California Baptist Foundation to relocate main office to Ontario

By Terry Barone on August 29, 2016

FRESNO — California Baptist Foundation will move its principal office from Fresno to Ontario in the near future as the result of a vote by the board of directors Aug. 19 during their summer meeting.

The action is part of a three-pronged recommendation to restructure and rebrand the 64-year-old California Southern Baptist Convention organization.

The plan calls for the Foundation to lease 6,000 square feet of space from Gateway Seminary of the Southern Baptist Convention (formerly Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary), which recently relocated its main campus from Mill Valley to Ontario.

Foundation President Philip Kell noted CBF plans to maintain a presence in Fresno after the relocation, adding that executives are in conversation with CSBC about securing a portion of its Ministry Resource Center to house several Foundation employees who will serve Central and Northern California.

The recommendations were presented after a six-month study by a “Future of the Foundation Task Force.” The timing of the move is still in the planning stages, but is expected to occur by the end of 2017.

Kell recommended the creation of the task force in February after being convinced God was “opening doors of opportunity” that could help CBF better serve California churches and have greater Kingdom impact.

“I believe we are at a crossroads moment; a moment when operational circumstances have intersected with providential opportunities which could propel us into God’s preferred future for His Foundation,” Kell told directors.

Operational circumstances Kell referred to include pending staff changes, necessary 21st century operational adjustments and adequate resources.

Kell noted staff vacancies coupled with several key staff recently retiring or who will retire soon are major factors in restructuring. Concerning operational adjustments, he said CBF “already is in the process of changing operating systems and methodologies to increase Kingdom impact.”

CBF staff are “fully aware of this change in the life of our ministry,” Kell reported. “We are committed to making sure each of them is treated with the respect, concern and the attention they deserve as we transition to this new future.”

Kell said some employees will retire, some will move to Ontario, some will serve in Fresno, while others may choose new career opportunities.

“We want each one to pursue God’s preferred future for them, and we will work with each of them to define and pursue that personal plan.”

Kell noted God had provided resources — a building in Fresno that is paid for, cash reserves and endowments — that allow CBF to make an investment in the future.

“There are times when a course adjustment is needed but the resources are just not available. That is not the case for us.”

The recommendation came after the task force determined nearly 60 percent of CSBC churches are in Southern California while only 22 percent of the Foundation’s church clientele are there.

“We are clearly under-serving our churches in the south, and with offices in Ontario and Fresno we will not only be better able to serve our churches, but also be better able to coordinate our efforts with key ministry partners such as CSBC, California Baptist University in Riverside, Gateway Seminary and local associations.”

The recommendation authorizes Kell to list CBF’s building for sale and finalize a lease with the seminary and the Convention. The recommendation also calls for Kell and the task force to present more detailed relocation, restructuring and rebranding plans at the February 2017 board meeting.

Kell said the vote by directors to move is “an exciting new future of service to our churches, their Convention and related entities. We exist to serve them, and we are determined to do it better.”

Directors also voted to establish a $5 million line of credit for operational purposes, allowing any two officers to approve use of up to $1 million, though they must notify the board’s finance and operations committee within 10 days of the action. The recommendation also gives the finance and operations committee authority to borrow up to $2 million; any amount over that must be approved by the full board.

Board members also approved a 2017 budget of $2,222,500, nearly 5 percent below 2016’s $2,333,700. Though the budget calls for a $67,000 surplus, it may have to be adjusted in relation to the relocation.

The largest revenue streams of the spending plan are $1,060,000, or 47.69 percent, for trust services, and $760,500, or 34.22 percent, from endowment earnings.

The largest expenditure in the budget is $1,255,500, or 56.49 percent, earmarked for payroll and employee benefits. The second largest expenditure allocation is $238,000, or 10.71 percent, for marketing and public relations efforts.

In other business, directors

  • approved legal counsel for 2017,
  • approved a bylaws change to allow CBF’s principal office to be anywhere in California; and the organization to establish branch or subordinate offices where the corporation is qualified to transact business,
  • elected Jonathan Jarboe as chairman and Rob Zinn as vice chairman for 2016-17 and
  • approved meeting at Gateway Seminary Feb. 16-17.
  • This Convention serves our culturally diverse congregations as we fulfill the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.