Our History


Committee on the Ministry of the Northern Baptist Convention met with representatives of the Board of Education and The Ministers and Missionaries Benefit Board. They presented recommendations for the formation of a “Ministers and Missionaries Council” for the purpose of fostering fellowship and the enrichment of ministry. Efforts immediately began to formulate a strategy for the creation of a council at the next annual convention to be held in 1935 at Colorado Springs. In support of these efforts, the Ministers and Missionaries Benefit Board voted to provide up to $1,000 in “working capital” in June 1935 as the “Committee of Nine” worked to develop the detailed plan for a Ministers Council.

In preparation for the 1935 annual convention in Colorado Springs, the “Committee of Nine” conducted an extensive publicity campaign to inform the constituency and create a heightened sense of awareness for pastors regarding the nature and purpose of the proposed Council. A number of articles written by R.G. Schell, highlighted the need to find new and positive ways to aide the clergy in their tasks and to constructively deal with several problems confronting the denomination at that time: the placement of clergy, educational standards for ordination, standards for the recognition of clergy within our denomination, etc. To avoid confusion with The Ministers and Missionaries Benefit Board. Mr. Schell that the name of the council be the “Ministers Council of the Northern Baptist Convention.” Hence, our name carries on to this day with the only change being in the name of our denomination.

With the full support of The Ministers and Missionaries Benefit Board and with the hard work of the “Committee of Nine,” over 1,000 applications for membership in the Ministers Council were received prior to the opening of the convention in Colorado Springs. On June 19, 1935, the Ministers Council was officially born with the adoption of the proposed constitution. Within eight months of its “birth,” the membership of the Council had almost doubled to over 1800 members.

From these beginnings, the Ministers Council continues with that initial purpose in tact. The Ministers Council is the only organization in the ABCUSA which is solely dedicated to supporting and advocating for our ministerial leaders.

You can learn more about the Ministers Council by following the links below:

Historical Markers

View Historical Markers PDF

Historical Review

View Historical Review PDF

Journey of the Ministers Council

View Journey of the Minister Council PDF

Listing of Presidents

View Listing of Presidents PDF

Ralph Garfield Schell Presidential Award

Ralph Garfield Schell Presidential Award

Ralph Garfield Schell Presidential Award Winners

Ralph Garfield Schell Presidential Award Winners

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