Dear Missouri Baptist Pastors and Churches,
First and foremost, thank you so much for your Kingdom work in our state and around the world. You are on the frontlines of ministry, the local church, the headquarters of the Convention. Without our cooperative efforts we would not be seeing the advances for the Kingdom of God.
This summer at the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) annual meeting an overwhelming majority of the 15,000 messengers passed a motion commissioning an investigation the handling of sexual abuse within our family—namely the Executive Committee. Rev. Dr. Ed Litton, our current SBC President, quickly appointed the Task Force (SATF) and the subsequently rehired Guidepost Solutions, formerly contracted by the Executive Committee (EC) for similar purposes.
The messengers intended the Task Force and third party agency to have unfettered access to and all information they would need to best conduct the investigation and bring any sins or correction needed to light through a report to the Convention at the 2022 Annual Meeting in Anaheim, CA next June.
Though there are very real legal implications and complications from this decision, what is not complicated is what the messengers at the annual meeting said that they wanted done. While we are thankful for each member of the EC and SATF, we are asking that you quickly sign the contract and begin the hard, difficult work of investigation.
To accomplish this we ask:
- The EC agrees to waive its Attorney-Client privilege related to matters only within the scope of the Motion (items pertaining to Sexual Abuse). This is stated by the SATF’s latest “messenger model”(SATF Summary Bullet Points).
- Agree to and sign the SATF negotiated contract with the commissioned third-party investigative agency and/or “umbrella” attorney chosen by the SATF.
- Agree to comply fully with all of “the accepted best standards and practices recommended by the commissioned third party.” [Guidepost Solutions]
Let us be crystal clear, we abhor and renounce any form of sexual abuse and any attempt to conceal this sin. We grieve with and pray for survivors of sexual abuse and we seek to honor them as image bearers of God.
We also pray that both EC and the SATF will act justly, wisely, lovingly, and expeditiously in making Godly decisions to fulfill the will of the SBC messengers, restore the eroding cooperative trust so that we can continue to work together for the sake of God’s Kingdom.
We believe the Cooperative Program remains the most powerful tool for mobilizing resources for fulfilling the Great Commission to the world. Our joint efforts through the Cooperative Program make the SBC who we are. We stand with you in faith, that when we walk in the light as He is in the light, that our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ can handle whatever fallout may occur.
Our prayer is that God honoring decisions are made soon so that we can move forward as one for the Kingdom of God. We pray that this refining moment finds each of us ministers and churches faithful and ignites a renewed passion for gospel unity.
The Officers of the Missouri Baptist Convention
Pastor Jon C. Nelson – Lead Pastor of Soma Community Church – President
Pastor Chris Williams – Lead Pastor of Fellowship Church – First Vice – President
Rev. Dr. Lane Harrison – Lead Pastor of LifePoint Church – Second Vice – President
Pastor Jason Marlin – Senior Pastor at First Baptist Kirksville – Secretary
The Pastors and Messengers of the Missouri Baptist Convention
Pastor Nicholas Drake, Richland Baptist Church, Kingdom City
Pastor Scott Gordon, Claycomo Baptist Church, Kansas City
Pastor Taylor Whitmore, Southridge Baptist Church, Jefferson City
Pastor Rob Hurtgen, First Baptist Church, Chillicothe
Pastor Jamie Cartledge, Worship Pastor Claycomo Baptist Church, Kansas City
Pastor Joshua Meranda, Associate Pastor, Open Door Church, Columbia
Pastor Ryan Palmer, Senior Pastor, South Haven Baptist Church, Springfield
Pastor Chad Hodges, Director of Missions, Jefferson Baptist Association
Pastor Dale Thompson, Senior Pastor, Grant Avenue Baptist Church, Springfield
Pastor Michael Beene, Senior Pastor, Riverview Baptist Church, Osage Beach
Pastor Ryan West, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church, Steele
Pastor Mike Bergman, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church, Adrian
Pastor Tim Sperduto, Senior Pastor, Memorial Baptist Church, New Haven
Pastor Joshua Christy, Senior Pastor, Holden Baptist Church, Holden
Pastor Raymond Cabello, Senior Pastor, Redemption Christian Church, Maryland Heights
Pastor Steve Hodges, Senior Pastor, Prospect Baptist Church, Lonedell
Pastor Mike Self, Pastor of Discipleship & Administration, Canaan Baptist Church, St. Louis
Rev. Dr. Wesley Vance, Senior Pastor, Fellowship Kansas City, Kansas City
Pastor Russell Duncan, Associate Pastor of Mission’s and Education, Calvary of Neosho, Neosho
Rev. Dr. Mike Hubbard, Lead Pastor, Genesis Church, Eureka
Pastor Gary Walton, Senior Pastor, Heritage Baptist Church, Bolivar
Pastor Charles Yates, Senior Pastor, Calvary Baptist Church, Odessa
Pastor Robert Hudson, Senior Pastor, Littleby Baptist Church, Rush Hill
Pastor Dan Updegrave, Senior Pastor, The Road Church, Clever
Pastor LP Cook, Lead Pastor, Union Hill Baptist Church, Holt’s Summit
Pastor Jayson Workman, Lead Pastor, South Gate Baptist Church, Springfield
Pastor Paul Wellinghoff, Lead Pastor, FBC Eminence, Eminence
Pastor Anthony Stephens, Lead Pastor, FBC Fulton, Fulton
Pastor Scotty Watson, Senior Pastor, Bethlehem Baptist Church, Centralia
Pastor Richard Nations, Director of Missions, Thousand Hills Baptist Association, Kirksville
Pastor Dave Becker, Missions & College Pastor, FBC Bolivar, Bolivar
Pastor Gregg Fina, Revitalization Pastor, New Hope Baptist Church, Pevely
Pastor Dan Born, Pastor, Believers Church, Hannibal
Pastor Scott Hawkins, Lead Pastor, Calvary Baptist Of Joplin
Pastor Tyler Shipley, Senior Pastor, Huntsville First Baptist Church, Huntsville
If you are a Missouri Baptist Pastor or Layperson and would like to sign to this statement, please comment below with your name and title/church (if applicable) and we will add your name.