the very issues we would have voted on had the 2020 meeting of the BMA of America been held. We realize that this is not a perfect option, but we feel that it is the best of several options that we have considered.
That being said, it is important that each church know the following:
• Each church in the BMA is allowed one vote by paper ballot or one vote by a digital ballot.
• Due to the present national emergency, the present slate of BMA of America officers — Jeff Swart, president; Dr. Mark Livingston, first vice-president; and Justin Rhodes, second-vice president — will continue to serve another year, as will Paul White, chairman of the Coordinating Council.
• Luis Ortega will have the opportunity to preach the 2021 annual message.
• Because the directors of our departments and agencies stand as nominees, and other nominations are open from the floor of the association, this is not a viable option this year. Therefore, we are giving our churches the opportunity to reaffirm the present department or agency directors to serve another year.
• Because the members of the Advisory Committee of the Missions Department are elected from the floor of the association, those members scheduled to go off the committee in 2020 (Richard Smith, Randy Shepherd and Jeff Swart) will continue to serve until April 2021. All other trustee members of all departments and agencies will be elected on this ballot.
Additionally, everyone is invited to attend the commissioning service for the newly elected missionaries in conjunction with the SOAR Conference, the first week of July at the Gaylord Hotel in Grapevine, Texas, assuming SOAR is not cancelled.
If you have made reservations at a Waxahachie area hotel, please contact that hotel and cancel your reservations so that you will not be charged for your rooms.
We are asking that each church send an offering with your ballot for the Minute and Meeting Fund so that we can cover the cost of the printing and mailing of these ballots to our churches. The Minute and Meeting Fund is presently in the red approximately $25,000, and we need your help to rectify this situation.
You can access a digital ballot and vote online by logging on to www.bmaamerica.org/2020ballot or mail your paper ballot to: BMA America P.O. Box 878, Conway, Ark. 72033. If you choose to vote by digital ballot, please remember to send in an offering.
Thanks for your patience and understanding.
Proposed Amendments to the Statement of Principles of Cooperation
Since the BMAA Department known as DiscipleGuide no longer exists, the Coordinating Council proposes that the Department of Camp Ministries and the Publishing Department be re-created similar to the way that they functioned (up to 2004) before the creation of DiscipleGuide. If these changes are adopted by the churches, then Article X — Department of Church Resources would be replaced. We propose the following changes to the Statement of Principles of Cooperation:
Article X — Department of Camp Ministries
Section 1. This association shall elect a Department of Camp Ministries board of trustees consisting of fifteen (15) members, eight (8) of whom shall constitute a quorum.
Section 2. The duties of the board of trustees are:
A. To act in its field as an executive of the association between annual sessions, performing all duties entrusted to it by the association.
B. To fulfill the purpose of the department, which is to provide a retreat from outside pressures to focus on spiritual needs through Christian fellowship and evangelical ministries.
C. To be responsible for the physical properties and the establishment of administrative policies relative to the operation of the camp.
D. To fill any vacancy between sessions that may occur in the Executive Director’s office.
E. To require each applicant for a position in the Department of Camp Ministries to sign a statement that he/she is in agreement with the Statement of Principles of Cooperation and the Doctrinal Statement of this association before election.
Article XII — Publications Department
Section 1. This association shall elect a Publications Committee, which shall also serve as the corporation’s board of directors consisting of fifteen (15) members, eight (8) of whom shall constitute a quorum.
Section 2. The duties of the board of Directors are:
A. To act in its field as an executive of the association between annual sessions, performing all duties entrusted to it by the association.
B. To fill vacancies between sessions that may occur among staff writer positions and the Executive Director’s office.
C. To recommend to the annual session all writers of publications. Special writers (non-staff writers) may be elected by the committee between sessions.
D. To require each applicant for a position in the Publications Department to sign a statement that he/she is in agreement with the Statement of Principles of Cooperation and the Doctrinal Statement of this association before election.
Section 3. The publications of this association will be a complete course of Bible Study literature and such other literature and publications as the association may deem advisable.
Section 4. All literature bearing the name of the Baptist Publishing House, the publishing agency of the Publications Department, or any other trade names as the board of Directors shall authorize, including literature published in foreign languages, will be under the supervision of the Executive Director of Publications and the Publications Committee.
Section 5. The Publications Committee shall elect annually a subcommittee of three (3) hereafter called the Audit Committee. The responsibilities of the Audit Committee are:
A. To oversee the financial integrity of this department.
B. To consult with the director as often as necessary.
C. To make recommendations concerning the finances of the department to the Publications Committee.
We propose the following addition to the Statement of Principles of Cooperation concerning the BMA of America Service Team which is neither a department nor an agency of this association:
Article XVII – BMA Of America Service Team
Section 1. Purpose: Baptist Missionary Association (BMA) of America Service Team (BMA Service Team) is a wholly owned subsidiary of the departments of the Association located at the BMA Global Ministry Center in Conway, Arkansas. The BMA Service Team was created for the purpose of providing an entity designed with the capacity to share employees and assets, thereby minimizing costs and maximizing return on investment for support services and functions.
Section 2. Governance: BMA Service Teamactivities are supervised by the executive directors of departments and agencies located at the BMA Global Ministry Center in Conway, Arkansas. To oversee day-to-day operations, the executive directors may hire, in cooperation together, a Director of Operations. The BMA Service Team annual operating and capital budgets are approved by the respective boards of the governing departments with the allocated share included in each entity’s annual financial plan presented to the Association. The expenses for these shared services are pooled and allocated using Activity Based Costing methodology. This accounting procedure safeguards each department so that it is charged only for the applicable costs related to that organization’s activities. Non-allocated costs for BMA Service Team are apportioned based on each departments’ prorated share of allocated costs.
Section 3. Specific duties assigned to the BMA Service Team are:
A. To provide shared services to supporting BMA departments and agencies to minimize overhead costs and prevent duplicate activity. These services include accounting, conferences, human resources, information services, information technology, production, and development.
B. To provide a legal entity to hold shared employees and assets of BMA departments located at the BMA Global Ministry Center in Conway, Arkansas.
C. To provide services to departments, agencies, and applicable committees in producing the annual BMA national meeting.
If the proposed changes concerning the Department of Camp Ministries, Publications Department, and Shared Services are adopted, then the Articles in the Statement of Principles of Cooperation will be renumbered as follows (wording in bold italics indicates a proposed change):
Article I – Name
Article II – Purpose
Article III – Membership
Article IV – Nature
Article V – Policy
Article VI – Powers
Article VII – Officers
Article VIII – Coordinating Council
Article IX – Department of Missions
Article X – Department of Camp Ministries
Article XI – Christian Education Department
Article XII – Publications Department
Article XIII – Lifeword Broadcast Ministries Department
Article XIV – Ministers Resource Services Agency
Article XV – Moral Action Agency
Article XVI – BMAA Foundation
Article XVII – BMA Of America Service Team
Article XVIII – Committee on Arrangements/Production
Article XIX – Standing Committees
Article XX – Enrollment and Finance Committee
Article XXI – Nominating Committee
Article XXII – Meetings
Article XXIII – Funds and Properties
Article XXIV – Amendments
We further propose the following changes to the old Article XXII—Amendments, new Article XXIV, if the other proposed amendments are adopted. The reason for this proposal is to bring the Statement of Principles of Cooperation in line with our actions this year of not printing the Recommendations Booklet (wording in bold italics indicates a proposed change).
Section 1, Letter A — Proposed amendments to this Statement of Principles of Cooperation must be submitted in writing to the clerks of the association no later than February 1 prior to the annual meeting. It shall be the responsibility of the clerks to provide a copy of each proposed amendment, no later than February 15, to be published in the Recommendations Booklet which will be distributed to the churches. Any additional expenses involved in developing and distributing the Recommendations Booklet shall be paid from the Minute and Meeting Expense Fund.
Section 2, Letter A — Proposed amendments to the Doctrinal Statement must be submitted by a cooperating church to the clerks of the association no later than February 1 prior to the annual meeting. It shall be the responsibility of the clerks to provide a copy of each proposed amendment, no later than February 15, to be published in the Recommendations Booklet which will be distributed to the churches. Any additional expenses involved in developing and distributing the Recommendations Booklet shall be paid from the Minute and Meeting Expense Fund.
DiscipleGuide Board Recommendations
The DiscipleGuide Board of Trustees respectfully submits the following recommendations regarding the Baptist Publishing House:
- That Dr. Charley Holmes be elected as Executive Director of Baptist Publishing House for one year.
- That the proposed budget of $465,855 for Baptist Publishing House be approved.
- That DiscipleGuide be dissolved and the Baptist Publishing House operate as independent department of the BMA of America as defined in the proposed changes to the Statement of Principles of Cooperation.
The DiscipleGuide Board of Trustees respectfully submits the following recommendations regarding Daniel Springs Baptist Camp:
- That the proposed 2020 budget of $567,440 for Daniel Springs Baptist Camp be approved.
- That Daniel Springs Baptist Camp stand as an independent department of the BMA of America apart from Baptist Publishing House and conferences as defined in the proposed changes to the Statement of Principles of Cooperation.
- That the names presented by the Nominating Committee of the BMAA be approved as the new Board of Trustees for Daniel Springs Baptist Camp.
- We recommend the reelection of Jason Prewitt as the Executive Director of Daniel Springs Baptist Camp.
Lifeword Board Recommendations
- We recommend that the proposed operating budget of $1,475,285 for fiscal year 2021 be adopted.
- We recommend that Sunday, Oct. 18, 2021 be designated as Lifeword Sunday across the BMA.
- That every BMA church be encouraged to support Lifeword on a monthly basis as part of their Great Commission strategy.
- That the housing allowance be set at $2,500 per month for the Director of Operations, Director of Digital Broadcasting, Director of Finance and the Executive Director for this year and beyond until amended.
- We recommend the reelection of Donny Parrish as Executive Director.
BMA Seminary Trustee Recommendations
- Affirm the proposed budget of $1,435,043.
- Re-affirm the appointment of Dr. Charley Holmes as president.
- That each church observe Sunday, May 17, 2020, as Scholarship Sunday with: (a). Special prayer for our graduates. (b). Receive a special scholarship offering to support the training of future BMA ministers and missionaries on that Sunday.
Advisory Committee Recommendations for the Missions Department
- We recommend the election of Elvis Garcia as the North American Hispanic Church Planting Coordinator.
- We recommend the election of Cristian and Vanessa Martinez as international missionaries to Romania.
- We recommend the election of Tyler and Emily Brantley as international missionaries to South America.
- We recommend the election of Buddy and Taffy Johnson as international missionaries to Ecuador.
- We recommend the election of Gavin and Haley Roberts as North American church planters to Utah.
- We recommend that Brad and Heidi Faulk be supported with $2,000/month as they replant and strive to reach sustainability in the state of Washington.
- We recommend the reelection of Dr. John David Smith as Executive Director of Missions.
Moral Action Board Recommendations
- That our BMA of America reaffirm and approve five (5) Moral Action resolutions and that they are mailed to the President, United States Senators, the United States House of Representatives and the United States Supreme Court.
- That we embrace and support the National Day of Prayer May 7, 2020, and the Sanctity of Life emphasis on a designated Sunday in January 2020. That we go to the town halls, city halls and county courthouses and join other Americans in prayer for our nation.
- That we humbly request that these resolutions be printed in our BMA state newspapers:
- For the U.S. Coins — “In God We Trust” was first inscribed on American coinage in 1864 and in 1956 Congress made it the National Motto of the United States. We resolve to continue supporting this.
- For the U.S. Congress — Congress has opened its session with prayer since 1774, usually given by its official chaplain in both houses. We resolve to continue support of these prayers.
- For the U.S. Flag — Congress placed “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954 to combat the rise of atheism and communism. We resolve to continue this pledge.
- For the U.S. Court — Since 1820, the U.S. Supreme Court has opened its sessions with the unison prayer of “God save the United States and this Honorable Court.” We resolve to support this prayer pledge.
- For the Presidential Oath — Since the first president George Washington added “so help me God” to the inaugural oath April 30, 1789, every U.S. President since has likewise asked for God’s help in their Presidency. We resolve to continue supporting this brave oath.
- That Dr. John M. Adams represent the BMA of America in Washington, D.C. by encouraging and contacting our United States Senators and Congressmen and Congresswomen and other Christian moral/political organizations, such as American Family Association, Focus on the Family, and Family Research Council.
- That our local associations, our local and state WMA and Brotherhoods, and our local churches and pastors give either a monthly or a yearly financial gift to Moral Action.
- That all our BMA churches schedule June 28 or July 5, 2020, as the Moral Action “Freedom Offering” Sunday. This is an opportunity to honor or give memorials for our soldiers, both past and present.
- That the proposed budget of $65,040 be approved.
- That Dr. John M. Adams be reelected as Executive Director of Moral Action.
Ministers Resource Services Board Recommendations
- That we adopt the proposed operating budget of $112,287 for fiscal 2021.
- That $12,000 of the executive director’s salary be designated as housing allowance.
- That we recognize Bro. Dwayne Ashcraft for his faithful service to the MRS board.
- That Dr. Steve Crawley be reelected as Executive Director.
BMA Foundation Board Recommendations
- That the proposed 2020-2021 operating budget of $35,564 be approved.
- That the Executive Director’s salary be set at $7,200 and that he be paid a $500 Christmas bonus in December.
- That Charles Attebery be reelected as Executive Director.
- That BMAA church members prayerfully consider including the BMA Foundation in their estate plans. An undesignated bequest will benefit all BMA of America departments and agencies or individuals may designate their bequests as desired.
Resolution on Beholding the Majesty of God
First Baptist Church • Cave Springs, Ark.
Whereas, the Scriptures are filled with robust, soul-piercing revelation of the triune God in majesty (Exod. 15:11) as He is utterly unique in His transcendence, since He is infinite (Job 11:7-9), eternal (Psa. 90:2), and unchangeable in His being (James 1:17, Exod. 3:14), wisdom (Psa. 147:5), power (Rev. 4:8), holiness (Isa. 6:3), justice, goodness, and truth (Exod. 34:6), and
Whereas, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Prov. 9:10) and the Apostle Paul prayed that the church in Colossae would increase in its knowledge of God (Col. 1:9-10), and
Whereas, the Baptist Missionary Association of America stands in great need of growing in our fear of the Lord and knowledge of Him, and
Whereas, the Lord of hosts is jealous for His own glory, refusing to share it with any false gods (Isa. 42:8), and dishonored when His people turn to sources outside of His divine revelation in order to analyze or understand the greatest need of a pagan and godless culture (II Tim. 3:16-17), and
Whereas, God will not hold those guiltless who take His name in vain (Exod. 20:7) by thinking less of Him than they ought, knowing less of Him than they ought, and loving Him less than they ought, and
Whereas, lack of awareness of the majesty of God is the root cause of so many serious issues churches and denominations, even our Baptist brethren, face in the 21st century (Psa. 115:8), including, but not limited to, the lack of trust in the sufficiency of Scripture, being pro-LGBTQ+ lifestyles; having women preaching to and teaching/exercising authority over men in the church (I Tim. 2:12), ignoring sexual abuse and covering it up, a lack of concern for evangelism, purporting a man-centered theology, and lacking biblical church discipline and concern for regenerate church membership in local churches, and
Whereas, our triune God is honored and glorified by His people when they humbly adore Him for who He is and seek to adjust their lives in all ways possible to conformity of His will as revealed in His Scriptures (John 4:23-24), and
Whereas, the chief end of our existence is to glorify this great and holy God and to enjoy Him forever and ever (Psa. 145:1-3), now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the messengers to the BMA of America Annual Meeting, assembled in Waxahachie, Texas, April 27-30, 2020, (sic) acknowledge our desire to worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness as He is revealed in the Scriptures; and be it further
Resolved, That we call upon all BMA churches, pastors, departments, agencies, leaders, laypersons, and associations to repent of any and all ways that God has not been honored, through sins of blatant disregard of His Word or sins of ignorance or neglect of His Word; and be it further
Resolved, That we call upon all BMA Baptists to behold the Majesty of God in humble reverence through means of prayer and Bible intake, both corporately and personally, and having an intentional local church focus on preaching the majesty of God in regular Sunday services as well as special emphases throughout the year on beholding God together; and be it finally
Resolved, That we warn churches and individuals who do not take the majesty of God seriously that not only will there be adverse consequences in this life, but also in the one to come.
Unanimously Approved for submission in the Regular Business Conference of First Baptist Church, Cave Springs Arkansas of March 8, 2020; Michael Battenfield, Pastor; Gaylene Vanhook, Church Clerk
Nominating Committee Report
• BMA Foundation — (Term to expire 2021)Marilyn Battles (to replace Craig Cloud); (Term to Expire 2025) Judy Wallace of Ark.andPat McCown of Texas
• International Revolving Loan Fund — (Term to Expire 2023)Bryson Haden of Miss.
• North American Revolving Loan Fund —(Term to Expire 2023)Michael Kelley of Wash.
• BMA Seminary — (Term to Expire 2025) Larry Geraldson of Miss.; Nick Kerry of Texas and Josh Bullock of Ark.
• Committee on Arrangements — (Term to Expire 2023) Bill Thornton of Ark.
• Lifeword — (Term to Expire 2022) Steve Stringer of Miss. (to replace Harold Barnard); (Term to Expire 2025) Yalanda Merrell of Ark.; Rodney Burns of La. and Ross Burgess of Ark.
• Ministers Resource Services — (Term to Expire 2025) Kenneth Lott of Miss. and Dennis Clark of Okla.
• Moral Action — (Term to Expire 2025) Dan McGee of Mo. And Jerry Jolly of Ark.
• Baptist Publishing House — (Elected on a staggered basis beginning this year)— (Term to Expire 2021) Brian Kingston of Mo., Emily Attebery of Texas and Gene Hankins of Okla.; (Term to Expire 2022) Jeremy Franklin of Texas, Clifford McQuillen of Mo. and Ryan Burchett of Texas; (Term to Expire 2023) Justin Rhodes of Miss., Charles Johnson of Texas and Johnnie Rose of Texas; (Term to Expire 2024) Bart Herrington of Ark., Scott Carson of Miss. and Billy Byrd of Texas; (Term to Expire 2025) David Yarbrough of Texas, Derrick Bremmer of Ark. and Justin Cameron of Miss.
• Daniel Springs Baptist Camp — (Elected on a staggered basis beginning this year) — (Term to Expire 2021) Aaron Middleton of Ark., Keith Head of Ark. and Emilee Baker of Texas; (Term to Expire 2022) Pam Chavers of Texas, Billy Sheets of Ark. and Thomas Mobly of Okla.; (Term to Expire 2023) Clayton Edgar of Okla., Kevin Cook of Texas and Diana Morris of Texas; (Term to Expire 2024) Devin Diguilio of Ark., Charlotte Johnson of Texas and John Gradberg of Texas; (Term to Expire 2025) Katie Holliman of Texas, Frank Escamilla of Texas and Robert Murphy of Texas.
• Nominations from the BMA of America Officers for the Nominating Committee — (Terms to Expire 2023) Frank Garrido of Calif., Aaron Polok of Kansas and Zach Roger of Miss.
Remember, this ballot must be received by Wednesday April 29th and to include an offering for the Minute and Meeting Fund.
Thank you for your cooperation!
— Jeff Swart, Dr. Mark Livingston, and Justin Rhodes
Click here to download a printable ballot or use the digital ballot below