I join my colleagues here in expressing sorrow and lament for so many victims of horrible abuse in churches and entities of our convention. We may differ on some aspects of recommended changes but not on that.
Last year after some disastrous Zoom meetings many were calling for the SBC Executive Committee to revert to relative obscurity, to be led by an efficient administrator and to return to properly and quietly carrying out their responsibilities. With the Sex Abuse Task Force, Guidepost investigation, report, recommendations, and reactions, it appears that the EC will have to play a greater role.
I don’t think I am alone in the attitude that It is difficult to find reasons to have confidence in our EC, splendid as individuals though they may be. The EC has my prayers for a difficult time, EC staff and interim leadership as well.
There are roughly twice as many EC board members that there are EC staff. The body meets only a few times a year. All of the members of the EC are volunteers to that task. A few of the board leaders take care of things. I’m a total amateur but I don’t know that this system is a recipe for success.
I’ve been a Southern Baptist for a long time. We have in our culture a Polyanna-ish faith that if we just get the right people in place, all this will be fixed; thus, the call to purge certain current EC of members. If this is done, so the thinking goes, the new and improved EC will not make the mistakes of the old and disgraced EC. I’m not confident of that and a purge is a bad idea.
I’m slogging through the depressing Guidepost report. It is a lot to digest. The more I reflect on their recommendations the more sensible they become. Guidepost Solutions, LLC has a better understanding of Baptist polity than most Southern Baptist pastors. May a reminder be given that the EC caused much of these problems which is why we paid millions to get a professional, independent look at it? One hope that current and new EC members assume a posture of humility and contrition and spend most of their time reading, reflecting and praying. Difficult decisions lie ahead.
As it stands, the SATF is recommending that the convention approve the establishment of an Abuse Reform Implementation Task Force. Good idea. If the recommendation is approved the new president appoints the members of this task force. Messengers should keep that in mind when voting.
In time, maybe the whole concept of a mammoth oversight board will be reexamined.