Hankins challenges NAMB committee choice
    September 10 2010 by wire reports

    In a bold, unprecedented open letter to trustees of the North American Mission Board (NAMB), David Hankins, executive director of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, has called for NAMB trustees not to elect Kevin Ezell, pastor of Highview Baptist Church of Louisville, Ky. as NAMB president.

    Trustees are scheduled to elect Ezell, the unanimous choice of the eight-person search committee, during a Sept. 14 special called meeting. Hankins says “a major flaw” disqualifies Ezell for the post.

    “I believe you are being asked to elect a candidate who, while having many admirable qualities, is unqualified in one significant way,” Hankins wrote. “Dr. Ezell’s excellent credentials in areas such as character, family, leadership and theology do not compensate for the demonstrated lack of support for the mission of NAMB.”

    Hankins noted that despite his church’s annual $6 million budget, “the financial contribution of the church, through the Cooperative Program (CP) and Annie Armstrong Offering, has been marginal, at best.”

    “Consequently, one has to believe the anemic support of cooperative ministries has been a purposeful decision by the pastor and the church leadership,” Hankins’ letter continued. “Dr. Ezell has indicated he believes this was a better way to reach their congregational objectives. Is that what Southern Baptists believe and what they expect from the leader of the North American Mission Board?”

    File photo by John Swain

    Louisiana Baptist Convention Executive Director David Hankins, seen here speaking at a missionary commissioning service in New Orleans Oct. 6, 2008, has announced his opposition to the possibility of Kevin Ezell as the next leader for the North American Mission Board.

    Hankins said those who would presume to lead Southern Baptist entities ought to have a track record of supporting those entities. Through the 2009 Annual Church Profile (ACP), Highview Baptist Church reported giving $140,100, or 2.23 percent, through the Cooperative Program from total undesignated receipts of $6,270,057. The church gave $10,000 to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions. They gave $50,000 through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions.

    Kentucky Baptist Convention (KBC) records show the church gave $10,000 annually to the CP through the KBC during both 2008-09 and 2009-10. The State Convention of Baptists in Indiana reported Highview gave $140,100.04 to the CP. Highview has a satellite campus in Indiana.

    Emil Turner, executive director of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, affirmed Hankins’ call for NAMB trustees to reconsider the search committee’s recommendation.

    “Dr. Hankins has a gracious and kind assessment of the situation and he is also clearly logical,” Turner said. “It seems surprising to me that the search committee would recommend someone whose level of support for the North American Mission Board through the CP and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering could not sustain the work of NAMB were it to be duplicated widely across the convention.

    “While I have met Dr. Ezell and been impressed with his personality and his preaching, I would hope that the new president of NAMB could be an example of commitment to the Cooperative Program as called for by the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force and to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering.”

    “This is not meant as a personal attack on Dr. Ezell,” Hankins wrote. “I would have the same concern about any candidate for NAMB who had a similarly poor record on cooperative giving. There are many excellent pastors with an SBC affiliation who have chosen to go a more independent route with their churches’ mission spending. I am thankful for every success they have brought to the Kingdom, but I believe, by their negligible cooperative denominational giving, they have removed themselves from consideration as SBC entity leaders.

    “Why is demonstrable support for the North American Mission Board, and leading by example in denominational cooperation, not a prerequisite for the NAMB presidency?” Hankins asked the trustees.

    He further expressed concern that a NAMB president who has chosen an independent church model will “send a chilling message” to thousands of Southern Baptist churches who give generous support to the CP and mission offerings.

    “How will such a president have the moral authority to carry out the conclusions of the GCR report that ‘The greatest stewardship of Great Commission investment and deployment is giving through the Cooperative Program’ and ‘that we call upon Southern Baptists to adopt goals of giving no less than …$100 million annually through the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions?’ How can he challenge cooperative support if he has led his church in the opposite direction?”

    Hankins said he had been told there are no candidates who have all the credentials of the current nominee and an exemplary track record of CP and Annie Armstrong support.

    “I do not believe this,” he wrote. “There are any number of leaders who possess outstanding leadership skills and meet all the prerequisites, including denominational cooperation and support.

    “This is serious business at a serious juncture. No one needs to remind you of the struggles that NAMB has had due to conflict at the executive level,” Hankins told NAMB trustees. “I know you want to get this decision right. Compromising on cooperative missions methodology is not the pathway to getting it right. Please, seek a candidate to lead our national work who possesses all the prerequisites your Southern Baptist family expects and deserves.”
    9/10/2010 2:29:00 AM by wire reports | with 8 comments

scholarship contests
This comment makes me think that now is probably a ideal time for furthering my college degree. I wonder if I could take classes online. There exist so many grants right now that were very obscure to find just a few years ago.
9/20/2010 11:44:15 PM

Jack Wolford
We've got a lot of "messes" and we sure need help. Remembering 9-11.
9/11/2010 1:06:27 PM

Gene Scarborough
In my humble opinion: [b]"God DOES NOT bless a mess!!!!"[/b]
9/11/2010 8:25:53 AM

Brent Hobbs
I think the SBC spoke to this issue when we elected Bryant Wright as president this June. The same criticisms were made of him and he was elected anyway.
9/10/2010 8:54:21 PM

Dr. James Willingham
There ain't a dime's worth of difference between the two camps. One was Sadducean, and the other Pharisaic. Both will crucify the Lord Jesus in a heart beat, and they will do that together.
9/10/2010 8:32:18 PM

Dr. James Willingham
If you belong to the machine, you get preferential treatment. Just like the good old days, when the mods. ran things the same way the fundys do now. Surely, Gene you knew that.
9/10/2010 8:29:46 PM

Gene Scarborough
[b]"And the beat goes on . . ."[/b]

I thought the SBC was eliminating confusion and conflict as Conservative Resurgence took over in 1979!

We had a major conflict with the election of Dr. Frank Page to the Executive Committee position. Now we have out right war over the Ezell election.

At least, the CBF folks are out of the fray!!!!

[b]Will there be any "joy in Mudville if Mighty Casey strikes out?"[/b]
9/10/2010 5:49:08 PM

Ron Caulder
David Hankins makes a good point here. Many of our smaller, struggling churches far exceed the example of Ezell's church. We need both the "gifted" and the "giver" for such a position.
9/10/2010 5:18:49 PM

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