More election analysis . . .

I’ve already written how this year’s Southern Baptist Convention saw the lowest number of votes cast for SBC President since the Conservative Resurgence began in 1979.  After watching the video today of Rev. Bill Dodson’s 2006 nomination speech for Wiley Drake to serve as the convention’s second vice president, I decided to look up some more numbers.

wiley-drake3In 2006, Wiley Drake was nominated for the SBC’s 2nd Vice Presidency, a largely powerless position with mere titular significance.  Also that year, Southeastern Seminary President Daniel Akin nominated the Rev. J.D. Greear for the same position. A colorado minister, Bob Bender, and a pastor from Louisiana were also nominated.  The vote occurred at approximately 6:45 PM ET during the Tuesday evening session.

Like the election for Frank Page to be SBC President, the 2nd vice presidential election was decided on the first ballot.  Wiley Drake of Buena Park, Calif., received 2,408 votes for 50.37 percent.  North Carolina pastor J.D. Greear received 1,508 votes for 31.69 percent, while Bob Bender received 13.34 percent and Jay Adkins receive 4.39 percent.  Here’s the graph:


So, in essence, Wiley Drake received 575 more votes to be 2nd Vice President of the Southern Baptist Convention in 2006 than this year’s winning nominee received to be SBC President.  Unlike the new SBC President, Wiley Drake was never afforded a denomination-sponsored press conference to talk about the humbling experience of having been chosen to serve by a majority of messengers.  In fact, then SBC Executive Committee Vice President for Convention News, Will Hall, refused to publish an op-ed that Wiley wrote about the 2nd Vice Presidency.

I happen to have a copy of that op-ed in my files, and I figure now is as good a time as any to publish the op-ed Baptist Press didn’t want you to read:

The Second Vice Presidency
As submitted to Baptist Press on Oct 6, 2006.
By Wiley Drake

This past June, messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention chose to elect me as their 2nd Vice President. I have to confess that I believed my chances of winning to be equal to those of a three-legged nag winning the Kentucky Derby, but somehow in the providence of God my fellow Southern Baptists elected me on the first ballot.

I’ve never really thought that the 2nd Vice Presidency was much of a job. In fact, I’ve missed more votes for the office than I’ve made in the last twenty years. And when I did vote, I seldom knew any of the candidates personally. It always seemed that a local pastor, often an ethnic minority, was nominated for the job. Likewise, it always seemed that the best nomination speech secured the victory.

People have been telling me since June that I was elected because they thought I represented “the little guy” in the Southern Baptist Convention, and because the nomination speech given by my friend Bill Dodson of Kentucky was a classic moment of comic-relief. Whatever the case, I’m both honored and humbled by the election, and I am eager to serve Southern Baptists wherever and however I can.

But the job of 2nd Vice President doesn’t have any responsibilities. There are no guidelines. There are no qualifications. There are no expectations. Basically, as I’ve watched over the years, the 2nd Vice President gets to hold the gavel at the annual convention for a few minutes, maybe offer a prayer, and then he takes his seat on the platform. If things stay the same, I’ll probably have less time at a microphone as a convention officer than I have had as the “convention gadfly” or “Mr. Resolution,” as some media outlets have labeled me.

So without any job description to direct me, I’m left with no option but to create one on my own. The 2nd Vice President should be a servant role to the convention, not an honorary title. He should be a prayer warrior for convention causes, and the most faithful advocate of our missionaries. He should encourage pastors and reach souls. He should lead his church before he tries to lead the convention, feed the hungry before he feeds his ego, and listen before he speaks.

This year I’m hoping to change the way Southern Baptists think about the 2nd Vice Presidency. I hope to wear out my shoe leather in San Antonio Crossover events. I hope to prayer walk the convention site, asking for a new outpouring of God’s Spirit on our annual meeting. I have vowed to the Lord that I will lift up our president, Frank Page, every day until San Antonio, asking God to give him wisdom and grace to lead our convention. I want to do everything I can to wrap my arms around this world and embrace the down and out with life-changing power of the gospel.

The 2nd Vice President of the Southern Baptist Convention may be third in line to lead the denomination, but I want to be first in line to pray for God’s blessing, to encourage people to be interested and involved in convention work, and to extend God’s helping hand to folks who need a cool drink of water in Jesus’ name.

So if Southern Baptists think of it as they pray for our convention and its president, I hope that sometime they might send up a prayer for me, and for every small church pastor out there who’s trying to make a difference for the Kingdom with the small tools and the insignificant titles that God has given him.



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