ICYMI: SBC Executive Committee approves list of recommendations
Framed by prayers, sermons and renewed relationships, denominational affairs were front and center for 66 members of the Southern Baptist Convention’s executive committee gathered in Nashville for a regular meeting Feb. 21-22. Two of the 68 board members were not present.
While the opening plenary featured Interim President and CEO Willie McLaurin (read the article here), day two allowed members to see him in action from time to time during the lengthy sessions. ‘business.
SBC Chair Ed Litton issued a challenge to EC members (read article here) and a brief update on the work of the Sexual Abuse Task Force (read article here).
Presidential Search Committee
EC members also appointed a new presidential search committee (read the article here).
Members are: Mollie Duddleston of Arkansas, Jeremy Morton of Georgia, Philip Robertson of Louisiana, Adron Robinson of Illinois, Rolland Slade of California (ex-officio), David Sons of North Carolina and Oklahoma’s Mike Keahbone.
McLaurin will remain in the interim position until a new president is elected.
The four standing committees of the EC presented a long list of recommendations and held an executive session/working lunch of approximately two hours on 22 February.
After the executive session, Slade announced that the EC had reached a resolution with Jennifer Lyell regarding the mishandling of her sexual abuse allegations (see details in this story) and offered her a formal apology.
EC members also heard a report from the SBC Accreditation Committee during the executive session, but no recommendations were presented to the full board.
Coming from EC committees, there were a total of 26 articles.
The Committee on Congressional Finance and Stewardship Development, led by President Archie Mason of Arkansas, presented 14 reports and recommendations to the EC Board of Directors. All have been approved.
- Six of the items related to the co-op program allocation and SBC operating budgets, four of which related to the routine annual review of the previous year’s final report and the first quarter of the current fiscal year.
Trustees also approved a proposed SBC CP 2022-2023 allocation budget of $192.27 million, a slight increase from the current year, and a proposed SBC EC and SBC 2022- operating budget. 2023 of $8.335 million, a slight decrease from the current year.
- Two points related to the 2021 EC audit. Although the auditors issued a clear, unqualified/unmodified opinion on the financial report, they added a note acknowledging possible unknown future financial liabilities related to the sexual abuse investigation.
- Three items dealt with reports on the status of loans from Southern Baptist seminaries. A loan with the Séminaire du Sud-Est has been withdrawn. Loans with Southwestern Seminary and Southern Seminary are ongoing and on schedule.
- One item was the review of non-disclosure agreements, a referral to the 2021 SBC annual meeting for all SBC entities to review how they use non-disclosure agreements and report to messengers at the 2022 annual meeting of the SBC.
The EC does not use nondisclosure agreements, Mason said, adding that it has sometimes used confidentiality clauses in severance pay and other personnel matters.
- The last two points of this committee dealt with the need for additional funding (from $2.1 million to $4 million) related to the sexual abuse investigation (read the article here). North Carolina’s Joe Knott was the only recorded dissenting vote.
The Convention’s Missions and Ministry Committee, led by President Andrew Hunt of Indiana, presented eight items for consideration by the full board.
Six of the eight came as references from the SBC’s annual meeting in Nashville last June.
- EC members approved the creation of an ad hoc committee to study the resolutions process with the aim of reporting its findings to the messengers attending the 2023 SBC Annual Meeting.
The ad hoc committee will deal with the three SBC referrals focused on the SBC resolutions committee – determining whether the committee should exist in the future; if so, provide prompt posting of resolutions for messengers to consider; and respond to questions relating to amendments to resolutions.
- Two referrals concerned the change of name of the SBC. The committee’s recommendation to reject the application was approved by the EC after some debate. A motion from the Litton assembly to amend the recommendation to delay the decision and appoint a study committee was defeated.
“You can’t change the story just by changing the name,” Hunt said when presenting the reasoning for the committee’s decision. “The only way forward is not to change our name but to change our behavior.”
- Another referral concerned the potential conflict of interest with the same lawyers representing both the EC and the SBC. An outside law firm hired to do the review found no conflict of interest. EC members approved the release of review results to messengers at the 2022 SBC Annual Meeting.
- EC members also approved the addition of college ministries to the ministry mission of the North American Mission Board to supplement the ministry mission of Lifeway Christian Resource to provide church resources and discipleship materials for middle school students.
A request to transfer the assignment from Lifeway (which does not receive CP funding and therefore has no available budget to host meetings of the National Collegiate Ministers’ Network) to NAMB (which receives CP funding and has of resources available to the network) was voted on by messengers at the 2021 SBC Annual Meeting, so the current request is to “add” rather than “move”.
Because NAMB has the ministerial mission of evangelism, it “has been involved in evangelism and collegiate mobilization for a number of years,” NAMB spokesman Mike Ebert told the EC. “We already have a collegiate church planting strategy…and what we want to add to that now is to provide training for collegiate ministers who want it and build a stronger sense of fellowship. … We want to give them a home (from a national point of view).
“Clear on…our lane”
“We are very clear where our path is here,” he added in reference to a concern raised about the impact of this decision on state conventions.
McLaurin also shared during the discussion, “College ministries are strongly supported by our state conventions. … The work takes place primarily with state conventions. NAMB accompanies and supports with more support… not taking away, just adding.
- In other ministry assignments and articles, Hunt reported that his committee did not yet have a candidate to fill a vacancy on the Credentials Committee, but filled a vacancy on the Order of Business, adding Palmer Williams of Tennessee.
The committee also approved the election of two trustees to the Southern Baptist Foundation board of trustees and recommended disbanding a task force that had been established in recent years to review the process for removing trustees from the Southern Baptist Foundation. entity before the end of their mandate. All of these items have been approved by the full Board of Directors.
The Convention Events and Strategic Planning Committee, led by Chairman Erik Cummings of Florida, recommended approving contracts with C. Barry McCarty and Al Gage to serve as parliamentarians for the 2022 SBC Annual Meeting as well as to provide traditional meeting room expenses of $100,000 for the Southern Baptist Ministers’ Conference. Both articles were approved.
The Committee on Southern Baptist Relations, led by President Jim Gregory of Idaho, approved recommendations and amendments for the SBC’s calendar of activities as well as a statement regarding best practices for officer nomination speeches of the SBC. Both articles were approved.
In other matters, EC board members approved general EC-related administrative matters, including a post-employment agreement with former chief financial officer Jeff Pearson; a revised salary structure for current employees; and updated information regarding names and signing authority on company accounts.