Why a liaison?
The MBC is undergoing a major reorientation of our missionary staff around a mission rooted in the historic purpose for which our state convention was founded, and around a clear and compelling vision for the future. As a result, all current and future MBC ministries are being evaluated for how effectively they support our vision (Transforming lives and communities with the gospel) and our mission (Making disciples, multiplying churches, and developing leaders).
The MBC, like all organizations, wrestles with the challenges of “mission drift,” a natural tendency to move slowly away from the historic purpose for which the organization was founded. In an attempt to provide an ever-growing slate of programs and resources, our missionary staff and our mission have, at times, expanded to keep pace. While the intentions behind this shift are noble, it’s possible that our attention and resources have been directed to some efforts not sharply focused on our vision and mission.
The reality of “mission drift” became clear in recent years through various studies, such as the Organizational Study Group report in 2011, as well as through a 2014 independent survey of Missouri Baptist church leaders, numerous focus groups, and personal visits with hundreds of Missouri Baptist pastors and laity. The results were clear. The MBC missionary staff needed to return to the mission for which it was established: to cooperate with Missouri Baptists to make disciples, multiply churches, and develop leaders.
Part of this mission, of course, is carrying out the functions of a state convention – such as convening Missouri Baptists for an Annual Meeting, accounting for and distributing Cooperative Program funds and designated gifts, and keeping our churches informed about issues that impact the culture. We’re not only continuing these functions; we’re integrating them into our vision and mission.
At the same time, we are discontinuing some ministry activities, expanding others, and integrating yet others into our overarching strategies to make disciples, multiply churches, and develop leaders. When we say we are discontinuing certain ministry activities, it’s not because they lack value or ministry results, but because our limited resources are being directed to ministries that better align with our vision and mission.
In some cases, we have found that local churches and associations are better equipped to evaluate needs in their communities and respond appropriately. In other cases, local MBC churches serve as models, or even training centers, for other churches, which we celebrate. And in still other cases, consultants or other trained specialists are able to assist Missouri Baptists with their needs at a higher level of effectiveness – and perhaps even at a lower cost – than we could offer.
The bottom line is that MBC missionaries are seeking to be the best possible stewards of the resources Missouri Baptists have entrusted to us; to carry out our historic mission to make disciples, multiply churches, and develop leaders; and to strategically lead all Missouri Baptists to transform lives and communities with the gospel.
Spencer Hutson has served MBC since 1983. He has held positions as associate in church training, director of church administration, church facilities consultant, and stewardship and cooperative program director. Prior to joining the MBC, he was minister of education / youth at First Baptist Church, Poplar Bluff, Mo.
Spencer holds a B.S. degree in psychology from Southwest Baptist University, and a Master of Religious Education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
He and his wife, Valerie, have two children and five grandchildren. They reside in Cuba, Mo., and are members of a new church plant, Deer Creek Church, Cuba.