Someone put a link to this interview in the comments on Howell’s post. And I thought it was worth hearing from Dr. Ezell’s own words how things are going at NAMB. I found myself a little more sympathetic to Ezell – he’s had a rough job. I sure wouldn’t want it. It’s an interesting and seemingly forthright discussion.
1) I was surprised at the forceful description of the inadequacy of the way NAMB was functioning prior to his coming. At about 16:30, he says that NAMB was “pathetic.” He describes NAMB as the Montreal Expos (badly managed and facing extinction) and said that NAMB needed “radical change.” That seems to be what he has done in his first 6 months.
At 19:30 he makes the claim that NAMB (and HMB before it) has never had a golden age to look back on. He does not view NAMB’s recent problems as a departure from the past, but as a continuation of it.
I certainly agree with him there.
At about 20 to 20:30, there is a discussion of strategies in different states. Evidently, it is his intent to take over that process of church planting more and develop a national strategy and give states less freedom to do what they think is best. Looks like “big government” days for church planting. Is that good or bad? I’m not sure.
2) He seems to see himself as a victim of others’ meanness and criticism. He jokes about his attacks on bloggers and others, but sees himself as a man under attack. He does not seem to respond well to criticism from others, from what I have been told. This would seem to be evidence of that.
At about minute 6, he describes how little people have trusted him. He does not really deal with the “why.”
At 11:30 minutes, he mentions the “housecoat” controversy, but only in a sense as if he is the victim of unreasonable judgment of others. No mention of the fact that the derisive comments were actually his.
3) At around minute 28, he gives an extended discussion about record-keeping anomalies in the past. Basically, we have not been planting as many churches as our records indicate. I hope this was sloppy record-keeping, not intentional inflation of numbers. But that was a disturbing discussion. Basically, he said that reality is we have NOT been doing what we have been SAYING we are doing. Things are worse than we have been told.
4) I found it interesting how different he and Dr. Mohler view him from the way that we tend to view him. He sees himself as a humble seeker of relationships. That is not the perspective many have formed of him.
5) Around the 42 minute mark, he addresses the key issue – why he, as a pastor, largely ignored denominational missions. He discusses how he did not understand the CP and is getting to know what its all about. It is encouraging to hear this. But on the other hand, one wonders how someone could advance in SBC life as he has without understanding our denominational structure any better than that.
At 44:00, he discusses how he wishes he had done differently as a pastor and regrets being “disengaged” from the denomination.