State Convention of Baptists in Indiana
May 18 at 5:05 pm
State Conventions, NAMB, Confidentiality and Gag Orders - The Christian Examiner recently carried a story by Joni Hannigan suggesting intimidation, "strong arming", and duress related to a perceived "gag order" imposed by the North American Mission Board upon State Conventions through a negotiated “Strategic Cooperation Agreement." Clearly that is not my perspective. I simply want to recount my journey with NAMB, trusting a different perspective might prove helpful for the current discussion. I negotiated the "Strategic Agreement" with NAMB on behalf of The State Convention of Baptists in Indiana (SCBI). The agreement was presented to SCBI's Executive Board. The Executive Board was and still is in full agreement with the document and signed off on it August 17, 2015, through Executive Board Chair, David Cullison and Executive Director, Cecil W. Seagle signatures. What I find interesting in the Hannigan article is what is implied but not substantiated. The innuendo and charges are, in my estimation, serious. Charges of secrecy, strong arming, gag orders prohibiting or inhibiting free expression or challenges to missiology and strategies proposed by either partner cannot be taken lightly. That is simply not Indiana's experience. But then, I was not interviewed for the article. Every Southern Baptist who wants to know deserves to know what Indiana's agreement actually states – "The parties acknowledge that this Agreement is confidential, and will not disclose the Agreement, or any terms of the Agreement, without the express consent of the other party. The Parties acknowledge that successful cooperation is based on a commitment to positively relating to each other, both publicly and privately. Outside of this Agreement, cooperation may not always mean unanimity, but the Parties agree not to publically express criticism of each other, and will choose to resolve differences in private. In the event that one Party publically criticizes the other, the good faith funding provisions contained herein may be adversely affected, at the discretion of the affected Party." (I. GENERAL PRINCIPLES; (g) and (h)). A bit of history may prove helpful to this discussion. My understanding of the Confidentiality proviso is that a select advisory group of SBC State Executive Directors recommended the conceptual provisions found in (g) and (h) of the document to NAMB's leadership team who agreed with the SBC Executive Director’s recommendations. Indiana’s Strategic Agreement is not and never has been a secretive document. Every state convention has them. We all discuss them at will without threat or intimidation. SBC is large, diverse, demographically, culturally, linguistically challenging. NAMB has an impossible assignment. They must treat every State Convention equitably but not equally. California with 36 mil population count is not Indiana with a 7 mil population count. I do not expect equal. I do expect equitable. I can ONLY speak for SCBI, but I MUST speak for us - NAMB Is not in control, in fact, has never sought control of SCBI's church planting. SCBI has a plan and is fully in charge with a strategic, engaged, reliable partner - NAMB. NAMB cannot fire me! SCBI Executive Board can! CONFIDENTIALITY was put into place and agreed to by SCBI because of a peculiar, particular, Hoosier oriented Kingdom plan. The details of the plan are fully known, fully discussed and fully embraced by SCBI's Executive Board. What other Mid-West State Conventions negotiate is not my business. Like Indiana, each state must have a contextual, Kingdom advancing plan developed and implemented on site. Thus the confidentiality need, but never SECRECY. My journey with NAMB President Kevin Ezell and VP for the Mid-West Steve Davis has proven them to be men of their word, utterly reliable, fully engaged at my request in every effort to reach the 6.5 Mil lost people in Indiana with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I cannot ask for more and I do not expect anything less. The delivery on partnering promises has allowed Indiana to survive a 2007 through 2015 unprecedented economic downward spiral that challenged every ounce of leadership the SCBI Team has, but NAMB never wavered and Indiana Baptists are grateful. This is my perspective, my experience, my journey - my observations from my Indiana leader chair. Cecil W. Seagle Executive Director State Convention of Baptists in Indiana
May 18 at 1:05 pm
It is almost camp season! JAM camp (Jesus, Art and Music) is just one of our SBC Camps this summer! A great opportunity for kids and students to explore their talents and how they can use them for God! Find out more and Register at www.scbi.org/Jam
May 10 at 6:05 pm
Dr Cecil Seagle leading our HILL group in discussions about the impact of the church as an organization.
April 28 at 2:04 pm
Mitch Whidden leading this mornings devotional time at the HILL pastors retreat.
April 28 at 1:04 pm