The SBC’s number two outfit, North American Mission Board, is still looking for a CEO. Such is the importance of the task that the search committee chairman is not even a trustee (Ted Traylor’s term expired last month but they kept him on the search committee where he has a vote on the new CEO but not a final vote as a trustee…an odd situation.).
In the meantime, interim CEO Richard Harris told NAMB trustees, his bosses, to “go home.” Well, I’m all for a little rhetorical jacking up of the trustees and I understand challenging them.
What Harris told the assembled brethren/sistren, the group responsible for NAMB’s spectacular failures over the past few years was this:
“NAMB’s future has been described by some — not me — as broken and which can’t be fixed,” Harris said. “I’ve heard others say NAMB is ineffective and insignificant — that NAMB has no future and has squandered its opportunities.
“The day I think those things, I’ll walk out the door. If you believe NAMB is ineffective, insignificant or has squandered opportunities — whether you’re on the staff or a trustee — you ought to resign and go home. I think NAMB has a greater future that most of us can imagine,” Harris said.
I understand the rhetoric but were I a trustee, I would have replied thusly: “Richard, I’m not going home. You didn’t put me on this trustee board and you’re not going to tell me what thoughts are acceptable as a trustee. I don’t believe NAMB is broken and can’t be fixed, nor do I believe it is insignificant or has no future, but I do think that any reasonable observer would say that it absolutely has squandered opportunities and some degree of credibility with churches and SBCers and we ought not to forget that.”
I think trustees ought to face the future with fear, fear that their standing with Southern Baptists will be further eroded if they don’t get it right this time, especially with the GCRTF having made NAMB the centerpiece of their modest recommendations for the SBC's future.
My prayer for Harris, who has been around a long time and is a good man, for the search committee and for the future CEO is that they will be able to rebuild what has been lost and move ahead with effective work in North America.
NAMB has a history of following up a catastrophe by saying, "Oh, let's just forget about that and move on. By the way, be sure and keep sending us your money."
I think the Executive Committee did well in getting Frank Page. I hope NAMB will make a similar choice. I doubt anyone will have a tougher job than the new NAMB head.