A Response to Lee Concerning New BGCT Executive Director

I decided to post my response to some comments by Lee Saunders to my post on the new Executive Director of the BGCT “A New Day Dawns”. Lee and I both hoped for a new Executive Director who would have had stronger public ties to the “constructive conservative” churches of our convention. Below are a few of my thoughts on this issue. I believe our best course of action is to get behind Dr. Everett and to help him lead us to be all God wants us to be.

Lee,

Thank you for your comments. I intend to blog on the issue of the budget in the coming days. I agree with you completely Dr. Everett has been set up for a major crisis in the area of finances, and the situation will not get much better if he is perceived to be a strong moderate leader. Our BGCT churches who had connections with the SBC want change and to be included in the power structures of the convention. I hope Dr. Everett will strongly encourage our BGCT officers to fill the study committee mandated by the last convention with a strong majority of BGCT/SBC leaders and new faces. This would send a clear indication that we will not be dealing with business as usual.

Concerning your desire and my desire for a leader more closely aligned with the values of many of our conservative churches, I believe in the light of our current situation that we need to be pleased, and committed to help Dr. Everett succeed. The Search Committee was a blend of good people. I believe they want what is best for our convention, but they were trapped in a very difficult situation. The power structures and values of the BGCT over the past 20 years have been strongly moderate. Fundamentalist continue to create a cloud of fear and suspicion. Interpreting the last convention in Amarillo was a test for even an OT prophet. Was it a Panhandle fluke? Do those of us who have started the movement to bring the BGCT back toward the SBC churches in our convention mean business? Do we have what it takes to broaden the tent and to get the majority of our churches to send messengers to the convention to establish meaningful change? Is the TBC still the moral/values conscience of the convention or have the winds of change truly began to blow?

In light of these uncertainties I believe they made a wise choice. Dr. Everett can work with the present power structures (i.e…TBC, CBF leaders). However, if Dr. Fish is right about him, and I trust Dr. Fish, Dr. Everett has a Kingdom view that can embrace the values of the “constructive conservatives” among us. If Dr. Everett is pragmatic, and practical it will be a “no brainer”. He will realize that 90% of the resources come from BGCT/SBC churches. He will realize that his two top giving churches and their pastors are strong SBC guys (Green Acres/FBC Midland). He will see that we must stop the financial drain immediately or we will severely compromise our ability to do what God has called us to do.

In light of these realities, those of us we want to see meaningful change need to step up the plate immediately. We need to show him we are friends, not foes. We need to prove by our actions that our agenda is Kingdom First, not control.

The ball is in our court. We can help him and our convention succeed, or we can throw stones and suspicion and allow this great Kingdom enterprise to die a slow, agonizing death. I choose to get behind him, and to fan the winds of change.

David

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “A Response to Lee Concerning New BGCT Executive Director

  1. Dr. Lowrie, you have said it all very well. The best possibility for change exists in our participation from inside, not from the outside looking in. We must commit ourselves to praying for the new E.D. and responding to what I am sure will be his many pleas for help. Without seeking to judge him, we will know a lot about the future when we know how he goes about selecting people to come to his side on study committees, etc. I can tell you those of us who were in the BGCT structure and who pleaded for SBC friendly people to be included, were ourselves branded as findamentalists by some of the lay people who staffed the major committees. Men like Bailey Stone, James Semple, etc. tried to be inclusive in planning programs, and they paid a price for it. Like me, at retirement, it was as if we had all fallen off the planet. Never one time were we asked to help in any way, even though we had a large cosntituency out in the state with whom we had worked. Your approach is well thought out and I pray earnestly that Texas Baptists will give the new E.D. the benefit of the doubt as he comes on board. Its hard to criticize someone for whom you are praying.

  2. Sorry about the typo. I meant “fundamentalists” not findamentalists.

  3. Lee

    David, as usual, your response is well said.

    I think it is fair to point out our initial perceptions. Most of what I have written, on my own blog and others, is a reaction to the search committee’s choice without having read much of what others have said. I’m not suprised that, on the surface at least, Dr. Everett fits the expected profile of a strongly moderate candidate. Considering the way many fundamentalists in SBC leadership have behaved, and conducted business since the “conservative resurgence”, the search committee can’t be blamed for being overly cautious. On the other hand, I’ve seen some moderate Baptists rise to the occasion, however, and reach that level where it is about advancing the kingdom and not about control, including some who were on the search committee. That didn’t quite happen with this particular search, and I’m a bit disappointed that it didn’t, and I’ve said so.

    That being said, I agree completely that the ball is in our court so to speak. We will not accomplish anything by a critical assault on the leader selected by the search committee and elected by the executive board except to guarantee more divisiveness and distrust. We must always take the high road, regardless of what “the other guys” do. We were asked our opinion at listening sessions, and I gave mine. I envisioned a forty-something executive with experience in cutting edge, progressive, baby-boomer, contemporary churches and perhaps even a dozen years in business, coming off the staff of a conservative church affiliated with the SBC but not actively involved in denominational politics. But please hear what I have to say here. Just because the search committee’s selection didn’t quite match my preferences, I am not the kind of person who picks up his football and goes home. Hear my heart on this. I would love nothing more than to see the BGCT become the state convention where the labels we have stuck on each other for years become meaningless. I’m encouraged by what I have heard about Dr. Everett, and I pray that he will embrace those in the BGCT who support the SBC.

  4. Lee,

    It’s like imaging world peace–a label free convention. I would suspect that would reflect Kingdom of God values rather than kingdom of men. I long for the day when we are known by names rather than the alphabet of letters (SBC, CBF, TBC, BGCT, or even FBC).

    Thank you for your investment in our future. Your voice calls us to “reason together”.

    David Lowrie

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