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ERLC trustees approve profile for next president

Todd Howard, chairman of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission President Search Team, addressing fellow trustees at their in-person meeting in September. BP file photo

NASHVILLE (BP)–The trustees of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission approved Tuesday night (Sept. 14) a candidate profile to guide the search for the entity’s next president and initiated the process of receiving applications and recommendations for the office.

The ERLC trustees endorsed without opposition a profile presented by the presidential search committee that consists of eight criteria a candidate must meet to fulfill the role of the commission’s next head.  The action occurred during the trustees’ annual meeting, which will conclude Wednesday (Sept. 15) at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville. 

Information on how to apply for or recommend a candidate for the ERLC presidency, as well as the full candidate profile, may be accessed at erlc.com/presidentialsearch. The committee will accept applications and recommendations until Nov. 30. The website also includes prayer requests from the search committee for their work during the process.

“The ERLC has a rich history and it is our prayer as a search committee that God will reveal to us the right leader He has in mind to continue leading this Commission forward to defend religious freedom and be an advocate for life, the marginalized, the abused and the oppressed across the globe,” said Todd Howard, chair of the presidential search committee, in an entity news release.

Howard, pastor of Watson Chapel Baptist Church in Pine Bluff, Ark., invited “every fellow Southern Baptist to lift up this organization and our committee in prayer, asking God to provide us with wisdom, humility, and discernment.”

The committee is charged with bringing a candidate to the ERLC trustee board to recommend as a successor to Russell Moore, whose resignation took effect June 1 after eight years as the commission’s president.

In its own words, the profile approved by the ERLC trustees calls for the candidate to be: (1) Spiritually mature; (2) a faithful servant; (3) convictionally Southern Baptist; (4) appropriately educated; (5) an excellent communicator; (6) pastoral in heart; (7) an experienced leader; and (8) a proven unifier.

While the profile does not require the candidate to have an earned doctorate, it says a doctor of philosophy degree, doctor of ministry degree or law degree would be preferable.

In his report to the board, Howard said the search committee plans to invite all the trustees to submit questions when it begins the interview process. When the committee is prepared to present a recommendation to all the trustees, a board meeting will be called and a vote taken on the candidate, he said.

The other trustees on the search committee are newly elected trustee chair Lori Bova of New Mexico, Traci Griggs of North Carolina, Christine Hoover of Virginia, Juan Sanchez of Texas and A.B. Vines of California. David Prince, current chair and an at-large trustee from Kentucky, is an ex-officio member of the committee.

The trustees also voted Tuesday night to affirm the makeup of the search committee, which had been named in July by Prince on behalf of the board’s executive committee.

Moore announced in mid-May his departure from the ERLC to become public theologian for Christianity Today and lead the evangelical magazine’s new Public Theology Project.