I believe that God’s word is true and I find myself these days thinking a lot about

1 Chronicles 12:32 (NASB)
32  Of the sons of Issachar, men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do,”

These are interesting days in which we live. The promise and hope that we have in Jesus is sure. Whatever is happening in our world doesn’t supersede what God has called His church to do. We remain on call and moving to advance the gospel.

Since August of 2019, 12 of your fellow leaders in our state have been on a journey to look at the future of the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana. We have been asking very tough questions and evaluating all that we do as a state convention. Some of this has been hard to hear and mostly it’s been exciting to think about a better future. It will take each of us for that to happen.

This article is unusual in that I am going to introduce you to the process we have been on. I hope that this will just be a beginning for us to talk about moving together to 2030. So I hope that you will not come to a conclusion before you have the opportunity to get a more complete look and understanding of what this process is proposing to do. The bottom line of this for me is, that we would choose to work together like never before. That is in the sixth point of this six phase process.

Please begin reading this, in a prayerful spirit and ask God for His discernment. This process only seeks to make your church and our convention of churches stronger and better at working together.  Here we go.

Denominee Process:

This process was made up of eight, 7-hour meetings from August 2019 – July 2020. They were led by Will Mancini and Jim Randall who formed Denominee and founded Auxano.

It is a six Phase process to guide SCBI into the future:

Step 1: We talked about where we are as a state convention and what needs to be addressed: August – January

  • Other states are also in this same discussion (approx. 9 other conventions)
    • We looked at our process and purpose of what we do and why. We addressed the sacred cows and everything was on the table.
  • It was determined that we need to name the problems that exist.
  • We believe that there is a need to raise the value level of the state convention.
  • We need to address the perception of what the state convention is.
  • We need to see a new paradigm for how we all work together.
  • We need a fresh vision to move together as a convention of churches.

Step 2: Discussed creating a new Vision Frame and the need to give definition to a new vision frame: February – July

  • Why does SCBI exist?
  • How do we work together?
  • What are the measures to determine if we are accomplishing the why question?
  • What should SCBI look like in 2030?

6 Phases of the process we have been going through.

  • Team of 12: Mixture of staff (Jim Shields, Bob Weeks, Rick Hillard, Nate Millican, Steve McNeil), some engaged pastors, some younger, ethnic representation (Hre Mang, Barry Rager, Bobby Pell, Brian Wright, Reginald Fletcher, Steve Johnson, Greg Byman). This group was determined by prayer and discussion in our SCBI Executive Leadership Team with the attempt to meet what Will Mancini suggested as to the group makeup.
  • Will Mancini called this the “Future Team.” It is a group of SCBI leaders charged to help us look at where the convention of churches we call SCBI might be and where we believe through prayer and biblical convictions we should be in 2030.

Phase 1:

PROBLEM – We must name what the problems are so that they can be addressed and improved;

  • Mancini calls this the “Cloud and box” (we need to own the value gap between the local church and “the convention.” The cloud is the local church and the box is the “convention office and organization.”
    • The idea of Cloud and box is that at a point of origin, a group of churches got together to form the state convention so that they could work together around certain areas of concern. As the state convention served the churches, the churches funded the state convention. It created an organization that became somewhat separate from the churches.


  • Is it possible for us to see a different way to accomplish what we all believe under God and by His Word that we are to do together as the church?
  • This is not about changing the beliefs and convictions in our churches. It isn’t about touching the Baptist Faith & Message.
  • It is about how we work together to accomplish the mission He has given us in this new day we live in. How do we operate as a state convention of churches?
  • DO we need a new way to operate as a state convention to be most effective today?


  • Is where we will work with our churches and associations to test, to pilot ways that we can better work together to accomplish His mission.
  • These will be projects where we collaborate to find ways to advance the gospel.


  • The “Future Team” has been working from February – July of this year collaboratively to determine SCBI’s “one thing” that brings us all together, beyond the expected gospel, mission and biblical mandates. Then the team worked to determine the SCBI Vision Frame that gives us focus and direction about how we work together, why we work together and for what ends.
  • The Vision Frame that the Future Team came up with, looks like this.
  • SCBI “One Thing”:
    • the Mission Focus: “Catalyzing the Next”
  • The SCBI Mission:
    • The mission is the guiding compass of the organization. What we are ultimately supposed to be doing! We determined that the true mission is,
      • “Partnering with churches to discover and fulfill their next step.
    • This means that we as churches across Indiana seek to work together to help each other (partner) with whatever your church sees (discover) as the “next step” you need to take to be the church God is leading you to be (fulfill). All of this of course fits with the Great Commandment, Commission, Acts 1:8 Challenge and all the biblical direction we gain about our mission.  This is how we might accomplish these biblical principles.
  • The SCBI Values:
    • These characterize everything we do
      • Cultivating Relationships
        • 1:8 “because of your partnership in the gospel”
        • 1.5 “partners with me in grace . . . in the defense and establishment of the gospel”
      • Following Jesus
        • Phil 2.9 “for this reason, God highly exalted him”
      • Inspiring Advancement
        • Phil 3:12 “I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus”
      • Expanding Possibilities
        • Phil 4.13 “I am able to do all things through Him”
      • The SCBI Measures: (see chart)


  • Launch the Next Step Operating System:
    • The process for sharing this look into the future begins here.
    • We are sharing this with the Executive Board (the Administrative Committee has had an initial look at this process).
    • The annual meeting will be another place for us to look at who and how we work together in future days.
    • I would love to come to your associational annual meeting to talk more and explain what we are looking at.
    • Our hope is that we can come to your area to discuss this and see how we might better work together.


  • Re-generating togetherness
    • The ultimate goal of the Denominee process and the future team is for us to move from the “cloud AND box” process to a “cloud IN box” process.
    • What is the difference? One is based on an organization that serves the churches. The second is a process where we all recognize that we are cooperating churches working together to advance the gospel. The State Convention and the churches should look seamless. The state convention IS the churches.
    • Cloud AND box has created an “us vs them” culture. The goal is for the cloud IN box process is for us to see that we all serve with each other for the sake of the gospel. “Churches Helping Churches”

I hope that you will begin to pray about this new day in the life of SCBI.  As usual, it all depends on each of us desiring to be “one” (John 17).  A desire to cooperate WITH each other. To partner together to discover and fulfill our next step.  That has unlimited possibilities for gospel advance, in “Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the uttermost parts of the world.”

Please put Oct 19-20 down on your calendar for this year’s annual convention celebration of the SCBI. I hope to see you there. We need each other today like never before in our lifetimes.


Until Next Time,