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SBC’s convention manager has ‘heart of a servant’

NASHVILLE (BP) – In 28 years with the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, Lynn Richmond has had several job titles, but she has never changed positions.

Over nearly three decades, Richmond has worked behind the scenes, planning and making sure the SBC annual meetings take place without a hitch.

Her profile rose recently when she was named convention manager by Willie McLaurin, interim president and CEO of the Executive Committee.

Typically, an EC vice president has held the title of convention manager. Former EC CFO Jeff Pearson was the last vice president to hold the title.

“It’s a whole new role, but it does not change a lot of what I do,” Richmond said. “I still report to a vice president.”

There is more responsibility, but the work is basically the same, said Richmond, who is a Tennessee Baptist pastor’s wife. Her husband, Van, is pastor of Scenic View Baptist Church in Nashville.

The primary difference is she can now approve things that she once had to get approval for from a vice president. Though she has the power, she said she still “runs things up the ladder” if she feels it is necessary.

“Lynn Richmond’s competency and character are on display on a daily basis,” McLaurin said. “Her passion for advancing the Gospel through the local church is unquestionable.

“She has the heart of a servant, and that heart is evident as she methodically works through the details of planning the largest business meeting in the country. For over 28 years, Lynn has been the person behind the scenes making sure that every ‘i’ is dotted and every ‘t’ is crossed.”

McLaurin noted that Richmond has a “whatever it takes” attitude in making sure that the SBC annual meeting is planned and implemented to perfection. She works year-round to make sure that the two-day gathering of Southern Baptists is pleasant and productive.

“I am thankful that God has placed Lynn on the SBC EC Team,” he said. “She is a team player who seeks to empower and elevate those around her. She exhibits the right actions and the right attitude on a daily basis. For such a time as this I am thankful that Lynn is serving as the SBC convention manager. Her understanding of Southern Baptist life coupled with her strong ability to plan a multilayered event is unparalleled.”

The recent annual meeting in Anaheim was Richmond’s first as convention manager. She had served as assistant convention manager since 2018. She noted that when she arrives at the convention site, most of her work is done.

“When I get there, I become the fire chief and put out fires,” she said, laughing.

Typical “fires” include problems with catering, people not getting the room they thought they should have, security issues and other last-minute items. Richmond considers a convention a “success” from a logistical view when problems were handled and most people never knew they existed.

“Overall, if people who attend think things ran smoothly, then we did what we were there to do,” she said.

Richmond has no doubts that she is where she is supposed to be. Twenty-eight years ago she was going through a study of “Experiencing God” at Two Rivers Baptist Church where she was then a member.

After about three weeks, the series focused on using your spiritual gifts for God’s glory, she said. “I prayed about it,” she recalled and wondered how she could use her gift of administration for God. She explored a position at the church but never felt “peace” that it was the position for her.

She later learned about an opening at the Executive Committee from then-vice president Jack Wilkerson. Three weeks later, she had the position.

“I am grateful to God for all He has done for me and through me in this position,” she said, noting that she has even had the opportunity to lead people to the Lord through the relationships she has made with convention personnel all over the country.

Richmond is content with the knowledge that God brought her to the EC. “I will be here until God releases me and shows me something else that I’m supposed to do,” she said.

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  • Lonnie Wilkey/Baptist and Reflector