KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP) — Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s trustees have established a seven-member presidential search committee and solidified their commitment to two leaders serving in an interim capacity.
Bill Bowyer, pastor of Wake Cross Roads Baptist Church in Raleigh, N.C., was named as search committee chairman.
Other members are Larry Dramann, pastor, East Boulder Baptist Church, Lafayette, Colo.; Dwight Blankenship, pastor, Parkway Baptist Church, Creve Coeur, Mo.; Larry Lewis, pastor, Reidland Baptist Church, Paducah, Ky.; Don Paxton, pastor, Rosedale Baptist Church, Abingdon, Va.; Roger Marshall, pastor, First Baptist Church, Effingham, Ill.; and Kevin Shrum, pastor, Inglewood Baptist Church, Nashville, Tenn.
Shrum began the trustee board’s April 16 meeting as acting chairman. He and the seminary’s acting interim president, Robin Hadaway, have been in leadership since the resignations of the previous president, R. Philip Roberts, and previous chairman, Wayne Lee, were accepted on Feb. 10.
In affirmations during the April 16 meeting in Kansas City, Mo., Shrum was elected trustee chairman and Hadaway, associate professor of missions, was elected as Midwestern’s interim president.
Shrum, pastor of the Nashville church the past 17 years, was elected unopposed. Shrum said trustees intend for the search committee to recommend a presidential candidate next April for board approval.
The search team will be in regular contact with the trustees to provide updates, Shrum said.
Hadaway asked for prayer for Midwestern’s report to the Southern Baptist Convention’s June 19-20 annual meeting in New Orleans. “I think we’ll have a good report.”
Blankenship, who nominated Shrum as chairman and was later elected as first vice chairman, prayed for Hadaway’s request.
“As he ministers to [those at the seminary], let him have the gentle touch of Christ,” Blankenship prayed. “And as he stands before the Southern Baptist Convention, let him tell the story of what Christ has done.”
Blankenship’s nomination of Shrum included praise for Shrum’s attention to detail and Christ-like spirit.
“I have seen him in these meetings to be a peacemaker,” Blankenship said, “and I think that’s what we need to move forward.”
Anthony Allen, MBTS senior vice president of administration, estimated that gifts to the seminary so far this year are around $1.4 million in “a strong spring.” Unrestricted cash on hand is around $1.2 million. About $900,000 is needed to complete the construction of the seminary’s new chapel, Allen said.
“This is our main objective,” he said, noting that “incremental progress” is being made even as plans are being formulated to install flooring and seating in the facility.
Trustees discussed removing the wording from the seminary’s personnel handbook that states, “Any communications initiated by a seminary staff member to the trustee must be approved in advance by the president.” It was referred to the trustees’ executive committee who will also examine the MBTS whistleblower policy.
In other business, trustees voted to:
— renew their commitment to a long-range planning task force.
— begin the process of amending their bylaws to make the audit committee a standing committee, with the investment portion remaining under the trustees’ business services committee. This will require another vote by trustees to adopt it, with the intent of promoting transparency and demonstrating good governance, according to trustee Gene Downing of Edmond, Okla., who made the motion.
— elect Ken Parker, pastor of First Baptist Church in Kearney, Mo., as second vice chairman and Judy Crain, a member of First Baptist Church in Easton, Md., as secretary/treasurer. Rich Hastings, a member of First Baptist Church in Raytown, Mo., was elected member-at-large.
Allen Palmeri is associate editor of The Pathway (www.mbcpathway.com), newsjournal of the Missouri Baptist Convention.