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Executive Council Meeting - August 12

The Executive Council of Three Forks Baptist Association met on August 12, 2019 at Three Forks Baptist Association. Those in attendance were: Seth Norris, Pat Dalton, Jennifer Waldorf, Dianne Brown, Darrell Hobbs, Travis Burt, David Cooper, Mike Grove, Mike Smith, Jeff Younce, Ben Bolick and Chuck Campbell.


Seth brought the meeting to order and opened the meeting with prayer.


The meeting notes from the last meeting, held on June 24, were reviewed.  It was noted that the meeting notes did not reflect that Travis Burt and Jeff Younce were present at the meeting. Travis Burt moved that the meeting notes be amended to reflect this. David Cooper seconded the motion and the motion passed by voice vote.


Seth Norris recommended that meeting notes of all Executive Council meetings be e-mailed to all pastors. He also recommended that pastors be notified of all Executive Council meeting dates and times, as well as communicating meeting dates and times through the weekly email updates. This was agreed upon and will be implemented.


Semi Annual Meeting: The Semi-Annual meeting will be held on October 15, 2019 at South Fork Baptist Church. The theme and speaker for the meeting will be determined at a later time, depending on the decision of the Executive Council regarding hiring an outside group to assist with charting the forward direction of the Association, such as the Malphurs Group.


Harold Bennett: Rev. Harold Bennett has agreed to be an on-call DOM consultant in lieu of the Association hiring an interim DOM. He will be on call for pastoral counseling, churches in crisis, etc., but will not have regular office hours or a minimum time commitment. Pat Dalton had previously spoken with Harold regarding his expected compensation for this service. He left it up to the Association to propose a compensation package. Seth Norris recommended that the finance and administrative teams work together to determine compensation and job description. David Cooper moved that this recommendation be accepted and Chuck Campbell seconded the motion. The motion was passed by a voice vote.


Harold is only available until the end of December 2018. Interim leadership will be revisited in December, and will depend on the progress made regarding the search process for a new Executive Associational Missionary.


Missions Update: Jennifer Waldorf gave the Missions update.


High Country Impact will take place on September 21 this year. At least 13 churches will be participating. The Impact Celebration picnic will take place on September 22 at Valle Crucis Park. The Association will provide hamburgers and hot dogs; churches will be assigned to bring sides, condiments, etc.


The Association has backpacks and Bibles available to churches who wish to fill a backpack for Appalachian Christmas Outreach. 


There was, at one time, a plan to start a mobile food pantry for the Western part of Watauga County, as well as parts of Avery and eastern TN.  However, due to more pressing needs of the Association at the moment, the plans for this new ministry have been put on hold for now.


Church Strengthening Update:  David Cooper gave the Church Strengthening update.


Travis Tyler was originally scheduled to begin working as Church Revitalization Catalyst in May, but asked to have his contract put on hold until fall due to the resignation of Garland Honeycutt, who had created the CRC position. Travis was paid for one month in May, as he had been working with Garland and Travis Burt in conjunction with the Avery Baptist Association on Church Revitalization learning communities.


It was determined that, at this time, the contract with Travis Tyler would not be pursued. The Executive Council discussed sending Travis a sum of money, in light of the fact that the association only put the contract on hold instead of terminating the contract, and this may have caused him to pass up other opportunities. Travis Burt noted that Travis Tyler was the party who requested the suspension of the contract, he had been working more for Avery than for Three Forks, and that a signed contract was never received from Travis Tyler. He suggested that these factors be taken into consideration when determining the amount that would be given to Travis as a separation bonus.


David Cooper moved that Travis Tyler be given $250.00 as a separation bonus. Pat Dalton seconded the motion, and the motion passed by a voice vote.


Finance Update: The Finance Team submitted the 2020 budget for review.


Based on the discussion regarding Travis Tyler’s contract not being pursued, the line item for Church Revitalization Catalyst was removed from the budget. As the money for funding this contract was originally taken out of the Church Strengthening line item, the question arose as to whether it should be put back into that line item. It was noted that church giving is essentially unchanged from this time last year, and that the Association did not make budget last year. It was, therefore, determined that the money would not be added back to the Church Strengthening line item.


Jeff Younce noted that the Association had not had an audit and review of the financial records for some time, and that our current bookkeeper, Leta Councill, had requested that an audit and review be performed. This recommendation will be tabled until a later time.


David Cooper asked for clarification regarding the line item for WINGS (Women in God’s Service). WINGS is a ministry partner of the Association and currently receives $1,500.00 per year from the Association to fund their ministry. This is the only funding source for WINGS, and WINGS is currently the only Ministry Partner of the Association. It was recommended and agreed upon that the budget line item WINGS be changed to Ministry Partners, to allow more flexibility of funds should a new Ministry Partner be added to the Association.


The Association received over $5,700.00 from Church Mutual Insurance to pay for repairs to the conference room ceiling, roof, and outside steps damaged by a fallen tree. Harold Bennett, Doug Norris and Olin Cook repaired the roof and ceiling for $738.00, leaving a substantial amount of money free for other building and grounds needs. Due to the fact that the Association experiences frequent, high water bills due to various plumbing issues, it was determined that a part of this money should be used to hire a plumber to check out the plumbing of the Association, and determine if any repairs of renovations need to be made.  If money is left over after this assessment and needed repairs are completed, it has been suggested that the money be used to paint the conference rooms, entry, and hallway of the Association.


Church Mobilization Update: Travis Burt gave the Church Mobilization Update


The Association is in the beginning stages of conducting a people group study of our area. This people group study will look at who the churches of our Association are reaching, and who they are not. Travis noted that he planned to launch the study this fall, but he is having difficulty finding people to help with conducting this study. He is seeking two people from each cluster to contact the churches and ask them to provide their church databases to the Association. The WINGS group would then input those databases into Missioninsite, to provide a plot map of where in the community church members were living.


Darrell Hobbs, pastor of Greenway Baptist Church, noted that this might be a difficult way to conduct the study, as many churches would not be comfortable sharing their membership database with the Association without a very clear understanding of how it would be used. Seth Norris suggested that it might be better to start with a smaller number of churches who would be more willing to buy in to the process. Celebrating success with this smaller number of churches might lead other churches to see the benefits of participating in the people group study.


Associational Direction and Executive Associational Missionary Search:


Seth began the discussion of the Executive Associational Missionary Search by reminding those present that Garland Honeycutt had brought a new vision to the Association, but there was not enough time under his leadership for his vision to fully become the vision of the churches for the Association. We are now left with an incomplete vision for the direction of the Association.


When Garland was hired, we were looking for a person to establish a vision and communicate this vision back to the churches. This created a “choking point” in which only one person was responsible for the vision. Seth noted that this model might not be what the Association needs, due to this “choking point” that occurs when too much reliance is placed on one person’s vision.


We don’t currently know what we are looking for in an Associational Missionary, because we don’t really know who we are, or who we need to be, but there could be wisdom in seeking someone to implement the vision of the churches, rather than to establish the vision and expect the churches to buy in.


Seth has spoken with the Malphurs group, which is an organization who helps churches assess who they are, what they do, and where they are going.  This is not something that they will come in and tell us, but rather questions that they will help us find the answers to for ourselves. There are a number of organizations, in addition to Malphurs, who provide this service, and Seth invited those present to give recommendations of companies that others have worked with who provide this service.


This will not only entail a financial investment from the Association, but it will also entail a substantial time commitment from the members of the Executive Council, to meet with any group chosen to help us chart a forward direction and to answer the necessary questions regarding who we are, what we do, and where we are going.


The decision of whether or not to hire the Malphurs group will be tabled until August 26. On August 26 Scott Bell of the Malphurs group will present to the Executive Council. If Malphurs is hired, they could also be the speaker at the Fall Semi-Annual in October.


Travis Burt encouraged those present with a reading of John 17:21.


The date of the next meeting was set for August 26 at 6:00 pm, at which time the Malphurs group will present.


Travis Burt closed the meeting with prayer.

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