Baptist World Alliance Mulls Restructuring Proposal

Leaders of the Baptist World Alliance are deliberating a proposal to restructure the organization to be more globally representative at its annual conference being held this week in the Czech Republic.

Hundreds of Baptists from around the world on Monday began debating the final report of the Implementation Task Force (ITF), which focuses on organizational oversight, according to the BWA meeting schedule.

"It has become clear to us that neither the General Council nor the current Executive Committee are able to exercise appropriate quality oversight (governance) for an international mission-oriented ecclesial organism in the 21st century," reads the report from the 18-member committee that included BWA President David Coffey and General Secretary Neville Callam, according to

The committee recommends a "smaller and globally representative Executive Committee that acts on behalf of and reports to the General Council." It calls for an Executive Committee downsize from the current 62 members to 24 voting members that are more globally representative than the current committee.

The new Executive Committee would be composed of the elected president, general secretary, treasurer, 15 at-large members elected by the General Council, and representatives from each of the six member regions. The General Council is the highest decision making body of the BWA outside of the Baptist World Congress - an event held every five years.

Besides the meeting with the BWA Executive Committee, divisions such as Baptist World Aid, regional fellowships, and departments such as women and youth will also hold meetings.

Plans will also be discussed for the next Baptist World Congress, which is set for 2010 in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Other topics of discussions at the BWA meeting include human trafficking, the environment, the open letter from Muslim religious leaders to Christian leaders, hunger relief initiatives, and ordinations.

The BWA annual gathering began on July 20 and will conclude on July 25.