MBC Executive Board okays five to pick director search committee, names Hughes as interim - Word&Way

MBC Executive Board okays five to pick director search committee, names Hughes as interim

JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri Baptist Convention Executive Board met in special session on Jan. 14 and appointed a subcommittee that will recommend members of an executive director search committee.

The information was released in a press statement following the closed-door session.

The convention had been without an executive director since Jan. 6 when David Tolliver tendered his resignation. The MBC noted the resignation in a Jan. 7 press release, saying the resignation was due to "immoral behavior."

The five men on the subcommittee charged with picking members of the search committee and recommending their slate when the Executive Board meets in regular session on April 12 are all from the southwestern area of Missouri. They include Monte Dunn, pastor, Pleasant View Baptist Church, Highlandville; John Marshall, MBC president and pastor, Second Baptist Church, Springfield; Jim Wells, director of missions, Tri-County Baptist Association, Nixa; Denny Marr, associate minister, Calvary Baptist Church, Republic; and Jody Shelenhamer, a Bolivar businessman and member of Wellspring Baptist Fellowship, Bolivar.

The Executive Board unanimously named Jay Hughes, 40, associate executive director of support services since April 2009, as the interim executive director until Tolliver's successor is named. A week earlier, Hughes had been named temporary interim. Hughes joined the staff in July 2003 as MBC controller.

The Monroe, La., native earned a bachelor's degree in accounting in 1992 and a masters degree in business administration in 1993 from Louisiana Tech University. He is a certified public accountant and a former accounting firm partner in Monroe.

Hughes and his wife, Niki, and their two daughters are members of Memorial Baptist Church in Jefferson City. He serves as a deacon.

"I humbly accept this appointment by the Executive Board," Hughes said after the meeting. "Please pray for me and the MBC staff as we move forward together. I am grateful for the great team at the MBC."

"The Board also discussed a process for ministering to the Tolliver family," according to the press release.

Tolliver, 60, had served as the chief executive officer of the convention of about 2,000 churches with combined membership of 600,000 Baptists since February 2009.

Before that, Tolliver was for 22 months the interim executive director after the Executive Board fired his predecessor, David Clippard, in 2009, for what were described as unprofessional conduct and comments on his part and low morale among the organization's staff.

According to a widely distributed e-mail from Marshall, Tolliver's resignation came "in response to allegations made by a woman."

Tolliver originally came on staff in 2005 as associate executive director over the communications/development team as Cooperative Program specialist. The St. Louis native often described himself as a fourth-generation Missouri Southern Baptist pastor.

He earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from Dallas Baptist University and master of divinity and doctor of ministry degrees from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Tolliver served three Missouri congregations as pastor: Calvary Baptist and Oak Hill Baptist in St. Louis, which merged; Friendship Baptist in California; and Pisgah Baptist Church, Excelsior Springs.

Tolliver served on the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee (1992-2000), SBC Committee on Nominations (1999); MBC Agency Restoration Group; Southwest Baptist University Board (2002-2007); and Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Board (2002-2008). In addition, he served as MBC president (2004) and recording secretary (2002) and president of the Missouri Baptist Pastors Conference (2000).

Tolliver and his wife Myra have two children and two grandchildren.