The search committee to replace retiring CMBA Executive Director George Bullard has been named and held its first meeting August 10. Bullard has announced his retirement, effective June 30, 2022. In his role as CMBA moderator, Jay Thompson assembled the search committee, named Blaney Baptist Pastor Jacob Helsley as chairman, and scheduled a process training session as the team’s first meeting together with Spring Valley Pastor Robert Winburn, who served as the previous search committee’s chair.
“I felt that having a committee of five would be a good number to work with, but I also felt the need to have two alternates ready to step in if anyone was no longer able to serve. A few things were on my mind as I chose individuals – a heart and vision for the churches in our association, a breath of knowledge and insight from different backgrounds and personal involvement with the current mission of our association,” explains Thompson, pastor of Cedar Creek Baptist.
In addition to Helsley, the following CMBA representatives from member churches have agreed to serve on the search committee:
Ralphetta Davis, associate pastor, Concord Fellowship
Ryan Dupree, international minister, First Baptist Columbia
Brenda Sheets, member, St. Andrews Baptist
Buck Williams, member, Mt. Elon Baptist
Cookie Adams, member, Kilbourne Park Baptist
Dan Griffin, pastor, Harmony Baptist
Helsley expressed gratitude to Winburn for early guidance as the committee seeks to gain its footing in the process, saying he “looks forward to learning the outline of the previous committee’s process. Though we feel no constraint to mimic their pattern, we seek to gather the wisdom of those who have trod before us.” Helsley underscores that this committee’s work will be guided by prayer. He says the team will pray for themselves during the process, the future executive director being prepared for the new role, for CMBA and its churches, and the future Kingdom work throughout the Midlands.
“I’m committed to the churches of the association. The association exists as a cooperating mechanism for our local congregations to magnify their Kingdom impact. The priority of the committee as well as potential candidates should be on the vibrancy of existing local congregations as well as the vitality and faithfulness of future associational additions,” Helsley says.
Early work of the search team will include determining a consistent meeting schedule and candidate profile specifics. Helsley acknowledges the unique strengths of CMBA including its diversity and recognizes the ongoing needs for church revitalization and church planting as it moves forward saying, “our association of churches includes established urban congregations, newer plants and churches in rural and semi-rural settings. CMBA cannot leave any of these congregations behind as the cause of the Kingdom requires attention across this multifaceted field. There are other considerations which need to be included as we work to establish an encompassing description of the association.”
As the committee begins this work, Thompson implores CMBA members to “please pray for wisdom, knowledge and discernment. This [Executive Director] ministry position requires a special person with special gifts. We know that the Lord has that person already in mind for us. Pray that it will be clear as the search team goes forward.”
Helsley agrees, adding a request for CMBA to pray for “cohesion on the committee. Pray that the Holy Spirit would impress upon us His will and direction. Pray as we craft an outline of important requirements of candidates and as we look at the association.”