Changing the Leadership Pool for the VBMB
I pastor Downtown Baptist Church (DBC) in Alexandria. We have a historical connection to First Baptist Church in Alexandria by virtue of the fact that at different times in our history we have called the same place home. Even though we share a common history you would think it odd if DBC allowed First Baptist to send their people to be deacons, teach the 4 year old Sunday School class or serve on committees at DBC. But that is the system we have as Virginia Baptists.
The 42 associations in our state nominate people to serve on the Virginia Baptist Mission Board (VBMB). Those nominations are then put forth by the Committee on Boards and Committees to the BGAV. They are by far the largest constituency on the VBMB. The VBMB is the governing body for the BGAV when it is not in session. It approves the budget of the VBMB, relates with agencies and provides strategic guidance and support to John Upton as he leads Virginia Baptist.
There was a day when it made sense to have representatives from local associations. The local association was the hub of Baptist life and could provide valuable counsel and leadership to the BGAV. That is simply no longer the case.
The VBMB faces great challenges and opportunities. We need our best leaders who can engage, give counsel and create resources to lead us to a new day. Those leaders should be enlisted by the BGAV, not the local associations. They should come from across the Commonwealth and from a wide range of church sizes and styles. It is time to create a new leadership pool for the VBMB.