From Baptist & Reflector, Baptist Press reports
NASHVILLE — Randy C. Davis, president and executive director of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, is among numerous state leaders and executive directors who have embraced Southern Baptist Convention President J.D. Greear’s call for a national day of fasting and prayer for the presidential search committees at five SBC entities. Greear has designated Oct. 8 for the day of prayer.
“I am asking Tennessee Baptists to give themselves to praying and fasting for visionary, godly leadership who can rally our churches around the Great Commandment and Great Commission,” said Davis. “I appreciate the president of our Southern Baptist convention calling us to a day of prayer and fasting.”
Numerous other state leaders endorsed Greear’s call to prayer with messages of support on social media platforms and other outlets. Davis said the coming weeks and months are certain to be a pivotal time in Southern Baptist history, both nationally and in Tennessee.
“Most of our lifetimes we have not seen a time when five of our Southern Baptist related entities were searching for leaders,” said Davis. “We must seek God’s direction in all of these decisions. I would also call on Tennessee Baptists to pray for the presidential search for our own Carson-Newman University.”
The five entities currently seeking presidents are the SBC Executive Committee, the International Mission Board, LifeWay Christian Resources, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Greear announced the call to pray and fast on Oct. 2 via Twitter and in letters to state convention executive directors and associational mission strategists.
“From the moment our 2018 Convention convened, I have sensed that God is doing something unprecedented in our midst,” Greear wrote in his letters. “With many of the changes we have seen in SBC leadership recently, that sense has only increased. Today we received news of Dr. Chuck Kelley’s upcoming retirement [from New Orleans Seminary], which means that there are now five national entities seeking new leaders.
“I believe God is up to something that — if we are humble and faithful — can prepare us for greater days of effectiveness for the Great Commission,” wrote Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C.
Greear requested prayer specifically for:
• “Wisdom for the search committee” at each entity “in assessing what is needed most for effective ministry in the 21st century”;
• “Boldness … in asking the difficult questions”;
• “Loving-kindness” as search committee members “interact with one another”; and
• “That God’s face would shine upon us as a people — not for our sake, but that Jesus’ name would be known to the ends of the earth.”
Davis mentioned for Tennessee Baptists to include the Carson-Newman University presidential search committee in their prayers. Current president Randall O’Brien in August announced his intention to retire in December of this year, concluding 10 years of service at the helm of the university. Tennessee State Representative Harry Brooks of Knoxville, chair of the board of trustees of Carson-Newman University, announced the formation of two separate search committees as the university seeks a new president following the retirement of O’Brien. A Presidential Search Committee will be tasked with finding the institution’s 23rd president, while an Interim Presidential Search Committee will seek leadership for the office until a new president can be named.
“We are in a season of great transition across our denomination,” Davis said. “Now is a time we must look to God and seek His leadership. Each of these positions is vital in leading Southern Baptists on a continued path to be people who reach our state and the nations for Christ.” B&R