Tuesday, August 23, 2011

NAMB and restoring lost trust

Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong have always been one-two in special offerings for the churches I have pastored over the last three decades. We didn't have to pray about it, think about it, decide about it; come December and March it was Lottie and Annie and that was that.

Then NAMB's head took a private jet to a movie in London, at our expense, and Spending God's Money came along, more revelations about wasting money, a hasty resignation followed by SBC heavyweights putting out a statement about how wonderful the leader was. We get to pay an estimated two year severance for him, along with tens of thousands of dollars for executive placement services. NAMB trustees eventually get us a new CEO, tell us he's doing a great job and then force him to resign. NAMB seemed to be as good at creating disasters as with disaster relief.

What a mess. An expensive mess. Our mess.

My confidence in NAMB was deep-sixed. We still did the Annie Armstrong Offering but with little enthusiasm.

"Don't hurt the people in the field," we were admonished.

Sorry, that effort at emotional blackmail won't work this time. How about we get our house in order before going back to the status quo ante?

Eventually we get another CEO, Kevin Ezell, who arrived about a year ago. I like stuff about him. I had some questions about him.

I'm liking what I see with Kevin Ezell. He comes to preach in my church (I invited him) and I appreciate a few moments with him before the service. He connected well with our church. I mean, the guy brought several different Bibles so he could use the one our church preferred. Any old Bible suits us just fine.

I introduce him to my church as the man with the SBC's hardest job and I think he is doing well. I get the impression that here's a leader who might find more satisfaction in pastoring a congregation (or several of them) than in administering a $140m outfit with a truckload of critics snapping at him over every decision; but, administer he does.

He wastes no time downsizing NAMB HQ, as if it was written in stone that we need hundreds of people in Alpharetta to reach North America for Christ. It wasn't. Good move.

After decades of routing money from churches to NAMB, back to states who put it in a bunch of different stuff and have ordinary people scratching their heads over the byzantine process, he tries to add some sensibility to all that. Good move. Time will tell how good.

He moves the organization from doing a million things with mediocrity to a focus on church planting and doing that well. Sounds like a better plan to me.

I'm feeling better about NAMB.

It's in our interest that he succeed, not fail, and NAMB hasn't seen much of that lately - success, that is.

Every SBCer has an opinion about everyone and everything SBC.

Here's mine.


Gary said...


I like your opinion on this. Getting back to its first love and calling is the ticket.

We should all have the laser-like of focus of 'doing the thing which matters', rather than devouring each other.

It's a rough path for Dr. Ezzell,but I'm praying/rooting for him and the NAMB as well.


Tim Dahl said...


When you're right, you're right.


Kevin said...

I read the Spending God's Money Book. It was quite an eye-opener. Hope the NAMB gets things together.