Spence Network was created in October, 2004 through conversation with John Upton, Executive Director of the Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV) and Ray Spence, then pastor of Second Baptist Church in Richmond, as well as other Virginia Baptist leaders to address the isolation among congregational leaders and ‘leaks’ in the leadership pipeline to ensure qualified leaders to sustain the future of congregational life.
A Board was formed to govern ongoing activities of Spence Network and Bob Dale was named as the Director. After Bob retired in 2006, John Chandler was named Leader of Spence Network in January 2007. Laura McDaniel was hired April 2013 as Network Catalyst, and Rachel Scott came on board January 2015 as Fund Developer.
In 2013 the Board clarified Spence Network’s role as the ‘research and development’ arm that injects innovative practices to inform larger systems of denominational life.
As a nonprofit entity under the 501c3 umbrella of the BGAV, Spence Network receives support from BGAV and from gifts from congregational and individual donors.