NAMB trustees to consider Kevin Ezell Sept. 14
    September 1 2010 by compiled wire reports

    ALPHARETTA, Ga. — A special meeting of the North American Mission Board’s (NAMB) trustees has been called for Sept. 14 to consider the nomination of Louisville pastor Kevin Ezell as next NAMB president.

    While a NAMB news release Aug. 31 announcing the special meeting did not name Ezell, search committee chairman Ted Traylor told the Florida Baptist Witness the nominee was Ezell, pastor of Highview Baptist Church and immediate past president of the Southern Baptist Pastors’ Conference.

    In the first of two email letters from NAMB board chair Tim Dowdy to trustees and NAMB staff, Traylor said, “I am delighted to report to you that our search team has found God’s man to be nominated as the next president of NAMB. Our team has prayerfully considered several impressive candidates.”

    BP file photo

    Kevin Ezell

    In the letter Dowdy said he would release details on the candidate to NAMB’s entire trustee board in a few days. That timetable accelerated when word began to leak that Ezell was the nominee. Dowdy sent a second letter to trustees with the information and Traylor gave the Witness a copy.

    Dowdy told trustees in his letter that Ezell, 48, is a “gifted preacher and teacher and a faithful ambassador of the Lord with a passion for reaching the lost and touching the world for Jesus Christ. His own family embodies this commitment as Kevin and his wife of almost 25 years, Lynette, have three natural children and three adopted children from three different countries: Ethiopia, China, and the Philippines.”

    Ezell has led his current church to grow to 6,000 members, meeting on seven campuses. Dowdy said the church’s investment in missions through “Southern Baptist causes” reached $1.2 million in 2009.

    Ezell has held previous pastorates in Illinois, Tennessee and Texas, all of which experienced significant growth, according to Dowdy as quoted in the Florida Baptist Witness.

    Traylor, senior pastor of Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, called Ezell “a warm, personable leader who can make difficult choices in leading an organization to be laser-focused on the mission at hand.”

    Ezell’s nomination drew praise from current SBC President Bryant Wright, who received the news “with great joy and excitement.”

    Wright urged prayer for Ezell “as God prepares him for this new calling of key leadership for Southern Baptists as we seek to fulfill Christ’s Great Commission.”

    Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest and David Dockery, president of Union University in Jackson, Tenn., also were quoted in the letter as references who supported Ezell’s nomination.

    “This is a great day for NAMB. It is a great day for the SBC,” said Akin, who was a member of Highview for almost eight years of Ezell’s tenure as pastor.

    Dowdy told fellow trustees more information about Ezell will be provided before the Sept. 14 meeting.

    The Florida Baptist Witness reported that Ezell is a native of Paducah, Ky., and was born in Germany during his father’s service in the U.S. Air Force. Ezell has served on the board of trustees of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo., including as its chairman, and currently serves on the Advisory Board of Boyce College, the undergraduate school of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, as well as Union’s Board of Reference.

    He earned a bachelor of science degree from Union University, a master of divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a doctor of ministry degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

    The NAMB presidency was vacated in August 2009 when former president Geoff Hammond resigned under pressure from trustees.

    Richard Harris, a NAMB executive with 30 years of experience with the agency and its predecessor entity, the Home Mission Board, has served as acting and interim president since Hammond’s resignation.

    In addition to Traylor, members of the search committee are Doug Dieterly, executive pastor, Plymouth Baptist Church, Plymouth, Ind.; Larry Gipson, pastor of First Baptist Church, Oneonta, Ala.; Chuck Herring, pastor of Collierville First Baptist Church in Collierville, Tenn.; Lisa Knutsen, a member of Green Valley Baptist Church in Henderson, Nev.; Ryan Palmer, pastor, Seventh Metro Church, Baltimore, Md.; and Tim Patterson, pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church, Jacksonville, and immediate past NAMB trustee chairman. As chairman of NAMB’s trustee board, Tim Dowdy, serves as an ex officio member of the search committee.

    (EDITOR’S NOTE — Story compiled from the Florida Baptist Witness, staff reporting and a NAMB news release.)
    9/1/2010 9:00:00 AM by compiled wire reports | with 9 comments

Dean Clark
Hey Gene,
Thanks for the history of HMB/NAMB. I have been a southern baptist since coming to HBC and was a GARB guy before that. I was in a GARB church when God got a hold of my life. I am not 'full-time Christian service' but we are all called to full time as Christians. Hearing your story gives me more insight into the SBC, HMB/NAMB and I appreciate that. I will pass your number on to Kevin. He is a great guy and a great leader.

Just mentioned to my wife about the private plane thing... agreed complete waste of money that should be going to missions/reaching the lost. That mentality and such is not the Kevin Ezell I know.

Thanks again for chatting with me and whether this side of heaven or the other can't wait to meet face to face.

Oh yeah here is my email
9/7/2010 3:26:23 PM

Gene Scarborough

Thanks for this "inside look." You are describing the kind of person I have been praying for!!!

We have had 2 royal failures in leadership where too much ego was involved along with personal gain. The "private jet" thing was a real waste of mission money, in my opinion.

My personal experience with the HMB--now NAMB--was under Corts Redford and Arthur Rutledge. Both were men of large vision and a controlled ego. They did not run over subordinates nor seek any gain outside sending more Home Missionaries to every new opportunity of ministry possible.

My father was the first Director of Juvenile Rehabilitation ever designated (+/-1958). He was given 3-way financial support from the HMB/GBC/Atlanta Baptist Association. That was in a day of super cooperation over missions. He was given no specifics other than [i]"get in there / work with the Judge and Probation Officers / help churches to minister to families in trouble." [/i]He even worked with Dr. Martin Luthur King, Sr. when black churches were slow to respond to the need as he sent mail notifying them of a nearby child at the Juvenile Court who expressed a preference for a black church he knew.

I did the same for the Raleigh Baptist Association in 1968-70 while a SEBTS student. We started the "Ministers Day in Court" program where volunteers of all Raleigh churches were present in the courtroom to show a troubled family ministers cared. Now we have children (under age 16) in Fulton County Courtrooms who are victims of Human Trafficing and charged with prostitution!

My most interesting experience as a 12-year-old was being asked to play the JD in a filmstrip the HMB wanted to do on my father's work (confidentiality prevented using a real child). It was featured on the cover (others showing my face inside) with my back turned to the camera sitting in a detention cell. I guess you could call me [i]"the first official SBC Juvenile Crime Offender!!!"[/i]

What was really funny was seeing those same picture on the large screen in Spellman Auditorium as different ministries were highlighted. My new bride and I were rolling with laughter as the picture came up and now I was doing what my father did in Wake County, NC. She still claims it proves what a reprobate I am!!!

I deeply appreciate your insights and honesty--and the kind way in which you have shared. Please tell "Dr. Ezel" I would love to meet him when I visit my Mother and Sisters next time in Atlanta. I will be out Stone Mountain way. My phone is 252-904-7479. I would love to meet Kevin in person and continue to pray for his success!

[b]He sounds like "just what we've been praying for!"[/b]
9/7/2010 6:16:52 AM

Dean Clark
Hey Gene,
First great to dialogue with you. I used Dr Ezell just out of respect for the position. I think that was really the most times I have ever used... Dr Ezell. Kevin has been a friend and mentor to me for the aforementioned time.

Kevin does not like the spot light at all. He is humble and down to earth and will lead NAMB with integrity and honesty. Kevin is very business minded and has done much with our church to include "dunking the debt" years ago to position our church to expand... one church several locations. Blood from a turnip comes to mind and accountability for the dollars spent.

Personally, I will miss Kevin and his family immensely! He will do a wonderful job at NAMB and will plant churches all over NA. I hope you get to meet Kevin sometime and sit and have coffee with him and hear the passion he has for the lost and more importantly a desire to bring them to Christ.

The last thing Kevin is is a "king pastor". We have been very blessed to have a very deep preaching bench at HBC with Southern being so close. We have had a smorgasbord of preachers at HBC to include Sunday morning, evening and Wednesday. Pastors, preachers, professors, teachers have been in the pulpit with Kevin absent and also present at our church. Kevin has never been afraid of allowing talent to flourish in fact he taps the resource to develop the resource to lead people to Christ. There has been a lot of mentoring young up and coming, good, godly pastors in our church. I learned servant leadership from Kevin. I learned from Kevin to give and trust God when I didn't think we could give any more. I can remember our church being "taken to the wood shed" because Kevin wanted us to invest more in the people around us and in our Sunday school classes. Kevin even offered to buy the chips, dip and 2 liter to facilitate such fellowship.

The Ezell family will be sorely missed by our church family, my family and me. BUT I personally believe that Kevin will knock it out of the park for NAMB and I believe this will be a growing time for HBC too.
9/6/2010 3:10:58 PM

Gene Scarborough

If you have seen some of my comments elsewhere relative to this, you will know I join you in prayer for Kevin Ezell's success. My father and I both served the HMB with gladness.

Sadly, there has been too much colusion in the past and too much "king pastor" in the last 2 CEO's. If Ezell is what you say, we may be blessed.

It is interesting you use "Dr. Ezell" as your phrase of reference. [b]Is there such a thing as a name of an SBC leader without the "DR" in front of it???[/b] Sounds a little like Matthew 23 where Jesus accused the Pharisees of always seeking public recognition and special places.
9/5/2010 8:25:51 PM

Dean Clark
Hi Gene,

After nearly 14 years of sitting under Dr Ezell's teaching and preaching I think this one will be a home run! Dr Ezell has a PASSION to reach the lost everywhere. The outreach of our church under Dr. Ezell has been incredible and will continue to expand. I know you will be pleasantly surprised by Dr Ezell's work ethic, leadership and outreach to the lost! Me... I am just a guy in the pew who teaches every once in a while and works with college students.

A little history
Because Dr Ezell's determination to reach the lost we did not move the location of the church we went to where the people were and remained in the original location. Now we have several campuses all over Louisville, KY reaching people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. HBC under Dr Ezell's leadership has helped plant many churches all over America to include a partnership with the Gallery church in NYC to reach the lost. HBC has a vibrant adoption ministry that has been led by Dr Ezell because of the vision to reach the lost with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our church regularly goes on mission trips all over the world. We have partnered with a church in Guatemala to reach the lost and take the message of hope to the people there.

I would respectfully ask that you leave the mud slinging to the politicians and perhaps pray for this great man of God. He will surprise you and will do an awesome job for NAMB.

Dean C Clark
9/5/2010 5:56:02 PM

Gene Scarborough
Howard---[b]Now that is MOST interesting!!!![/b]

Do you sense a hierarchy in the making?
9/3/2010 1:37:56 PM

Howard Cobble
Interesting that there is no reference made that Ezell is the pastor of Al Mohler. The nominee to head NAMB, the head of Lifeway and the president of Southeastern Seminary went to their positions from direct personal contact with Dr. Mohler. It will be interesting to see what close friend of Dr. Mohler is named to head IMB.
9/3/2010 1:24:10 PM

Gene Scarborough
[b]Here we go again!!!![/b]

(1) Mega chuch pastor
(2) Conservative Resurgeance insider
(3) Same as last 2 failures!!!

[b]What is the problem with going to those committed to being a missionary under NAMB appointment and having a distinguished record of innovative and dedicated service???[/b]

Let's just hope this is not another "outsider" whose arrogance and high spending on a personal lifestyle will not bring great disrespect by fellow administrators. The last 2 "great preachers and men of God who grew great churches" were a bitter disappointment. Their personal habits of harsh rule and wild spending did nothing more than make us question where our mission funds for the homeland really are being spent.

Sorry to be pessimistic, but 2 strikes already exist from such "great leaders God led us to!"
9/2/2010 5:03:53 PM

Brent Hobbs
I'm not sure the search committee could have found anyone better to lead NAMB into a new era of ministry. My only sadness in this news is for the members of Highview Baptist because they are saying goodbye to one of the best pastors in our convention.
9/2/2010 3:12:42 PM

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