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Nominations committee: ‘conviction’ & ‘cooperation’

ST. LOUIS (BP) — Committee members who, next year, will recommend trustees to join in guiding Southern Baptist Convention missions and ministries “not only represent the depth of our conviction, they represent the breadth of our cooperation.”

Willy Rice, chairman of the committee that recommended next year’s SBC Committee on Nominations, told SBC messengers in St. Louis that the 68-member group reflects Southern Baptist doctrinal beliefs and inclusiveness.

The recommendations from the Committee on Committees, chaired by Rice, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Clearwater, Fla., were approved by messengers on the opening day of the June 14-15 SBC annual meeting in St. Louis.

At the 2017 SBC annual meeting in Phoenix, the Committee on Nominations will nominate trustees for the boards of GuideStone Financial Resources, the International Mission Board, the North American Mission Board, LifeWay Christian Resources and the convention’s six seminaries as well as members of the Executive Committee, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and Committee on Order of Business.

Rice recapped various measures of the 2017 Committee on Nominations:

— Individuals were recommended “who are committed to our Lord, who are faithfully involved in the ministries of their local church and who are willing to serve in this capacity.”

— “We used the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 as our doctrinal guide,” Rice said, “and sought persons who could unapologetically endorse those doctrinal parameters and foundations.”

— The Committee on Committees also sought members for the Committee on Nominations “who not only aligned with us doctrinally but also missionally and who represent a commitment to the Great Commission and our cooperative work together,” Rice said.

— 56 percent of the nominees have served on the associational, state or national level.

— “Over 10,000 people have been baptized by the churches they represent in the last three years,” Rice noted.

— The average Cooperative Program giving of their churches is 7 percent, “well above the national average of 5.47 percent.”

— 55 percent of nominees “come from churches with less than 500 in membership.”

— “Ethnically, we believe … this is one of the most diverse group of nominees ever presented,” Rice said. “Twenty-five percent of our nominees are drawn from one of five ethnic minorities. Fifteen percent of the nominees are African-American, representing, we believe, perhaps the largest number for the Committee on Nominations ever.”

— “25 percent of our nominees are women.”

Paul Chitwood, in presenting some 150 first-term nominees and second-term renominees of this year’s Committee on Nominations, summarized the new and returning trustees as a “diverse and highly committed group of Southern Baptists” who will “represent you well as they steward the entities of the Southern Baptist Convention.”