Calling the local church the "headquarters of the Southern Baptist Convention," Page named the council to help the Executive Committee and other SBC entity leaders gain greater understanding of and appreciation for the perspectives of churches served by bivocational pastors and churches with Sunday school attendance of 125 or less.
The council will provide information, insight and counsel to EC staff relative to the special needs and concerns of Southern Baptist bivocational and small church leaders, and it will serve as a bridge to pastors who often lack the flexibility or resources to participate in SBC meetings, SBC LIFE reported.
The council will neither launch nor execute ministries; its purpose is consultation, communication and cooperation. Members represent a cross-section of the country and reflect the SBC's cultural diversity.
During Page's four years at the helm of the Executive Committee, he has maintained a proactive agenda to "encourage the cooperation and confidence of the churches, associations, and state conventions and facilitate maximum support for worldwide missions and ministries," as noted in the EC Mission Statement in its official organization manual.
Page has visited each SBC entity leader and state convention executive, seeking to build and strengthen relationships and gain insight in addressing questions of cooperation among the different SBC entities and the cooperating state convention ministry partners.
The Bivocational and Small Church Advisory Council joins a list of such councils Page has named during his tenure, including groups addressing the Hispanic, African American, Asian American and multi-ethnic communities among Southern Baptists.
As early as 2013, Page began meeting directly with pastors to build and strengthen relationships, listening to their perspectives on cooperation and SBC work as well as updating them on SBC ministries. Since January, Page has met with more than 400 pastors in 14 states where he has had other SBC-related duties. The Bivocational and Small Church Advisory Council will work with Page to expand the reach of these listening sessions among their friendship networks.
Council members are Ira Antoine Jr., Minnehulla Baptist Church, Goliad, Texas; Vernon E. Beachum Jr., First Baptist Church; Fort Ashby, W.Va.; Paul Biswas, Cambridgeport Baptist Church, Cambridge, Mass.; Fredrick Brabson Sr., New Covenant Baptist Church, Knoxville, Tenn.; Bobby Clark, Abbott Baptist Church, Mansfield, Ark.; Gordon Donahoe, Neely's Bend Baptist Church, Madison, Tenn.; Ray Gilder, Gath Baptist Church, McMinnville, Tenn.; Kenny Heath, Grace Baptist Church, Cumberland, Md.; Hal Hopkins, Lighthouse Baptist Church, Breinigsville, Pa.; Stephen R. Jones, Central Baptist Church, Alameda, Calif.; Pusey Losch, Mountain View Community Church, Richfield, Pa.; Henry Luckel, Ethne Church, Larkspur, Colo.; Gary Mitchell, First Baptist Church, Chataignier, La.; Joel Perez, Iglesia Bautista La Cosecha, Okeechobee, Fla.; Michael Pigg, Philadelphia Baptist Church, Lithonia, Ga.; Shannon Smith, Westside Baptist Church, Fremont Campus, Omaha, Neb.; A. Scott Tafoya, Indian Nations Baptist Church, Albuquerque, N.M.; Mark Tolbert, Bedico Baptist Church, Ponchatoula, La.; Elizondo Marcos Villarreal, Iglesia Cristiana Bautista, Lufkin, Texas; Cliff Woodman, Emmanuel Baptist Church, Carlinville, Ill., and Joe Young, Calvary Chapel, Parchman, Miss.
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