The Board of Directors of the Illinois Baptist State Association approved new mission and values statements for the organization during a virtual meeting March 30. The newly adopted statements resulted from a multi-year vision process that gives new direction and language to IBSA’s goals and strategies.
The mission, values, strategies, and measures are parts of a “vision frame” developed with Will Mancini of Denominee, an organization IBSA is working with to craft long-term vision and strategies. IBSA also partnered with Rob Peters of Corpus for church revitalization ministry.
“We believe that IBSA’s mission for the future is to deliver network value that inspires each church to thrive in health, growth, and mission,” Executive Director Nate Adams said in his report to the Board. Adams also introduced IBSA’s four value statements, each focused on churches: excellence for churches, helpfulness to churches, engagement with churches, and advance through churches.
In his report, Adams also highlighted bright spots amid the challenges of 2020—an “asterisk year” in almost every respect because of the impact of COVID-19 forced closures. Giving through the Cooperative Program and annual Mission Illinois Offering was down, he noted, but IBSA’s reduced spending and funding from the CARES Act more than offset reduced giving. He reported 14 new churches were planted in 2020—more than the previous year’s total—and 10 churches affiliated with IBSA at the Annual Meeting in November. Also, IBSA leadership development events engaged almost double the number of participants from the previous year, largely because more resources were offered online.
“No one wishes for a year like 2020,” Adams said, “yet God has been faithful.”
While most metrics measured through the Annual Church Profile dropped in 2020, and some dramatically, many of IBSA’s goals for the year saw improvements over 2019. For instance, 943 pastors or leaders participated in an IBSA leadership development event, compared to 474 the year before. Increased availability of online training and resources resulted in 558 pastors or leaders attending an IBSA webinar, compared to just 65 in 2019.
“We found that online engagement and tech tools and strategies have really increased significantly for IBSA,” Adams said.
In 2019, IBSA restructured staff and resources in order to address key priorities including church revitalization. While the COVID-19 pandemic forced many pastors to put their revitalization plans on hold, more than half of those who responded to IBSA’s Annual Church Needs Survey indicated their church’s need for revitalization is either “urgently needed” or “needed now.”
“Our restructuring put us in a good position to endure the pandemic,” Adams said, “and our strategic planning is really putting us in a good position to plan what a network of churches should be for the future.”
IBSA’s new mission is deeply grounded in the activity of the New Testament church, Adams said in introducing the statements to the Board. The epistles of Paul, John, and Peter all indicate these early church leaders “were trying to inspire each church to thrive in its own context and setting, and in the midst of its own problems; and for it to have health and growth, both internal and external; and to be on mission taking the gospel throughout the world.”
The mission is one of four pieces in IBSA’s vision frame, which also includes the values and new strategies and measures. IBSA has identified five strategies for the future: engagement, revitalization, leadership development, mobilization, and mission partnership. Additionally, 12 measures will shape IBSA’s work in terms of overall, inspirational net results. Adams referred to several during the Board meeting: heartfelt cooperation; breakthroughs in personal ministry effectiveness; expanding the leadership capacities of pastors and leaders; and providing pathways and partnerships for each church to “turn inside out” into the lostness of its community and world.
“That’s not to avoid the accountability of numbers,” he said, noting each measure includes numerical objectives and key results. “But we think that this vision frame of having measures that are followed by objectives and key results will set our sights a little bit higher on the kinds of things we’re really trying to see happen in our mission field.”
The Board approved a motion from the Resource Development Committee that the Executive Director prepare a 2022 budget and salary structure based on a Cooperative Program goal of $6.2 million, and the utilization of up to $700,000 in reserves due to continuing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Adams reported CP giving from churches is rebounding compared to a year ago. CP funds are to be distributed at a ratio of 56.5% for ministry and missions in Illinois and 43.5% for national and global SBC causes, excluding shared expenses not to exceed 10% of the CP goal. Funds received beyond the goal will be distributed at a ratio of 50%/50%.
The Board also approved IBSA’s clean 2020 audit by CapinCrouse, and recognized 20 years of service for Production Manager Kris Kell.