CSBC Executive Board cancels 2020 annual meeting

By Terry Barone; photo credit Chris Montgomery Unsplash on September 11, 2020

FRESNO—Cancellation of the 2020 California Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting topped items of business at the CSBC Executive Board meeting held virtually on Sept. 10.

Other items of note approved by the Board include:

  • Adoption of an operating budget for 2021 with restored percentages (35%) for Southern Baptist Convention worldwide missions
  • Election of a leader for the CSBC Evangelism and Missions Initiatives Team
  • A five-year partnership with the International Mission Board East Asian Peoples Affinity Group

With the cancellation of the meeting, the Board also recommended that CSBC produce a webcast to report to CSBC churches in lieu of the annual meeting. The webcast will premiere on Tuesday, Oct. 27 and will celebrate achievements of California Southern Baptists since October 2019. The video presentation will remain online for viewing after its premiere.

On recommendation from the Committee on Convention Operations (COCO), the Executive Board voted unanimously to cancel the annual gathering because of COVID-19. The action was taken in response to a recommendation from the Committee on Convention Operations which is responsible for planning the annual gathering.

This is the only time in the 80-year history of the organization to not hold an annual meeting. The gathering was slated Oct. 27-28 at Clovis Hills Community Church in Clovis.

The recommendation noted COCO had monitored the COVID situation since early May and with no signs from the State of California to allow large gatherings to meet and with the continued spread of the coronavirus, the committee voted Aug. 20 to recommend cancellation of the meeting.

Since then State officials have imposed more rigid guidelines on counties to move through tiered stages for reopening. As of Sept. 10, Fresno County, where the annual meeting would have been held, is in the “purple” tier with a risk level defined as “widespread.”

Neither the CSBC Constitution nor Bylaws address the possibility of cancelling an annual meeting. However, legal counsel advised that the Executive Board has authority to make the decision since the Board is the Convention “ad interim” as noted in Article VI, Section 1 of the CSBC Constitution. The governing document gives the Board “authority to act for the Convention between its sessions except that it cannot impose its will upon the Convention by contravening any action of the Convention taken at its regular session.”

Pete Ramirez, CSBC associate executive director, shared results of a survey of CSBC pastors which showed the group evenly divided on the issue of an in-person meeting. He added the “overwhelming majority, more than 90 percent, responded they would be willing to watch an online webcast.”

For more information about cancellation of the meeting, read another article and find answers to “frequently asked questions.”

Evangelism leader elected

Jason Blankenship, director of missions for Mid-Valley Southern Baptist Association since 2016, was elected evangelism team leader for California Southern Baptists.

Blankenship, a long-time California Southern Baptist has ministered in the state since 2000 and has 15 years of experience serving CSBC churches in ministry roles such as senior pastor and youth pastor.

Blankenship has served as moderator of Sequoia Baptist Association and was chairman of the CSBC Committee on Board Nominations in 2013. He also is the founder and a leader of the NexGen Pastors Network for pastors under 40.

He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Fresno Pacific University and Gateway Seminary, respectively. He currently is working on a doctor of ministry degree in executive leadership at Gateway.

Blankenship succeeds Pete Ramirez, who was elected in January 2020 to be the CSBC associate executive director. Ramirez has been serving as interim director.

2021 budget approved with restored percentages for SBC world missions

A 2021 CSBC Executive Board Ministries Budget of $6,963,620 was approved by the Board. The budget includes a Cooperative Program objective of $6,245,000. The 2021 budget reinstates 5 percent to CP gifts earmarked for world missions through the Southern Baptist Convention.

In 2020, messengers approved a 5 percent reduction in CP giving to world missions to meet the needs of Jenness Park in anticipation of shortfalls compared to operating expenses. This was an effort to get the camp on firm financial footing. However, COVID-19 halted all camping opportunities and with no income and mounting deficits, Jenness Park was sold.

Under the 2021 spending plan, CSBC would give $2,185,750, or 35 percent, to the SBC Executive Committee. Other allocations include CSBC Executive Board ministries – 62 percent, or $3,871,900; California Baptist University – 2 percent, or $124,900; and The Baptist Foundation of California – 1 percent, or $62,450.

CSBC/IMB Partnership approved

The Board also approved a five-year partnership with the International Mission Board East Asian Peoples Affinity Group. The partnership begins Nov. 1 with the purpose of proclaiming the gospel, making disciples, training and equipping leaders, and planting healthy multiplying churches among East Asian peoples, and through such missional activities to increase the praying, giving, going, and sending efforts of CSBC churches.

Shawn Beaty, CSBC president, said he was “very excited” about the partnership with IMB and believes the diversity of CSBC churches, especially Asian congregations, “have incredible potential to take the gospel deeper into East Asia.”

The partnership is already backed by more than a dozen CSBC churches, including those which minister to East Asians in California.

Elections

Related to the cancellation of the meeting, the Board approved new trustees and directors to serve California Baptist University and The Baptist Foundation of California, respectively until the next annual meeting. The Board did not elect a slate of members for itself since that would make the Executive Board a “self-perpetuating” entity. Those elected to serve the two entities are the persons who were scheduled for presentation to messengers at the annual meeting by the CSBC Committee on Nominations.

Executive Board members whose terms were to expire in 2020 are being asked to continue until their successors can be elected by the messengers at an annual meeting.

New nominees elected to serve on the CBU board are Walt Crabtree, Sierra Baptist Church, Pioneer; Dawn Dwyer, First Baptist Church, Fair Oaks; Robert Gates, a global trustee, Taylors First Baptist Church, Greenville, SC; Marni Jimenez, Harvest Christian Fellowship, Riverside; Sherri Maxsom, a global trustee, The Legacy Community Church, Phoenix, AZ; Pat Pavlian, Immanuel Baptist Church, Highland; Erica Ward, First Baptist Church, San Francisco; and Anne Yipp, Chinese Baptist Church of Orange County, Anaheim. Being reelected are Agustin (Gus) Reyes, a global trustee, Life Church, Leander, Texas, and Jim Williams, Clovis Hills Community Church, Clovis.

Deryl Lackey, Immanuel Baptist Church, Highland, is the only new nominee elected to serve on the Foundation board of directors. Those reelected are Gregory Perkins, The View Church, Menifee; Dennis Schmierer, Woodward Park Baptist Church, Fresno; and Martin Stoops, a global director, Park Hill Baptist Church, Kansas City, MO.

The Board also elected two persons to fill vacancies on the Executive Board. They are Elizabeth Morelos (Region 4), Rise Church, Fresno, replacing Jimmy Farrell, and Kevin James (at large), New Creation Fellowship, Tracy, replacing Young Su McCann.

“Interim vacancies on all boards may be filled only by the Executive Board of the Convention . . . only until the next annual session,” according to the CSBC Constitution, in Article V, Section 3.

Even though their terms would expire at the 2021 CSBC Annual Meeting in accordance with the CSBC Constitution, both would be eligible for reelection.

Others elected during the meeting include Greg Davidson, pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Vacaville as chairman for 2021 and David Yi, pastor of New Vision Church in Milpitas, as vice chairman. Duane Tadlock, a member of Fourteenth Avenue Baptist Church in Sacramento was elected member-at-large to serve on the Board’s Executive Committee for 2021.

Other business

The Board approved two congregations for membership. They are: Amazing Jesus Christ International in Inglewood and Oakhurst Evangelical Free Church Oakhurst.

Board members approved two amendments related to its bylaws which updated the duties of the Communications Committee and the Board Development Committee.

The Strategic Ministries Committee introduced a recommendation to amend the CSBC Executive Board Bylaws to delete their oversight of Jenness Park Christian Camp which was sold earlier in 2020.

The Communications Committee introduced a recommendation to amend the CSBC Constitution and Bylaws to delete references to the “denominational” paper and “The California Southern Baptist” since the newspaper was discontinued after the April 2020 edition.

The next meeting of the Executive Board is scheduled Jan. 20-22, 2021 in Fresno.

This Convention serves our culturally diverse congregations as we fulfill the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.