Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express story on sex abuse. The SAE must have lost a coin flip over who gets top billing. A compilation of stories of sex abuse in SBC churches over the past two decades, the series has dominated news in the SBC for the year. Credit to Rob Downen and John Tedesco (and others) for an enormous amount of reporting on this. Credit also for getting SBC polity right in most cases. This SBC pastor (retired) finds little to complain about in the series. We could have and should have done better.
Ronnie Floyd elected Executive Committee CEO. A much higher profile for this position and lots of staff changes, retirements, replacements, additions. Lots of new staff, higher pay, and additional staff. I predict that the SBC Executive Committee will request more money for their work. They are at 2.99 percent of the SBC Allocation Budget. Not sure who loses if they grab for more. It remains to be seen if more vigorous leadership can make a difference in the Cooperative Program. Such may make a difference in the conduct of the Executive Committee itself. The 86 (plus ex officios) member body hasn’t distinguished itself lately.
Adam Greenway elected Southwestern Seminary president. Credit to the new CEO and trustees for quick action restoring confidence in what was once the largest seminary in the world. The windows came down. The buzz is positive for a change. Yet to come (and probably will never come) is an honest, complete, and forthright look at the damage done by the former president and administration.
Jamie Dew elected president NOBTS. Not as high a profile as SWBTS but lots of praise for this choice.
LifeWay closes all their brick-and-mortar stores and hires Ben Mandrell as their new CEO. He’s a next gen leader. We will see if LifeWay can keep revenues flowing through online stuff. Haven’t heard much from Mandrell but he’s only been on the job for six months. Hey Ben, fix Ridgecrest up, would you?
JD Greear’s appointments. JD, as SBC president gets to appoints a bunch of people to some committees. The appointees were more diverse than ever before. This is under-the-radar news.
Caring Well, the Sex Abuse study group’s work and recommendations, ERLC’s wildly popular national conference on sex abuse, sex abuse survivors and advocates attack SBC over use of only some abuse survivors. Wrap all this up in one item. The Caring Well resource is excellent. Thus far over 750 churches are involved in using it. That’s a small number but is an indicator of success in the matter, since no SBC church has to use any SBC generated program or plan. Critics abound but last year there was nothing like this available. This year the profile has been raised and SBC leadership is doing a good job persuading autonomous churches to prepare for, guard against, and respond to sex abuse in their churches. It is acknowledged that the community of abuse survivors and advocates does not consider anything much of all this as progress.
That grand old Baptist University, Baylor, gets an invite to the Sugar Bowl to play one of the top SEC teams, Georgia. Your humble hacker and plodder blogger, a Georgia alumnus, predicts a green and gold victory because he is expecting a good many of the Dawgs who expect to be high NFL draftees will pass on playing in the bowl. But hey, a win is a win. You heard it first here.
This isn’t a ranking of top news stories although the first one I use should easily be the top story.
I can always add stories if some happen. Generally, SBC leaders, pastors, and members don’t make news this time of the year because they are busy between now and the end of the year stuffing themselves full of Christmas dishes: praline pecans, divinity candy, cookies with everything but Jesus on them; rich, artery-clogging casseroles, and the like. Alas, I haven’t been back to North Carolina for “the ham what am”, a restaurant where you can eat all-you-can-eat of good old salty country ham. I expect I overdid my daily food police intake of sodium back in those days by a month or so. But it wuz good.