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SBC DIGEST: Bill Mackey, former KBC exec, dies; No ‘pattern of abuse’ with new Saddleback pastor

Bill Mackey remembered for KBC leadership and being ‘epitome of Christian gentleman’

By Mark Maynard/Kentucky Today

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (KT) – Bill Mackey, who served as the executive director-treasurer of the Kentucky Baptist Convention for more than a dozen years, is being remembered as a true servant of God and the “epitome of a Christian gentleman.”

Mackey died Thursday morning after a year and a half battle with cancer. He was 81.

Besides leading the KBC from 1998 to 2011, Mackey graduated from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, served as an associate pastor in Middlesboro and a pastor in Whitesburg, Ky.

Mackey’s tenure at the KBC included a strong emphasis on evangelism, missions and church planting. Under his leadership, Kentucky Baptists developed partnerships with Baptists in Tanzania, Poland and Brazil as well as with the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware. The KBC also began developing “high impact” churches started with the intention that they, in turn, would begin other churches.

Mackey, a South Carolina native, had been director of the South Carolina Baptist Convention’s leadership development and evangelism growth team before coming to the KBC. From 1979-92, he was the South Carolina convention’s evangelism director.

He and his wife, Kay, moved to Raleigh, N.C., to be near grandchildren upon his retirement in 2011.

“Brother Bill led through a historic relocation of our Baptist Building, a renewed effort for church planting, and a much-needed increased focus on caring well for those pastors and leaders who care well for Kentucky Baptist churches,” said Todd Gray, executive director-treasurer of the KBC. “One example of Bro. Bill’s lasting legacy is seen in the ongoing popularity of our Shepherding Conference, formerly known as Shepherding the Shepherd, where pastors and their spouse are provided a time away where they can be ministered to and cared for faithfully.”

Gray said when he became the KBC executive director, he scheduled an hour to call Mackey for any advice he had to offer.

“We talked at length and Dr. Mackey offered kind advice and generous encouragement,” Gray said. “What stood out to me, however, was not so much the advice but his incredible energy in his later years and how excited he was about what he was learning and how he was using it to serve others in ministry.

“Bro. Bill led well through what could have been a very divisive time in our state. Others have said that God used his irenic disposition to help Kentucky Baptists continue working together to reach Kentucky and the world for Christ.”

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Saddleback elders say no ‘pattern of abuse’ found in investigation of new pastor

By Bob Smietana

LAKE FOREST, Calif. (RNS) – Leaders of one of the nation’s largest and most prominent congregations say their new pastor has been cleared of allegations of abuse at his previous church.

In June, Andy Wood, pastor of Echo Church, a multisite church based in San Jose, Calif., was named new pastor at Saddleback Church and the successor to founding pastor and bestselling author Rick Warren.

After the announcement, former staffers at Echo raised concerns about the culture at the church, calling it unhealthy. At least one former staffer referred to Wood as abusive. Questions were also raised about Wood’s decision to have disgraced megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll, founder of the now defunct Mars Hill Church in Seattle, speak at a leadership conference Wood runs.

Wood, his former church and Saddleback have repeatedly denied any allegations of abuse.

On Monday (July 11), Saddleback’s elders sent an email to the congregation of more than 20,000, saying a follow-up investigation by Vanderbloemen, a Christian executive search firm, had cleared Wood. They also said the church had hired a separate firm, Middlebrook Goodspeed, to review Vanderbloemen’s work.

“The team at Vanderbloemen interviewed former employees, former volunteers, peers, and current employees to ask them about their experiences with Andy,” Saddleback elders wrote, citing the two firms. “The sample can be said to be thorough. After our work, we concluded there is no systemic or pattern of abuse under Andy’s leadership, nor was there an individual that we felt was abused.”

The Vanderbloemen report will not be made public, according to a church spokesperson.

Monday’s statement was the second announcement church elders have made backing Wood. Saddleback will move forward with plans for Wood to begin as the new pastor in September, according to the elders. Wood and his wife, Stacie, who will serve as a teaching pastor, recently moved to Southern California, according to the church.

Warren plans to retire in early September.

“We will now turn our attention to planning a celebration of Pastor Rick and Kay’s unprecedented 43-year ministry, and then welcoming Pastor Andy, Stacie, Caedmon, Sammy, and Karis as our newest members of the Saddleback Family,” the elder statement said, referencing the couple and their children.

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