Last week I went to the IMB’s International Learning Center to meet with other seminary missions professors and IMB staff members. We do this every year during the spring semester. Of course, the main topic of conversation was the search for a new president for the IMB. The chairman of the IMB trustees has selected 15 trustees to serve on the search committee, and the committee has begun its work. I realize that 15 seems like a large search committee, but the trustees’ by-laws specify that number. The staff informed the professors that the committee would contact us to ask for our opinions and recommendations. Also, the search committee will solicit recommendations from all Southern Baptists at some time in the future. At this point in the process they are in “listening” mode. Contrary to what you may have heard no one has been contacted about accepting this position.
When I learned that the search committee would invite me to make suggestions, that made me think about what I would write. I’ve decided to ask our dear readers to help me? What characteristics and qualities and abilities would you like to see in the new IMB president? Perhaps we, the erudite devotees of Voices, can work together to develop a profile that will WOW the search committee.Here are my preliminary thoughts:
- First, I want the new president to have experience as a foreign missionary. To understand missionaries, you need to have struggled to learn the local language, experienced culture shock, suffered with missionary disease (amoebic dysentery) and learned to function in a foreign environment.
- Second, I want the person to be an able communicator and preacher.
- Third, I want the person to be free to travel widely around the SBC and the world. This would preclude a candidate with young children.
- Fourth, I want the candidate to have experience as a field leader. The candidate should have experience in administering the work of a group of missionaries.
- Fifth, the candidate should be a person with a compelling vision for the IMB’s future.
- And, sixth, the candidate should agree with my approach to missions strategy. Such agreement is a sign of sound judgment and wise discernment.
What do you think? What would you like for me to tell the search committee?