Friday, June 25, 2010

Plodder's advice for Frank Page, new XCommittee President (Part 1)

I like Frank Page. I voted for Frank Page for SBC president. I think Frank Page is a good choice for President of the Executive Committee. I am pleased that Frank Page is willing to take the helm there even though his bosses were significantly divided over hiring him. I think he will do well.

The current issue of The Christian Index has a nice interview with him: Frank Page to lead SBC Executive Committee

He doesn’t need my advice, may not benefit from it, and may see it as being highly presumptuous; however, since the SBC is nothing if not a mob of pontificators and advisors, I offer my advice as he becomes only the sixth in his position as titular, day-to-day leader of the Southern Baptist Convention:

Congratulations on your election. You have my prayers, goodwill, and support. I appreciate your record as a pastor and as SBC president and believe you have both the necessary skills and instincts to do well as Executive Committee President.

I don’t expect you to "set the vision...for all of the SBC." I do expect you to "set the...tone for all of the SBC" by being, as you state it "irenic," committed to Christ, selfless, forgiving, and loving.

Please lead the XC back to where they were prior to hiring high profile people for new positions. Take care of the convention’s business but don’t take mission money to build a large staff. We have sufficient entities that we already fund that can address those things.

Try and navigate us through the minefield that is the clergy sexual abuse scandal. Some of your previous statements hit the wrong notes here. The SBC should be seen as taking this issue seriously, as not tolerating affiliated churches who harbor such criminals, as deploring the scandal, but also as maintaining our polity. If additional appropriate steps can be taken we should take them.

Be forward looking with respect to denominational funding, trends, and change. I get the sense that you are.

Be careful handling amendments to our constitution. We added a clause to kick the homosexual-approving churches out. Now you are faced with looking at one to kick out churches for racial discrimination. How far should we go? How long is the list of odious sins for which the SBC should be intolerant? No doubt, you get this picture better than me.

You can set the tone for the SBC and all of our entities by being completely open and transparent. We're tired of paying the bills and being stiffed while we do it. No more executive sessions, private employment contracts, confidentiality agreements than is legally necessary. We should have access to them. And, please, no more blue ribbon panels who insist on secrecy.

Give Baptist Press a long leash. If we have solid people there then let them investigate, examine, evaluate and report. I’m tired of depending on Associated Baptist Press and assorted bloggers for news.

Do you really need SBC Life to promote stuff? Take a look at that (just don’t drop Charles Lowry’s column).

Don’t try and make a living beating up the Calvinists (but do keep an eye on them).

I know that it’s not in your job description, but could you do something about NAMB? I’m tired of being embarrassed.

I don't know if this will happen again but if you convene a Cooperative Program promotion study group and all they come up with is to tell churches to give more, fire them all. That dog hasn't hunted in decades.


More later...

5 comments:

Norm said...

William: “I don't know if this will happen again but if you convene a Cooperative Program promotion study group and all they come up with is to tell churches to give more, fire them all. That dog hasn't hunted in decades.”

Norm: Translation: “Please do not remind us of the 600-pound gorilla in the room. If we ignore it long enough, it might go away.”

And so might SBC … as it is currently understood. Perhaps it should?

Several organizations in which I carry membership and several organizations that provide services for my employer do so on a sliding-fee basis, that is, depending on salary and size (e.g., people, budget, equipment) respectively, fees vary. The fee scales have not been an issue, given people understand the reason for such and the importance of supporting the mission of said entities and doing so equitably. The reach and effectiveness of these entities depends on broad ownership and participation, which would be compromised if a fee schedule were not designed around the resources of its potential and current members.

That SBC administrative and ministerial structures and procedures, supported by CP funds, are inadequate is both a relevant and irrelevant consideration. It is relevant in that CP funds are not used wisely, and irrelevant in that whatever structures and processes that are in place depend on support, equitably perceived, by the membership. People will complain about leadership and its churches’ support of CP, and people will, nonetheless, then vote for these people to continue in office (to which said leadership will continue to create administrative structures and processes in which it depends to sustain its influence and ensure its legitimacy). It is an institutional disconnect that, with the passing of time, will facilitate greater levels of institutional disengagement within the membership. Giving more to CP is less an issue than giving appropriately and the levels of felt responsibility among the membership, which is a discussion that has not taken place, even as disengagement is already underway.

foxofbama said...

Twothoughts:

Aaron WEaver has some reservations about Page at his blog;
two) I want to commend Dr. Thornton for his exchange with Bruce Gourley about the relative futures of SBC and CBF at baptistlife.com.
Of course I take Gourley's perceptions as closer to the truth, but I have to commend Thornton for articulate exceptions, of which I am convinced are honest expressions; but I continue to be persuaded are short sighted andless than adequate in the bigger framework of Historic Baptist witness at its best.
I hope all who see this will read the www.abpnews.com feature story on Bill Leonard's grand presentation at Charlotte CBF last night, Thursday.

Spiritual Samurai said...

I had Dr. Frank Page for personal evangelism at SWBTS while Dilday was president and education was still going on there.

If he has not been co-opted by all the controversy and characters, the SBC will again have an Executive Director who listens to God rather than thinking he is God's gift to Baptist as some "leaders" seem to think.

foxofbama said...

Montoya: I saw Ed Babinski tonight. You ought to share his boook with Thornton on some occasion.
Dr. Thornton, hope your Plodder audience will take a look at the Pierce and Gourley discussion at bl.com you have engaged.
Here is something for your church leadership to consider as a matter of intergrity and growth.
Have Dan Vestal and Frank Page gather for a weekend at your congregation and discuss some of the things you are discussing at bl.com now.
Do it as a matter of congregational maturity.
Read some grand stuff this evening on Bonhoeffer's 9 months in America in 30. May pick it up with you and Montoya later.
In Jesus Names

SFox

Oh, next time you are down to North Gwinnett HS mae the acquaintance of Kim Wimpey, subject of a recent Gwinnett Post Sports feature.
He and I were baptized on the same night in 59 at Truett Memorial in Hayesville.

Jonathan said...

Great post William. Norm's suggestion of a sliding scale is very interesting (I'm not I understand the comment regarding the 600lb gorilla in the room...I'd like to hear Norm expand that thought). I also like the idea of pay for performance when the pay is generated from the offerings of the members of SBC churches. We should be establishing firm metrics for upper management folks (i.e. the ones at the high end of the SBC compensation scale) and hold them to those metrics on an annual basis.