NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–John Yarbrough, senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Perry, Ga., is the new chairman of the Implementation Task Force, the group guiding the restructuring of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Formerly vice chairman of the 10-member task force, Yarbrough, 47, was appointed to the chairmanship March 4 by Ronnie W. Floyd, chairman of the SBC Executive Committee which created the task force in 1995. Floyd is senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Springdale, Ark.
The change in the ITF is the result of the March 2 resignation, as chairman, of Robert E. Reccord, making him the probable nominee for president of the new North American Mission Board. Reccord said he was resigning as chairman because he has been asked by the Incorporators of NAMB, the presidential search committee, to move to another step in the selection process. Reccord remains as a member of the ITF, officials said.
Floyd, in a letter to Baptist Press, said he rejoiced “with Dr. Reccord in what God may be leading him to do in the future in relationship to his opportunities.”
Floyd said Yarbrough has “excelled with great leadership in serving on the ITF.”
“With his leadership experience serving as president of the Georgia Baptist Convention, serving on the Executive Committee of the SBC, as well as being one of the Incorporators he seems to be the right man at this time to take over as chairman,” Floyd said. “I foresee a great exchange of leadership … . I do not anticipate any hesitation at all in regards to wrapping up the work of the ITF in this coming convention year. I am excited about Dr. Yarbrough and what he will bring to the table and we will be working very closely with him to give a report to the SBC in Dallas.”
Reccord recently named Yarbrough to a three-person committee, all ITF members, to assist in assessing and recommending persons for NAMB positions. The committee will be responsible for coordinating the NAMB staffing process among the merger forming NAMB of the current Home Mission Board, Brotherhood Commission and Radio and Television Commission.
Yarbrough told Baptist Press the ITF will continue as it has for the nearly two years it has been in operation.
“ITF has functioned as a team, things are in progress, we are on a schedule and will continue,” Yarbrough said. He said Reccord gave the ITF “excellent leadership.”
“We (ITF) are excited about the future,” Yarbrough said.
NAMB will officially begin operations June 19 following the Dallas SBC annual meeting. The merger of the HMB, RTVC and Brotherhood into the NAMB is the centerpiece of the restructuring of the denomination resulting in the reduction of the number of agencies from 19 to 12. The restructuring plan, called the “Covenant for a New Century,” was approved in 1995 at the SBC annual meeting in Atlanta.
NAMB will have about 350 employees at its offices in Alpharetta, Ga., down from the 550 total employees at the three agencies prior to the restructuring. The new mission agency will also have about 5,000 missionaries in North America and more than $70 million available yearly in budget and offering funds.