Following a yearlong search for new leadership, the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee has announced plans for a special-called meeting on May 1 to consider a candidate for president.
Search committee chairman Adron Robinson announced the upcoming meeting Monday (April 3) in a statement to Baptist Press. The announcement comes two months after the EC reported that they had hoped to make an announcement during its February EC meeting (Feb. 20–21) in Nashville but needed more time. Willie McLaurin currently serves as interim president and CEO of the Executive Committee.
“Over the last 14 months, the search team has diligently prayed, discussed, and worked to identify the person to best lead the SBC Executive Committee through its present challenges and into a brighter future for our committee and Convention,” said Robinson, pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Country Club Hills, Illinois.
“As a search team,” he added, “we are confident the candidate we are presenting represents the humility, wisdom, administrative skill and Christlikeness necessary to fulfill the responsibilities of president and CEO of the SBC Executive Committee.”
Search committee members
In addition to Robinson, the search committee is comprised of the following members: Mollie Duddleston, Springdale, Arkansas; Mike Keahbone, Lawton, Oklahoma; Jeremy Morton, Woodstock, Georgia; Philip Robertson, Pineville, Louisiana; and David Sons, Lexington, South Carolina.
Update on committee makeup
Update note (April 6, 6:05 p.m.) — When the presidential search committee for the EC was formed in February 2022, Rolland Slade was EC chair. While the EC bylaws (see below) require the chair to serve on the search committee as an ex officio member with the right to vote, Slade also appeared in a three-way tie to serve as a full member of the committee. If he had been selected as a full member, then the ex officio seat would have remained vacant until a new EC chair was elected the following June when Slade rolled off the EC. In the end, Slade did not garner enough votes to be a full member so he served as the ex officio member until his term ended in June.
When Jared Wellman stepped into the role as EC chair in June, he automatically became the ex officio member of the search committee. No official announcements have been made by the EC indicating Wellman’s status on the committee has changed. Also, the April 3 release from EC media relations director Jon Wilke noting a candidate will be presented May 1 uses past tense in the description of all committee members’ service. The release notes, “Members elected to the search team were” and both Slade and Wellman “have served on the committee as ex officio members.”
No official reports from the EC indicate whether anyone on the search committee applied for the position and no information has been shared about any of the members recusing themselves because of being a candidate. While unofficial speculation is surfacing about the nominee who will be presented for a vote May 1, the only name reported officially as being among those in the candidate pool was shared in this Feb. 21 article.
According to EC Bylaw 6.5 Presidential Search Committee — “In the event of the resignation of the president, or a vacancy occurs in the office of president for any reason, the board of trustees shall elect six of its members who shall, with the chairperson of the board as an ex-officio member with the right to vote, constitute a seven-member presidential search committee.”