Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Most Seem to be Missing the Big Question.....

The news broke today that David Platt had been elected the next president of the Southern Baptist Convention's International Mission Board ... better known as the IMB.

There's been quite a wave of support for him, as well as some retrospective objection based upon his church's previous participation in the Cooperative Program. By way of information, David is well familiar in this area, as his church .. the Church at Brook Hills .. is in the same county in which we are located. We've been by Brook Hills many, many times and have visited the church, as well.

He's been pastor there for a number of years, taking the helm when he was 25 years old. He was the youngest megachurch pastor in the nation, and did a remarkable job of leading and growing and preaching and healing, while there. I had friends involved in the church's founding, so kept up on it fairly well, and of course there was much notoriety surrounding the departure of the founding pastor.

David did his job well.

There's been some ink .. especially before the election, when it was surmised he was the leading candidate .. about the fact that Brook Hills contributed little to the Cooperative Program, the Lottie Moon offering, and causes of that sort. But as I've seen today, Brook Hills did an exceptional job of outreach both here, and around the world as well. They put their money where Dr. Platt's mouth was.

He did, personally, too.

So: regardless of the church's participation in the Cooperative Program and other designated offerings, the real question is this .. and in my mind only this:

Can he do the job?

Based on his performance at Brook Hills, I'd say he can. And, in fact, my personal opinion is that he can and likely will do the job better than anyone else they might have considered. In fact, I'd say one of the most telling things as respects that is the fact that he apparently thinks he can do the job. 

He wouldn't have taken it, otherwise. 

There are some jobs within the SBC that don't have the need for dynamic and forward-thinking leadership. Come to think of it, I don't think the president and vice-president positions carry the weight and the urgency and the responsibility that the IMB President's position does ... or for that matter, as does the head of NAMB or of any of our colleges and seminaries. Or even the local church.

I, for one, applaud the fortitude and the wisdom of the Trustees for selecting a man, not without the possibility of controversy, who's simply the best guy for the job.

 

5 Comments:

At 10:06 PM, August 27, 2014, Anonymous Lee said...

I hate to be cynical, but in the SBC, jobs like this go to people who have, and use their influence. Missionaries prefer someone with mission field experience, and he has, well, none. On the other hand, heading the IMB is a cosmetic job, the administrative work is done by underlings, and the main work of the president is the preaching and public appearances to help generate support. I am a bit baffled by the Southern Baptist tendency to choose leadership that comes from churches which don't have a great record of support for the agencies that their pastors get to lead, and I'd bet that a study of the malaise and ineffectiveness which has infected a lot of SBC institutions and agencies, along with the decline in giving, has a lot to do with that. Why should my church sacrifice if your church gets its pastor in leadership without sacrificing?

On the other hand, Platt built his influence in the SBC with his book and video business, and maybe the face value of his presence will work to provide the kind of inspirational leadership that the IMB needs right now.

We're in a day and age when traditional missions ministry is undergoing a great paradigm shift, and the IMB, so far, hasn't really left the box that it thinks in. Maybe he can use his influence to gain some time to make needed change.

 
At 5:36 AM, August 28, 2014, Blogger Todd Benkert said...

"I am a bit baffled by the Southern Baptist tendency to choose leadership that comes from churches which don't have a great record of support for the agencies that their pastors get to lead"

Look at how much Brook Hills gave to the IMB (i.e. the agency this pastor gets to lead) ... not sure your concern holds up to scrutiny

 
At 8:53 AM, August 28, 2014, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

Nobody knows any better than the trustees, I suppose, what it'll take to do the job. I submit that they think Platt is the best man available, most able to do the job. And doing the job is the most important facet. Not past history, not "a heart for missions" .. but the ability to fulfill the duties of the job.

And you don't have to have been a missionary, either. That'd be like saying the Chairman of Dell had to have worked in a factory in Korea assembling motherboards.

 
At 9:00 PM, August 30, 2014, Anonymous Lee said...

My being "baffled" is that Brook Hills giving to the IMB is mostly designated giving. If the trustees are saying, by this selection, that they think the time has come to abandon or modify the Cooperative Program, which is still the method promoted for missions giving, then they need to start taking steps to make those changes.

If Platt was selected simply because the trustees believed he was the best man for the job, he would be the first head of an SBC institution or agency selected for specifically that reason, in denominational history. There's a long, long, long record of trustee board selections turning out to be well connected, highly visible, pastors. It is hard to get used to the idea that they might have actually done something differently.

 
At 10:39 PM, August 31, 2014, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

I'd have a tough time explaining Al Mohler's election to the presidency of SBTS on any basis other than ability.

 

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