By Vicki Brown
Word&Way News Writer
The Baptist General Convention of Missouri will begin its search for a new executive director May 1. BGCM board members accepted the resignation of current director H.K. Neely at their April 3 meeting. His resignation becomes effective at the conclusion of the convention's annual meeting April 30-May 1.
"Over the past several months, I have become increasingly convinced that a new type of leadership is now needed," Neely wrote in a resignation letter to the board. "It seems to me that 2004 must be a year of serious strategic planning for the BGCM. The workload is growing beyond the capacity of a 'part-time, volunteer director.'"
Two years ago, Neely agreed to serve as the convention's first executive director for six months to a year. He served without a salary, accepting only some limited benefits.
"I am very grateful for his leadership," noted BGCM president Bill Miller after the board meeting. "He has given sacrificial service… Baptists don't have a better friend."
Prior to accepting the BGCM post, Neely served as vice president for denominational relations and dean of Redford College at Southwest Baptist University. He was also the first dean of the Logsdon School of Theology at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas.
Board members named the chairmen of the BGCM's four standing committees and of its volunteer missions committee as the search committee for a new director. Search committee members include Don Allee, Mike Cowan, Henry McBride, Randy Fullerton and Owen Taylor.
In other action, board members approved recommendations by the nominating committee and the committee on committees to fill board and committee posts. The nominees must be ratified by messengers to the annual meeting.
L.D. Silvey, James Hill Jr., Cowan and Taylor, whose terms on the board expire this year, were asked to serve another term. Joyce Bunch was nominated to replace Patty Scott.
Named to the committee on convention committees were Bill Little as chairman, Wendell Page, Ron Crosswhite, Lucy Engelbrecht, Johny Sconce and Marilyn Hall.
Harlan Spurgeon and Wanda Sconce will serve on the committee on committees, with Vernon Case to serve on the corporate documents committee. Richard Carter and Marilyn Manley were named to the credentials committee. Ron Kemp, Richard Johnson, Ron Craine and Henry Addison will serve on the order of business committee.
Board members also heard an update on William Jewell College by WJC president David Sallee.
According to the convention's February financial report, the BGCM distributed more than $19,780 to nine Missouri Baptist institutions and took in more than $9,000 in designated receipts.
The convention's budget stood at a little more than $36,633 for February, with total gifts recorded at almost $50,553.