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SBC Executive Committee resumes search for next CEO following McLaurin resignation

NASHVILLE (BP) – The leader of the committee searching for the next president and CEO of the SBC Executive Committee says they are resuming their search. The committee is receiving resumes following the surprise resignation of Willie McLaurin from the SBC EC on Aug. 17.

McLaurin stepped down from his role as interim president and CEO of the EC after confessing to falsifying educational credentials on his resume. He had been the lead candidate for the permanent position, according to Neal Hughes, search committee chairman.

“Obviously, our hearts are broken and disheartened so we’re spending a lot of time praying together. Our team is united,” Hughes told Baptist Press.

Vice Chairman Nick Sandefur said the past few weeks have been extremely difficult for the committee as they investigated McLaurin’s background.

“I’m confident this difficulty has created a deeper bond of trust within our search team. That trust will enable us to move forward together as we seek God’s man to lead our cooperative missions effort,” Sandefur said in written comments to Baptist Press.

Hughes said the committee took a three-step approach to the process. Interview, inspect and, if appropriate, introduce a candidate for the role.

McLaurin, who was a previous candidate for the position, moved through the interview phase of the process.

“The Search Team had a positive interview with Willie and his wife, Antonia, on Friday, July 14, followed by an extensive face-to-face discussion with fellow search team members,” Hughes said in a letter to EC members on Aug. 17 that was shared with Baptist Press.

It was during the “inspect” phase that questions were raised and, ultimately, McLaurin confessed and resigned.

The search resumes

Now, the committee goes back to square one, according to Hughes.

“We will continue on to our next phase in the search process with the goal of attracting a strong pool of potential candidates,” he said.

The portal for receiving resumes will be open until Sept. 30. Resumes can be emailed to [email protected].

Hughes invites Southern Baptists to pray for the search committee as they move forward “on a journey.”

“We go through hills and valleys but the process is one where we have to be tempered with patience. We must have the fruit of the Holy Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control,” he said.

Sandefur acknowledges Southern Baptists have faced great adversity in recent years.

“I know it has been a dark season in Southern Baptist life, but I am confident that in time we will see how God has used this for His glory and our good,” Sandefur said.

McLaurin was appointed to the interim role in Feb. 2022 following the Oct. 2021 resignation of Ronnie Floyd.

In Dallas this May, the EC declined the first search committees’ nomination of Jared Wellman to serve in the permanent role of president and CEO.

The EC members appointed the current search committee before leaving Dallas.

Hughes is confident God will lead the committee to the next EC leader.

“He has this person and at the right time he will reveal him to us,” Hughes said, “All he asks of us is to be faithful to the process.”

    About the Author

  • Brandon Porter

    Brandon Porter serves as Associate Vice President for Convention News at the SBC Executive Committee

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