Yesterday I wrote about the two elections for First and Second Vice President – Marshal Ausberry and Noe Garcia, respectively. Both nominees the only announced for those roles.
The election for recording secretary is a different story. Two nominees have been announced so far. John Yeats, executive director of the Missouri Baptist Convention will be nominated again for a role he’s held for over 20 years.
The SBC recording secretary is responsible for the record of the proceedings of the Southern Baptist Convention, training volunteers for convention business sessions and the final edit of the SBC Book of Reports and the SBC Annual. The recording secretary also serves as an ex officio member of the SBC Executive Committee…
Here’s where this election gets interesting: Also being nominated is Eddie Eaton, pastor of Fuquay-Varina Baptist Church in North Carolina. Eaton brings an impressive resume as well with a background in ministry, missions, law enforcement, denominational service, faith-riders motorcycle ministry, and administration. The BP announcement contains details of all those areas of service.
The Biblical Recorder reported more details about Eaton’s nomination here.
“I’ve seen all different sides of helping victims, dealing with the perpetrators and then pastoral ministry along with that,” Eaton said, referring to current efforts in the SBC to respond to sex abuse in churches.
“I began my career in law enforcement as a victim’s advocate,” Eaton said. “I was dealing with sexual abuse and domestic violence, helping victims of those crimes not only deal with the aftermath … but also walking with them through the [recovery] process.”
Eaton also discussed the dynamic of believing it’s time for someone else to serve in the role out of principle:
Eaton also expressed concerns about the lack of term limits on the office of recording secretary… Other similar offices, such as the SBC president and executive committee members, are limited in the number of terms they may serve…
While emphasizing that he supported the current recording secretary, John Yeats, executive director of the Missouri Baptist Convention, Eaton said he believes Yeats’ tenure of more than two decades in the position is too long.
“For all I know, he’s done a great job,” Eaton said. “I have voted for him in the past. … I just do not believe in my heart that somebody should be in that position for that long.”
Here at Voices, we’ve had recent discussions on the problem of having an unlimited term on the SBC Executive Committee. Different solutions have been proposed. I’ve heard some talk about a motion to adjust bylaws to solve this problem. I don’t know if anything along those lines will happen or not, though to me it seems like a wise move regardless of how this election turns out.
There’s a lot going on in this election – but at the end of the day, I believe we have two nominees who will both serve well. I will likely cast my vote for Eddie Eaton and encourage you to consider this option as well. He’s been a bi-vocational pastor, has led small churches to grow in contexts similar to a majority of SBC pastors, has experience that intersects with pressing needs in our convention in how to care well for abuse survivors, and has administrative experience that will allow him to serve the convention well.