In the year since Willie McLaurin was named interim president and CEO of Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, he has spent a lot of energy building relationships.
He shares often how he schedules a 15-minute Zoom call with pastors who send him a letter or email rather than writing them back. He wants to know what’s fully on their hearts and how he can help — and he can do that better chatting face to face.
He also referenced relationship building during his report to EC trustees in the opening session of their Feb. 20–21 meeting in Nashville.
“I spoke with every state convention executive director last year and was in 34 of the 41 state conventions engaging with their leadership providing the ministry of care and concern,” he said. “All of these relationships have contributed toward this new sense of trust with the EC. May we continue to build on these relationships.”
McLaurin, the first African American to serve in an entity head position in the SBC (even as interim), added, “I pray in some way God has used my influence and relational competency to move us forward as a convention.”
McLaurin also remains “a viable candidate” for the position, Adron Robinson, chair of the EC presidential search committee, told The Baptist Paper.
The seven-member search committee was named in February 2022 to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Ronnie Floyd in October 2021 and have put in a “great amount of work in finding the right candidate,” Robinson told EC trustees during last night’s meeting (Feb. 20).
“We had a desire to arrive at this place with a candidate but that was not able to happen. … We are meeting again (after the conclusion of the Feb. 21 EC meeting),” he said. “Continue to pray for us so we can bring you a candidate as soon as possible.”
Search team update
EC trustee members serving along with Robinson are Mollie Duddleston of Arkansas, Jeremy Morton of Georgia, Philip Robertson of Louisiana, David Sons of South Carolina, Mike Keahbone of Oklahoma and EC chair Jared Wellman of Texas (ex officio).
In previous updates, the search committee reported 11 initial applicants that were narrowed down to seven and then eventually trimmed down again to those who were interviewed. The number was not reported, but it has been confirmed that McLaurin remains in the final candidate pool as the search committee continues its work.
McLaurin, who was elected as interim in February 2022, will serve in the role until a new president is elected.