State Board okays major reorganization; creates new positions, reduces staff by 47 percent

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By Barbara Denman, Florida Baptist Convention
September 18, 2015

A major reorganization of the Florida Baptist Convention staff that reduces the number of employees statewide by 47 percent—to 61 employees from the 115 currently employed—was approved by the State Board of Missions, Sept. 18 at Lake Yale Baptist Conference Center.

The reorganization and downsizing was the fulfillment of a promise made by Executive Director-Treasurer Tommy Green on May 29 at the time of his election to the post. He stressed the need to have a responsive, lean missions organization that is decentralized, regionalized and personalized.

The downsizing will make it possible to send 51 percent of the proposed 2016 Cooperative Program Budget to the Southern Baptist Convention—a nearly 10 percent increase– and ultimately “put more missionary families on the field,” he said.

The new structure is comprised of five major program groups—Executive Director-Treasurer Office, Next Generation, Regional Catalysts, Mission and Ministries, and Support Services—reflecting an effort to streamline and decentralize the convention staff to more effectively provide ministry support to local churches and associations.

The reorganization includes 28 Board-elected (ministry) staff; and 33 administrative approved persons who serve as ministry assistants and support personnel. The 33-member support team includes 13 employees at Lake Yale Conference Center in Leesburg and a caretaker for the Blue Springs Conference Center in Marianna.

Four new staff persons were elected to fill vacancies within the restructured organization. Jeffery Singletary of Tampa and Wayne Briant of Sarasota were elected to serve as regional coordinators. Micah Ferguson of Brandon was elected as director of strategic initiatives and Billy Young of Brandon was elected as lead catalyst, Next Generation Ministries Group.

Additionally, long-term employee Stephens Baumgardner was promoted in a dual role as assistant executive director/ Support Services director.

The remaining staff was reassigned to newly defined roles.

The Board approved an executive management group to be called the Leadership Team—formerly known as the administrative staff—to provide counsel and decision making advice and perspective to the executive director.

The Leadership Team will be composed of the executive director-treasurer, director of strategic initiative, director of communications, lead catalyst of the Next Generation Ministries Group, the five regional catalysts, lead catalyst of the Missions and Ministries Group and the assistant executive director/director of support services.

Personnel assigned to the Executive Director-Treasurer’s Office are Green, executive director-treasurer; Ferguson, director of Strategic Initiatives; and Barbara Denman, director of Communications.

The Next Generation Ministries Group will be led by Young, lead catalyst; and include seven collegiate ministries campus ministers: Lance Beauchamp, Tallahassee area; Barry Sproles, Jacksonville area; Brad Crawford, Orlando area, Eddie Gilley, Gainesville area; Matt Wofford, Miami area; Rahul Agarwal, Tampa area; and Tony Olesky, Pensacola area.

Regional catalysts will be assigned to minister to churches and reside within the five designated areas across the state. These are: Lewis Miller, West Florida; Glen Owens, Northeast Florida; Jeffery Singletary, Central Florida; Wayne Briant, Southwest Florida; and Al Fernandez, Southeast Florida.

Five staff persons will serve in statewide catalyst and consultant roles: Emanuel Roque, multicultural Church/Leadership catalyst; Deris Coto, Hispanic Church catalyst; Patrick Coats, Black/Multicultural Church consultant; John Voltaire, Haitian Church consultant; and Terry Williams, Music/Worship consultant. All but Williams will reside in South Florida, the state’s most ethnically diverse region.

Craig Culbreth will lead the downsized Missions and Ministries Group, which now will be comprised of four ministry catalysts and their assignments: Marc Johnston, catalyst, Church and Community Ministries; Misael Castillo, catalyst, Migrant Ministries; Delton Beall, catalyst, Disaster Relief and Recovery; and Cindy Bradley, catalyst, Women’s Missions and Ministries/Missions Education.

The Support Services Group, which will be led by Baumgardner, includes Charles Staton, director, Accounting; Gary Townsend, director, Church-Staff Benefits/Stewardship; Don Sawyer, director, Convention Facilities/Lake Yale Conference Center; and Lonnie Wright, director, Information Support Services.

Statewide, 22 Board-elected employees were identified to be released from Convention employment, including five who will retire and three who will remain in consultant roles. Additionally 29 administrative approved (support staff) persons were released from Convention employment.

The Board eliminated 36 Board-elected staff positions, some of which were vacant, effectively immediately.

Green assured the Board that the displaced persons were treated fairly and generously with their compensation package.

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