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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)—The team tasked with searching for a new president & CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee (SBC EC) is asking for prayer.
“As Christians we understand that prayer is essential in our walk with Christ, and as a committee we felt it was essential to start our process with a season of prayer,” said search team Chairman Adron Robinson. “In John 15:5 Jesus says without Him we can do nothing, so to begin this assignment without seeking God’s direction would be a huge mistake.”
In addition to Robinson, the seven-member search team, appointed by the EC at its Feb. 22 meeting, includes Mollie Duddleston (Springdale, Ark.), Mike Keahbone (pastor of Lawton, First), Jeremy Morton (Woodstock, Ga.), Philip Robertson (Pineville, La.) and David Sons (Lexington, S.C.). Current EC Chairman Rolland Slade will serve in an ex officio capacity until June, when he will be replaced by a newly elected EC chair.
The prayer guide is broken into three sections—personnel, priorities and president. Keahbone stressed the importance of prayer to the team’s mission.
“I was looking through the timelines of the previous hiring processes and did not see a specific and strategic plan to call our convention to pray,” he said. “I brought it up in our first meeting and the entire team was excited to let prayer be the cornerstone of our search process. God knows the shepherd He is calling to lead us. Prayer tunes our hearts to His.”
Morton agreed that the team was united in the idea.
“We all agreed an intentional season of prayer was essential,” he said “We do not assume we can get this search ‘correct’ without God’s gracious touch. In fact, we enter this process humbly and with a sober sense of desperation. Without God’s grace, we know we won’t get it right.
“Prayer isn’t something extra we are doing. It’s the driving force of the entire process. I actually believe the more we pray, the simpler and things will be.”
The group is asking for people to people to pray for the EC trustees, staff, interim President/CEO Willie McLaurin, Vice President for Communication Jonathan Howe, the Sexual Abuse Task Force and SBC President Ed Litton.
“Every believer in our convention is impacted by this hire; therefore, all of us must join together in prayer,” Keahbone said. “My prayer is that God would unify us as a convention. There is no better unifying agent than God’s people seeking their Father’s heart.”
The group is asking Southern Baptists for help in seeking God’s provision of unity, wisdom, patience, discernment, integrity, faithfulness and accountability for the team.
“We hope that God would sanctify our hearts as a committee and as a convention,” Robinson said. “There are many things trying to divide us as a convention, but seeking God will sanctify and unify us. We want to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace and work together to fulfill God’s will.
“The entire Southern Baptist Convention should join in this prayer initiative, and we hope our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world will also join this effort.”
While the team has not begun to receive applications for the position, they are asking Southern Baptists to pray the candidate is:
- Prepared to the lead the EC
- A strong, relational and unifying leader
- Someone with Christ-like character
- A leader with compassion for the hurting and lost
- Deeply rooted in biblical conviction
- A leader committed to the Cooperative Program, the Baptist Faith and Message, SBC entities, the Great Commission and the Great Commandment
“We hope that prayer will help us walk together in unity and clarity,” Morton said. “We hope our season of prayer will encourage all Southern Baptists to join us and participate.
“We are excited and believe by faith that God has a bright future for our search process, that He has the right leader on the horizon for Southern Baptists, and that our convention will move forward and make more disciples for Jesus until He comes again. I’m praying Luke 11:13 that the Holy Spirit will fill us and help us.”
The team has encouraged people to pray from March 11-31, but anytime is a great time to start. If you plan to start on Sunday, March 20, your prayer season will conclude on April 10, Palm Sunday.
Posted By Baptist Press On October 6, 2021
NASHVILLE (BP) – SBC Executive Committee president Ronnie Floyd announced Wednesday (Oct. 6) that giving through the National Cooperative Program Budget Allocation topped $192.2 million for the 2020-21 fiscal year. In doing so, budget estimates for the year were exceeded by nearly $5.4 million.
“What a tremendous testimony of God’s grace given to us and God’s people extending generosity together to reach the world for Jesus Christ,” Floyd said. “This is the power and influence of what happens when we believe in the vision, work together, and partner together for the advancement of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world.
“As our Southern Baptist churches across the nation have been navigating and leading through a global pandemic for the past 18 months, we can testify that God is using them to keep on sending new missionaries on the field, by keeping our present missionary force on the field, by launching new church planters across our nation, by keeping those on the field who are planting new churches, and at the same time, by preparing the called through our seminaries. This work is being accomplished because of your church’s giving through the Cooperative Program.”
The total amount given through the national Cooperative Program Allocation Budget in September 2021 totaled $13,355,428.46, which was $1,467,881.53 (9.90 percent) less than the $14,823,309.99 received in September 2020 and $2,217,488.21 (14.24 percent) less than the monthly budgeted amount of $15,572,916.67.
For the 2020-21 fiscal year, gifts received by the EC for distribution through the CP Allocation Budget total $192,271,436.28. This is $629,414.90 or 0.33 percent less than last year’s budget contribution of $192,900,851.18 and ahead of the $186,875,000.04 budgeted projection to support Southern Baptist ministries globally and across North America by $5,396,436.24 or 2.89 percent.
“I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the sacrificial giving of Southern Baptists,” SBC President Ed Litton said. “Every dollar that is given by these saints is intended to advance the Gospel and accomplish the Great Commission. I am especially grateful to God for their generous giving through the Cooperative Program during a season of economic uncertainty due to the many challenges brought on by the pandemic. May God use all of these funds to equip his church to reach the world for Christ.”
Willie McLaurin, SBC EC vice president for Great Commission relations and mobilization, expressed his gratitude for the “steadfast and sacrificial giving of churches through the Cooperative program.” He added that “the local and global reach of every gift is a testimony to the strong cooperative spirit of every church. The churches of the SBC have demonstrated obedient resolved and have trusted God with their resources.”
Total Cooperative Program giving includes all monies given by churches through state conventions to be used for Great Commission ministry and missions within the respective states, across North America and around the world. Begun in 1925, the Cooperative Program is the financial fuel to fund the SBC mission and vision of reaching every person for Jesus Christ in every town, every city, every state, and every nation. Monies are distributed according to the 2020-2021 Cooperative Program Allocation Budget.
Designated gifts received in September amounted to $3,466,582.33. This total was $1,244,699.12, or 26.42 percent, less than gifts of $4,711,281.45 received last September. Also, this year’s designated gifts for the fiscal year amount to $192,351,656.08, which is $18,132,149.23, or 10.41 percent, more than the $174,219,506.85 given through same period in the previous fiscal year.
Designated totals include both Lottie Moon Christmas Offering gifts to the International Mission Board and Annie Armstrong Easter Offering gifts to the North American Mission Board. NAMB announced Monday (Oct. 4) a fiscal year total of $66.5 million for AAEO – the largest in history. IMB is expected to announce the LMCO total in the coming days.
About the Author:
Jonathan is vice president for communications at the SBC Executive Committee.