N.C. trustees pleased with Ezell election
    September 15 2010 by Norman Jameson, BR Editor, and Mike Ebert, NAMB

    ATLANTA — Kevin Ezell, pastor of Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky., was elected president of the North American Mission Board (NAMB) in a special called meeting of NAMB trustees Sept. 14.

    “I am honored and humbled that the trustees put this confidence in me,” Ezell said immediately following his interview and election by a 37-12 vote, all conducted in executive session. “I will do everything I possibly can to honor the Lord in this and to lead the board to a place where it is as effective as it possibly can be.”

    Ezell’s selection had become controversial in the weeks after his nomination was announced Aug. 31. David Hankins, executive director of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, urged trustees to continue searching for a candidate whose church exhibited a greater commitment to the two primary funding streams of NAMB work: the Cooperative Program and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions.

    North Carolina NAMB trustees Todd Garren and Bruce Franklin both confessed to having some concerns going into the meeting, but both were emphatically positive when contacted afterwards.

    “I had some concerns, but I’m proud to have a new president,” said Garren, pastor of Piney Grove Baptist Church in South Fork Association. “He’ll do a fantastic job … the hand of God is on him.”

    Franklin, a lay leader at New Sandy Creek Baptist Church in Henderson, confirmed Garren’s assessment and said, “I can’t say enough about how God’s Spirit moved among us,” during the meeting.

    A third trustee, Bud Parrish, had a family funeral and was unavailable for comment Sept. 15. North Carolina’s trustees said the concerns raised by Hankins earlier prompted questions in the board meeting and Ezell thanked those who asked the questions, saying they needed to be asked.

    What “sealed the deal” for Franklin, he said, was the transparent, tearful statement Ezell made when the questioning was complete. According to Franklin, Ezell said he wasn’t running for the NAMB presidency but was concerned with reaching North America for Christ because he knew that’s what God was concerned with.

    “The board represented the bulk of the Convention,” Garren said. “They raised the questions the people in the pew would have raised, which was good, because he’s going to be dealing with those questions.”

    Garren said it is “not fair to categorize (Ezell) as an independent or a maverick” because of missions work and church planting conducted outside the traditional avenues of the Southern Baptist Convention. As a local pastor, Ezell was just trying to do what he saw to be most effective, Garren said.

    Franklin and Garren both said Ezell’s election is a step toward fulfilling Great Commission Resurgence Task Force goals that will eventually see 50 percent of NAMB resources dedicated to church planting.

    “What’s happening is going to be good for the Kingdom,” Garren said. “Will it be good for those who work at NAMB or at the International Mission Board under the former model? Maybe not so much.”

    Ezell said he sensed God’s call to the role partly because of what can be accomplished through the North American Mission Board.

    “I see the potential NAMB has if its energies and resources are focused in the right direction,” Ezell said. “I am looking forward to being able to give a very clear vision for it. You rarely have the opportunity to have this big of a Kingdom impact.”

    Tim Dowdy, chairman of NAMB’s trustees and pastor of Eagle’s Landing First Baptist Church in McDonough, Ga., said Ezell’s leadership abilities, integrity and passion for church planting and missions are what led trustees to him.

    “He has demonstrated faithful leadership and character and he has a passion for reaching the world,” Dowdy said. “One banner he will consistently wave is that our greatest resource in the SBC is not money, but people. We want to help mobilize our people and partner with them to reach North America for Christ.”

    Ezell has been pastor of Highview Baptist Church since 1996 and was president of the Southern Baptist Convention Pastors’ Conference in Orlando in June. 

    Ezell said one of his first priorities as North American Mission Board president will be to spend time with church planters.

    “They are on the front lines and I want to do everything I possibly can to free resources and direct resources to them and help them succeed,” Ezell said. “I love church planters. I like being around people who get in the ditch and do the work. That’s who I operate best with. So I look forward to connecting and investing in them.”

    (EDITOR’S NOTE — Ebert is team leader of communications for the North American Mission Board.)  
    9/15/2010 9:50:00 AM by Norman Jameson, BR Editor, and Mike Ebert, NAMB | with 4 comments

Jack, You've drawn the correct distinction between an open, fairly reported by third party meeting and the carefully crafted, limited exposure meted out by adminstrators who do not trust their constituents -- the very people they expect to fund their activities. It is such a basic and transparent principal that administrators' failure to understand it is both laughable and frightening.
9/17/2010 9:31:20 AM

Jack Carver
When Ezell deals with those questions the people in the pews will be asking, will he do it openly or will he do it behind closed doors? When someone tells me the answers a leader has given to my questions, I take them with a grain of salt. When the leader opens the door and answers the questions himself, I at least know where he stands and where we're headed. So far, we know nothing, and our leaders seem to like it that way.
9/16/2010 5:31:36 PM

Brent Hobbs
I'm glad to see people excited about Ezell and the potential future at NAMB. I have more hope for the organization than I've had in a long time.
9/16/2010 3:06:20 PM

Gene Scarborough
Is there a problem with saying [b]Autonomous[/b] Baptist Church planting?????

Everything Ezell planted, answered to him / was counted as part of his mega church / was a far cry from what SBC expansion concepte were pre-1979.

[b]By the way, that was a day of exciting growth.[/b]

How I hope post-2010 may find the excitement we had pre-1979---only time will tell!!!!

40 years have passed since we were cleansed. Praise be to God!!!
9/15/2010 7:44:21 PM

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