1999 marks the year that the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention took a major hit. That is the year that the Baptist Foundation of AZ declared bankruptcy. One of the results of that explosion was that the structure of the ASBC was radically changed.
At the Convention in 1999, 17 people (pastors, laymen, a church secretary, and retired Navy Chaplain) from different parts of Az were appointed "to emerge a vision map strategy for our convention." The two-fold mission of the vision task force was: (1) To develop a convention wide vision. (2) To propose any structural or constitutional changes needed to support the vision. They were to report back to the 2000 ASB Convention with their vision and recommendations for its implementation.
They returned with a Mission statement: "The purpose of the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention is to assist the Arizona Southern Baptist Churches in fulfilling the Great Commission."
They also returned 12 different recommendations. These recommendations drastically changed the structure and focus of the Convention at that point. One of those recommendations was for the new structure to be evaluated in 5 years. This structure has been in place for 5 years now.
At our Convention last November, 9 of us were approved as members of an Evaluation Team (eTeam for short). The makeup of the eTeam includes 3 Directors of Missions, a BCM Assistant Director, a lady who works in one of the Associations in the state, and 4 pastors - including a former President of our Convention. Our current President, Dan Coker, attends the meetings as a consultant, along with our State Missionary, Steve Bass, and the lady who makes sure it all happens - Mary.
We met last week to decide how we are going to go about doing our 5 year checkup. We need to report back to the Convention in November, so that is our main deadline. No one does much of anything outside in the summer here in Az, so we are trying to have most of the hard stuff done before it gets kinda warm.
I'm looking forward to finding the perceptions of how the current structure is working in the eyes of others in our state. It is going to be a bit of work (Ok, probably a lot of work), but I think it will be worth it in the long run.
I have the pleasure of designing a survey instrument (Thanks Julie.....) to help us determine the perceptions of leaders in the churches of our state.
I hope to bring updates fairly regularly on what we are doing (as much as possible), and the progress of the evaluation.