NASHVILLE (BP) – The chairman of the team searching for the next leader of the SBC Executive Committee has let the members know their candidate has withdrawn his name. A release from search team chair Neal Hughes was sent to EC members on Tuesday morning.
The group had announced Jan. 8 that they planned to bring a candidate forward at the EC’s next meeting Feb. 19.
Hughes said the candidate informed the search team Monday (Jan. 22) of the decision after “much prayer, fasting, and a desire to be in the center of God’s will.”
He encouraged EC members to “press on, trust in Jesus, and approach each day with the joy of the Lord.”
The search team said they had “interviewed 30 candidates via questionnaire, Zoom, and in person,” according to their Jan. 8 release.
Hughes said the group plans to discuss next steps with the full EC at the Feb. 19 meeting.
In a statement to BP, EC interim president/CEO Jonathan Howe, commended the search team, “for their diligent work seeking the next SBC Executive Committee president and CEO.”
“This team has exemplified grace under pressure as they face their difficult task in the light of the current challenges across the Convention,” he said.
Howe asked Southern Baptists to pray “for these leaders as they move forward and to pray for the EC staff as they continue carrying out the work tasked to us by the Convention.”
The lead position was made vacant when Ronnie Floyd resigned in Oct. 2021. An initial search team presented Jared Wellman, a Texas pastor and former EC chairman, in May 2023, but EC members declined the team’s recommendation.
Willie McLaurin, an EC vice president, became the front-runner for the post this past summer but withdrew his name when he resigned from the EC after confessing to falsifying information related to his academic background.
The EC is scheduled to meet Feb. 19-20 in Nashville.