By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
In February, the International Mission Board learned that President David Platt was returning to the pastorate, so trustees are in the process of searching for a successor. This will be an important hire because the individual will be leading Southern Baptists’ largest missions-sending organization.
But just recently another SBC leadership position opened that is just as, if not more, important.
Frank Page resigned as president and chief executive office of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee in March after acknowledging “a morally inappropriate relationship in the recent past.”
The person who replaces Frank Page just may be the most important hire the Southern Baptist Convention will have in the next decade, even more important than the next leader of the International Mission Board.
Why? Because the president and CEO of the Executive Committee will be the face of Southern Baptists. He will be the most important cheerleader and advocate of the Cooperative Program. He will be the person who will work with state convention leadership to help promote the Cooperative Program, which funds every level of an Acts 1:8 strategy, enabling Southern Baptists to reach people for Christ across the street, in their states, and around the world.
Unfortunately, I am not convinced that every SBC entity head has totally bought into the concept of cooperation and the Cooperative Program. They may give lip service, but most seem more interested in their own entity, rather than the best interests of Southern Baptists as a whole.
I hope I’m wrong, but that’s what I have observed from afar in recent years.
It is imperative that the next leader of the SBC Executive Committee be 100 percent totally supportive of the Cooperative Program. He must understand the importance of Baptist state conventions in the life of the convention and welcome them as equal partners. Without everyone on board for the Cooperative Program, we will eventually drift back to the old societal method of giving. That would be a tragedy.
Pray for the search committee for the new EC president and CEO. They have a tremendous job ahead of them. Pray that will totally seek the person God has in mind for this position. Personal agendas must be set aside. Too much is at stake for the future of the denomination.