New leadership in the SBC

April 23rd, 2019 / By: Jim Richards | Executive Director / comments

Welcome back to Texas, Dr. Greenway! The Southern Baptists of Texas Convention enjoys a strong relationship with Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Although technically the Seminary is an SBC entity, most of us Texans claim Southwestern as our own. I am personally grateful for the convictional positions outlined by Dr. Greenway using an illustration of four poles. The four poles of the Southwestern big tent fit well with the SBTC. Biblical inerrancy is a foundational element for both ministries. The Baptist Faith and Message Statement 2000 is the confessional basis for our work together. Our convention’s Great Commission emphasis is seen in SBTC staffing and funding. Cooperation, especially through the Cooperative Program, makes both ministries possible. I am grateful to have a good partner on the Hill.

The Lone Star State is also proud of her native son, Ronnie Floyd. He is a man of incomparable leadership, an evangelist and a man of prayer. He has worked to bring races together. No one knows how the Southern Baptist Convention works like Dr. Floyd, and he is well prepared to lead the Executive Committee. His tireless passion will help unite the disparate groups in SBC life. In a mega church he led the way in Cooperative Program giving in his state by giving a million dollars each of the last few years. I served in Northwest Arkansas as an associational missional strategist before coming to Texas. Ronnie worked with me in helping start new churches. He hosted an off-campus extension for Southern Seminary that I led. Ronnie Floyd will give every last ounce of his energy to see the kingdom advance, and I am grateful to have a good partner in Nashville.

Paul Chitwood has no direct connection to Texas but he will be preaching at the SBTC Annual Meeting in Odessa on October 28. The International Mission Board could not have found a more thoroughgoing Southern Baptist to be president. He is administratively gifted, and his heart is for reaching the lost in every far flung corner of the world. Having been a state convention executive director, he understands the connectivity in Southern Baptist life. While Lottie Moon will remain a major funding stream for IMB, Paul will champion the Cooperative Program.
I am grateful to have a good partner in Richmond.

There are two vacancies at SBC entities at the time of this writing. Calls have been made to consider a non-Anglo for several recent vacancies. I want to join the call for at least an interview of a non-Anglo for the two remaining leadership positions, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and LifeWay Christian Resources. This is not a baptized Rooney Rule (NFL requires minority interviews for head coaching jobs). There are non-Anglos who should be considered. At LifeWay I would even advocate for a woman to be considered for the president’s position. There have to be hundreds of Southern Baptist women who are capable of running the business/ministry of LifeWay. Diversity has to be intentional. We can get this done. It may not be God’s will this time around but it will happen.

Regardless of the persons who lead our entities, they must be committed to our doctrinal statement and the Cooperative Program. We are Southern Baptists because of what we believe and how we work together. We need good partners in all of our SBC entities. We don’t need to nitpick our differences. We are not about building our own little kingdoms. I urge all Southern Baptists to pray for the search teams. When we gather in Birmingham for the convention, let’s stay together and move forward for the glory of God!