In 1960 the Southern Baptist Convention adopted the following bylaw. It shall be the function of the Executive Committee:
To maintain an official organization manual defining the responsibilities of each agency of the Convention for conducting specific programs and for performing other functions. The manual shall cite the actions of the Convention that assigned the programs and other functions to the agency. The Executive Committee shall present to the Convention recommendations required to clarify the responsibilities of the agencies for programs and other functions, to eliminate overlapping assignments of responsibility, and to authorize the assignment of new responsibilities for programs or functions to agencies. -- SBC Annual 1960, p. 51
Beginning that same year the Convention approved program statements for all the entities. These were brought into uniform styling and form by another bylaw approved by the Convention in 1967:
14. Program Statements. The program statements of the agencies as approved by the Southern Baptist Convention and published in the 1967 Annual and subsequently amended express the policy of the Convention with respect to the programs of the agencies of the Convention. -- SBC Annual 1967, p. 61
On November 1, 1967 the Executive Committee published its first complete organization manual. Since then the Convention has made numerous changes in the ministries (formerly programs) of the entities which render this first manual out of date.
In the following pages are presented all of the ministries, as approved by the Convention. At the bottom of the last page for each one of them, you will find the dates when these ministries were approved, or when changes were made.
Please note also on page 15 the procedures adopted by the Executive Committee for changing ministry statements.
On June 20, 1995, the Southern Baptist Convention adopted Covenant for a New Century with an introduction to ministry statements as follows:
Ministry statements assigned to each Southern Baptist Convention entity are rooted in and measured by our shared mission. The charge assigned to each entity is founded upon the conviction that the entities of the Convention exist to serve the churches, their ministries, and mission. The statements have been developed in order that each entity will serve the Convention's mission to the greatest standard of faithfulness and the maximum standard of stewardship.
These ministry statements will replace the present program statements as assigned to the entities of the Convention. The ministry statements, a statement of cooperation, a listing of relationships for cooperation, and details of the process of cooperation will be published in the Organization Manual of the Southern Baptist Convention as required by SBC Bylaw 20,(5),(m). [Note: This is now Bylaw 18E (13).]
Beginning in the fall of 2006, The Organization Manual began being printed in each year’s SBC Annual and SBC Book of Reports among the other governing documents of the Convention to keep Southern Baptists apprised of each entity’s charge. (See Item 160, 2006 SBC Annual, p. 94, and pp. 204-5.)