Randy Adams is one of four announced candidates for SBC president. Baptist Press covers his announcement with links to the other three (Al Mohler, Ed Litton, and Mike Stone) in this article. Adams was to be nominated this past year but the virus gave the SBC JD Greear for another year.
I doubt I would vote for Adams but his strong stance on SBC openness and transparency tempts me even though I disagree with some of his other views. More on those at another time.
Here’s what he says about openness and transparency, from his blog, A Path to Reforming the SBC
SBC entities must submit to measures producing transparency in finances and accountability for how money is spent. Periodic forensic audits must be conducted of every entity, with the results made available to every SBC church. God’s money, given by God’s people, requires the highest level of accountability and transparency. There must not be secret financial arrangements, and money must not be used to purchase support for a leader or a program. Policies against conflicts of interest must be established and enforced. Non-Disparagement Agreements (NDAs) are used far too frequently in the SBC to purchase the silence of possible truth-tellers and whistle blowers. This is wrong and it must cease as a standard practice.
He employs several examples, including the recent retirement of LifeWay’s leader and some actions by NAMB (Adams is a strident NAMB critic). Read the blog for details. They have all been reported in relevant news outlets.
Adams is dead right on the odious practices in the SBC of trustee secrecy, conflicts of interest, opaqueness, and public disclosure of entity head salaries. Here’s a recent Tweet:
Financial transparency essential for ministry leaders. NWBC has budget on website business services page. We’ll be posting additional financials. We answer every question posed by NWBC pastors/churches, my salary included. More to come. #sbc21
I’ve checked. Adams has extensive financial information available on the Northwest Baptist Convention site – budget, his salary, etc. This should be done across the board in the SBC, including:
- Full disclosure (without having to ask for the figures) of all SBC entity leader salaries, including housing allowance and other compensation. Follow the same practice as required for public corporations which would, I believe, include disclosure of family members who are employed by the entity or who have other financial interests.
- Disclosure of employment contracts for entity heads. If the entity guarantees paying a retired, fired, or resigned leader health insurance for life, a new car every two years, paid expenses for the leader and his wife to the Annual Meeting for life, whatever else, these should be known. In some cases, not even entity trustees know these things. Appalling.
- Expansion and strengthening of the SBC Business and Financial Plan. Some entities, seems to me in my lay opinion, have finessed these requirements. Smoke and mirrors abound in the SBC. They should not.
- The SBC should start putting watchdog trustees on entity boards, not sychophants, those who are looking for a sinecure or some financial reward, or who are happy to get expenses paid and some enhancement for their resume. Most trustees are good and decent people. How is it that we have managed so poorly? Systemic failure.
- Trustee boards should have, and follow, conflict of interest policies.
There are more and the these are a mix of my own and Adam’s.
The SBC trustee system is a disgrace with multiple, utter failures over the past decades. Our philosophy seems to be “no failure is too great for us to say, ‘let’s just move on and not hurt missions’.” Nothing changes. The past is repeated.
My opinion, rank conjecture from the SBC hinterlands, is that Randy Adams doesn’t have much of a chance to be elected. Regardless, his stance on openness and transparency is one that should heard and followed by whomever is elected.
Let’s be candid here. We have four candidates. Two are denominational employees, Adams and Mohler. One, Litton, has a spouse employed by one of our entities. Only one, Mike Stone, is just an ordinary SBCer not on the payroll. I’m not implying wrongdoing by anyone, just noting the facts.
The SBC’s system is sufficiently diffused that direct action by the president is impossible…except for persuasion. I hope Adams is persuasive on this subject.
Photo from Adam’s blog site. Nice picture.
A commenter asked if SBC Voices was going to cover the three candidates other than Ed Litton. Sure. I’ve written on Adams before. Mike Stone has been the subject of a few pieces here, and Mohler is ubiquitous in SBC life. There are 138 days to the Annual Meeting. We can’t write about SEC football all the time. Look for many. The Voices team disagrees on the best candidate, I’d speculate.
Maybe I’ll be in Nashville. Maybe not.
If one of these four men are elected, the SBC will have a non-megachurch individual as president (I’m not sure about the size of Litton’s church; Stone is a large church pastor, not megachurch). I have said that it would be nice to leave the parade of megapastors-as-SBC-president. Looks like we will.