BGCT Executive Board elects Ward Hayes as CFO

Ward Hayes, newly elected treasurer and chief financial officer of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, is pictured with his wife Jenna. (BGCT Photo)

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DALLAS—The Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Board unanimously elected Ward Hayes, a Stephenville pastor and certified public accountant with more than two decades of banking experience, as Texas Baptists’ treasurer and chief financial officer.

Hayes, pastor of Valley Grove Baptist Church in Stephenville since 2013, has served as chair of the BGCT Executive Board. Vice Chair Donna Burney from First Woodway Baptist Church in Waco now assumes the board chairmanship.

Members of the search committee who nominated Ward Hayes—along with BGCT Executive Director David Hardage—commended Jim Reed, controller and assistant treasurer, and thanked him for his work. Reed has been acting treasurer since Jill Larsen resigned last summer to become CFO of VisitDallas.

Background in business and ministry

“I believe business and ministry go hand in hand,” Ward told the board, noting that good business practices make ministry possible.

The Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Board unanimously elected Ward Hayes, a Stephenville pastor and certified public accountant with extensive banking experience, as Texas Baptists’ treasurer and chief financial officer.

Hayes, who grew up on a cotton farm and ranch in Rotan, earned his undergraduate degree in accounting from West Texas State University (now West Texas A&M). After answering the call to pastoral ministry years later, he earned a Master of Divinity degree and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Hardin-Simmons University’s Logsdon Seminary.

Early in his career, he spent two years with National Bank Examiners in Amarillo and three years at a regional public accounting firm focused primarily on audits.

Hayes continued to practice public accounting during his tenure as vice president of First National Bank of Rotan from 1993 to 2003. His duties there in senior management included serving as controller, regulatory liaison, handling investment and loan portfolios, and personnel. He served on the bank’s board of directors more than 23 years.

Ward Hayes chairs a BGCT Executive Board meeting. (Photo / Ken Camp)

Hayes was ordained to the gospel ministry in 2003 at Trinity Baptist Church in Sweetwater, where he served as senior pastor more than 10 years and oversaw four building programs.

He served on the board of trustees for Hendrick Medical Center in Abilene for nine years, including terms as board secretary, first vice chair and chair.

In addition to his most recent service as BGCT Executive Board chairman, in his previous years on the board he was on the finance committee, serving as its chair, along with serving on the personnel committee and executive committee.

He and his wife Jenna have three adult children—Tate, Mackensey and Hanna.

Executive Board creates Response Council

The board also voted to create an Executive Board Response Council to address critical issues that demand a response from the BGCT or action—such as provisionally determining if a church is in “harmonious fellowship” with the convention between annual meetings or regularly scheduled board meetings.

“Texas Baptists need the ability to respond to emergency events promptly and biblically to present a positive witness,” the rationale presented to the board stated.

The Response Council will have “provisional authority” to determine whether a church is in “harmonious fellowship” with the BGCT, with the understanding those decisions will be presented to and final decisions will be made by the Executive Board at its next meeting.

Members of the council are the executive director, associate executive director and CFO/treasurer of the BGCT; chair and vice chair of the Executive Board; and president, first vice president and second vice president of the BGCT. Additional staff may be included on a need-to-know basis, and legal counsel may be included as needed.

The executive director, in consultation with the Executive Board chair, will call the Response Council together when a situation arises requiring its action. Attendance of a two-thirds majority of its members is required for the council to act.

In other business, the board:

  • Approved a new map and configuration of sectors from which Executive Board members are elected. The revised sectors reflect growth in urban areas and population decline in some rural areas of the state. Board members from sectors with changes will be allowed to complete their current terms, with sector adjustment accomplished by attrition.
  • Authorized $552,000 in allocations from the J.K. Wadley Endowment earnings, with $150,000 earmarked for collegiate ministries building maintenance, $150,000 for campus ministry interns, $102,000 for a multicultural missionary, $100,000 for the MinistrySafe child protection program and $50,000 for Western heritage ministries.
  • Elected Mark Lindsey from First Baptist Church in Big Spring to fill a vacancy on the Executive Board.
  • Approved Mario A. Ramos from Crossroads Baptist Church in San Antonio to the Baptist Foundation of Texas of San Antonio board of trustees and Steve Vernon from First Baptist Church in Belton to the Valley Baptist Missions/Education Center board of trustees.
  • Adopted a certified resolution granting the executive director, associate executive director, treasurer/CFO or any interim serving in those roles authority to sign checks and other legal documents as necessary to conduct the business, work and mission of the BGCT.
  • Approved a resolution congratulating Executive Board staff leadership for receiving a 2019 Top Workplace, National Standard award presented by the Dallas Morning News.   

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