Editor’s Note: The Baptist Blogger is committed to facilitating a more transparent process of trustee governance across the Southern Baptist Convention. Today, we acquired copies of closely-held, internal trustee reports regarding the search for a new president to oversee Southern Baptists’ international mission efforts. Given the immense importance of this role and the fact that more than 50 percent of Cooperative Program funds go to support work in foreign fields, we have determined to release this information. IMB Trustees will vote this Thursday, Nov. 15., to elect a new president.
For more than a year, the search committee diligently, prayerfully, and dutifully sought the most qualified candidate to become the next president of the Richmond-based mission board. According to a recently-obtained copy of a report from the search committee chairman to the entire board, more than 300 letters of nomination or support for nominees were received during the preliminary discernment process. There were 142 letters of support, encouragement or advice not relative to a specific nominee.
More than 200 current and former missionaries wrote letters to the search committee about their expectations for the new president. Eighty-eight pastors, 43 laypersons, and 44 denominational employees weighed in on the process. Twenty-seven trustees and former trustees communicated with the search committee, and 35 mission board staff wrote letters of advice, support, and counsel.
At the outset, 80 individuals were nominated, including three who nominated themselves. After their preliminary examination and ranking of candidates, the search committee identified eight “Tier 1” nominees who were under immediate and serious consideration. The primary and secondary references of these candidates were contacted and extensively interviewed. Nine nominees were ranked in Tier II, and 25 nominees were ranked in Tier III. Thirty-eight nominees did not receive any substantial consideration.
Six nominees were interviewed for the presidency. Two men were interviewed twice, one three times, and another four times. The search commiteee evaluated Tier I nominees’ university and seminary transcripts, job evaluations, credit reports, and their health status. By the time the search committee had finally settled on a lead candidate, they had met in-person on 19 occasions and via teleconference nine times.
The Search Committee Chairman reported to the full board that the decision to recommend one man to serve as the mission board’s new president was unanimous. This decision was informed not only by the committees “deep impression of God’s spirit” in their work, but with the assistance of a leading executive diagnostic firm that interviewed and tested the candidate. This assessment was returned positive.
Additionally, both the nominee and his wife were required to complete full medical examinations. A physician who served as a trustee member reviewed the test results from the medical tests and certified the good health condition of both the nominee and his wife. Financial credit scores were pulled for the candidate, and all academic transcripts were verified.
In the end, the chairman of the committee and the board chairman offered the candidate a compensation package “well within the guidelines adopted by the board for its executive leadership.”
To read the search committee’s full report to the trustee board, click here.