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EC presidential search team sets goal for candidate ‘on or before Feb. 19’

Surrounded by members of the Executive Committee Presidential Search Team, Chairman Neal Hughes, gives a report at the Sept. 18 SBC Executive Committee meeting in Nashville. Photo by Hunter Lewis.

NASHVILLE (BP) – The team responsible for selecting a new president and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee reported to fellow EC members during their meeting Monday (Sept. 18), saying they are working “diligently and expeditiously.”

Neal Hughes, chairman of the SBC Executive Committee President/CEO Search Team, outlined in the report the four phases into which the team has divided its work: The invitation phase, the interview phase, the investigation phase and the introduction phase. Hughes told members the team is currently still in the first phase.

The team has received multiple resumes, he said, and the portal will remain open until Sept. 30.

“With the help of the Lord, we hope to have this person for the Executive Committee’s examination and vote on or before Feb. 19, 2024,” Hughes said. “Thank you for joining us in praying earnestly to that end.”

Hughes likened the team’s work to the biblical story of David’s anointing as the future king in 1 Samuel 16.

“Please understand that the President/CEO Search Team is not in the recruitment business,” Hughes said. “To put this in biblical terms, Southern Baptists, including you, are seen as ‘Jesse.’ We feel our role as the search team is to be ‘Samuel.’”

Hughes said it is the responsibility of all Southern Baptists to present candidates to the team and the team’s responsibility to “prayerfully search for ‘God’s man for the hour and the hour for the man’ out of the pool of resumes presented.”

The email address to submit resumes is [email protected].

The current search team was formed in May, after EC members declined to elect the candidate nominated by the previous search team. There has not been a permanent president and CEO since the departure of Ronnie Floyd in October 2021. From February 2022 until last month, the interim role was filled by Willie McLaurin.

On Aug. 17, the current search team announced that through their vetting of McLaurin as a potential candidate for the permanent role, they discovered that he had falsified his educational background on his resume. When confronted, McLaurin resigned.

Hughes said the team has been meeting each Thursday afternoon via Zoom and had met the preceding two days in person, as they were all in Nashville for the full EC’s September meeting.

In addition to Neal, team members are Nick Sandefur, Nancy Spalding, Sarah Rogers, Drew Landry, Corey Cain and EC chairman Philip Robertson.

The team will present its next report on or before Monday, Oct. 23, Hughes said.