JEFFERSON CITY — Seven Missouri Baptist Convention campus ministers will lose their jobs at the end of June as a result of organizational changes approved by the MBC Executive Board meeting in closed session on June 4 in Jefferson City.
According to a story released to The Pathway, the changes made during the special called meeting include removing the position of “campus minister” from the MBC job inventory and adding the positions of “collegiate ministry regional coordinator” and “collegiate ministry international coordinator.”
The six full-time campus ministers who will lose their jobs effective June 30 are Jason Allen, Central Missouri State University; Gene Austin, Truman State University; Jerry Carmichael, University of Missouri-Columbia; Dean Finley, Missouri State University; Bob Houchins, Southeast Missouri State University; and Ed Moncada, international collegiate minister. Part-timer Randy Dudik, University of Missouri-Rolla, also will lose his job.
Executive Board members reportedly voted unanimously on the new plan, amending the job inventory and approving an undisclosed severance package for each of the campus ministers who positions are being eliminated.
MBC student ministry director Matt Kearns, who originally came to the staff as student evangelism specialist, proposed the plan behind closed doors during the special called meeting. The Pathway indicated former MBC associate executive director Jim Austin, recently named executive director for South Carolina Baptists, shaped the new approach.
Kearns reportedly will quickly try to fill three regional coordinator positions and deploy as many as 14 campus missionaries, part-time employees charged with connecting with students, faculty and staff in campus settings, according to The Pathway.
What has not been addressed publicly is the MBC’s future relationship with 15 part-time and bivocational college ministers in Missouri who are not tied to the state convention.
A key component of the new strategy will be the development of campus collegiate church plants, also referred to as collegiate-focused church planting.
“His (Austin’s) analysis was that we needed a restructure so that we could more effectively reach the campuses in Missouri,” interim executive director David Tolliver told The Pathway.
“The people who are currently doing student ministries simply cannot do what we want to see done,” he explained. “They’re good people. They’ve done a good job in the assignment that they were given. We simply think that the assignment needs to be different so that we can reach the students of our state.”
None of the seven is being terminated because of poor job performance, Tolliver said.
“As an interim executive director, I didn’t plan to do any restructuring,” he said. “A restructure of this proportion is not something that you would normally endeavor on an interim basis.” The plan had been in process since well before he became interim leader, Tolliver said.
“I believe with all my heart that this action today is the first step in the convention coming back together,” Tolliver said. “While certainly there are divisions in the convention, and there are emotions than run high, we are moving forward in ministry.”
Forty of the 53 board members were present for the special meeting. (6-14-07)