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Understanding and Participating in the SBC Nominations Process

Each year many Southern Baptists participate in our Convention's nominations process, and that energy and activity, in turn, causes many others to want to learn more about it. This sort of widespread interest and involvement is a healthy thing and is anticipated by the SBC's governing documents. The nominations process is most visible at each annual meeting, but it begins well in advance of that and is not easily understood by mere observation. The Committee on Nominations will be meeting March 15-16, 2007. This article has been reprised and revised to help more Southern Baptists better understand and participate in this vital aspect of Convention work.

Generally, the process described in the SBC Bylaws is as follows: 1) The president of the Southern Baptist Convention appoints the Committee on Committees; 2) The Committee on Committees nominates the Committee on Nominations [two members from each qualified state or region] to the messengers attending the next annual meeting of the Convention; 3) During the following year the Committee on Nominations reviews the qualifications of potential nominees to fill SBC trustee and committee vacancies whose names are brought to its attention by interested Southern Baptists; 4) The Committee on Nominations nominates to the messengers attending the next annual meeting of the Convention those nominees they believe to be most worthy of election; and 5) The Convention then elects its trustees and committee members for terms stipulated by the bylaws of the Convention and other appropriate governing documents [for detailed information read SBC Bylaw 19, Committee on Committees, and SBC Bylaw 15, Committee on Nominations, which may be found in the SBC Annual, SBC Book of Reports, or on SBC.net at http://www.sbc.net/aboutus/legal/bylaws.asp].

The members of the Committee on Nominations serve for only one year, meeting together just once, in early March. The chairman of the committee is nominated by the Committee on Committees and is elected by the Convention. In the fall of each year, information packets about open positions and qualifications required are mailed to each member of the Committee on Nominations from the offices of the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, and the committee begins gathering the names of potentially qualified nominees from a variety of sources. The committee divides its work up by assigning the task of collecting appropriate nominees from a particular state or region to the committee members from that state or region.

While it is true that names are often submitted by "recognizable" figures in Southern Baptist life, it should by no means be presumed that one must hold an official office to submit a name to the committee. Said more simply, any member of a Southern Baptist church may submit a name to the committee for consideration. The committee members have begun enlisting names to consider for the trustee and committee vacancies that will occur effective at the end of the SBC Annual Meeting in June, so now is an appropriate time to suggest nominees to them.

Therefore, if you hear a fellow Southern Baptist ask the question, "Can I participate in the process by recommending a name or names to one or both members of the Committee on Nominations from my state?" your answer should be an unqualified, "Yes!" To facilitate the involvement of as many Southern Baptists as possible in this process, helpful instructions are made available on the Southern Baptist Convention Web site, www.sbc.net, by clicking on the box that reads "Click Here to Recommend SBC Trustees or Committee Members." Doing so makes available a recommendation form and other pertinent information. The form may be downloaded, filled out by hand, and sent by fax or regular mail to the two Committee members from your state, or it can be filled out online and electronically sent to the appropriate members of the Committee on Nominations. The names of the members of the Committee on Nominations are listed on the same Web page(s) with the recommendation form.

Although the names and terms of trustees serving on the boards of SBC entities are printed in the SBC Annual, compiling a list of all of the vacancies that need filling each year is a difficult task. Therefore, the list below of trustees and committee members whose terms are ending has been provided for ease of reference and to enable Southern Baptists to recommend qualified people to fill the vacancies that will soon exist. An asterisk by any name listed indicates the vocation of the present trustee is non-church/denomination-related.

This raises the question, "Should I recommend a minister or a layman?" Because charters of each entity take precedence over SBC Bylaws and because the Committee must keep a certain balance between the two types of representatives who are being recommended, the Committee member from a given state may not know until late in the process whether he/she needs to nominate a church/denomination-related individual or a non-church/ denomination-related individual. Consequently, if you are interested in nominating persons for one or more of the trustee positions, nominating one of each type for each position would be most helpful.

The requirements to serve as a trustee on an SBC entity board are printed in SBC Bylaw 15, Committee on Nominations. One important criterion states, "The committee shall recognize the principle that the persons it recommends shall represent the constituency of the Convention, rather than the staff of the entity" [SBC Bylaw 15 (E)]. The Committee on Nominations traditionally has ranked two characteristics extremely high among those they have used to select appropriate persons for service from the pool of qualified candidates. Those two important characteristics are 1) whether the candidate embraces the Baptist Faith and Message as the representative confession of faith among Southern Baptists and 2) whether the candidate's home church has regularly given a substantial percentage of its undesignated receipts through the Cooperative Program.

To assist you in nominating members of the Committee on Order of Business, you should know that it presently is the only standing committee in the Southern Baptist Convention. Members of the Committee on Order of Business may be nominated from any qualified state. There are seven members on the committee including the president of the Convention. Two of the six other members are elected each year for a three-year term and no member can succeed himself or herself. For detailed information, read SBC Bylaw 21, Committee on Order of Business.

If you wish to make recommendations for the Committee on Nominations to consider, 1) determine the entity and the trustee vacancy or vacancies for which you are making a nomination; 2) access www.sbc.net and locate the Recommendation Form and addresses of the committee members (found also in the SBC Annual); and 3) fill out the forms completely and send them to the Committee on Nominations member(s) from your state.

In March, the Committee will meet to discuss the recommendations being made by the members from each qualified state and approve those who are to be recommended to the Convention the following June.

The strength of the Southern Baptist Convention is its people. None are more important than grassroots Southern Baptists who faithfully serve the Lord, often in anonymity, in their churches and communities. This process is open to any and every Southern Baptist who is a member in good standing of a Southern Baptist church.

Whether you choose to engage in the process is a matter for you to prayerfully determine between you and the Lord. Individuals you may recommend should be bathed in prayer. Trustees have a critical role in the life of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Year after year, trustees are needed who come with a love for our Lord Jesus, a desire to please Him, strong biblical convictions, and a determination to review each issue upon its own merit and prayerfully conclude how to vote on matters before the body that ultimately could affect the entire Convention and beyond. The SBC owes genuine gratitude to the trustees rotating off the various trustee boards each year for the extraordinary faithfulness with which they have performed their assigned duties as representatives of the Convention.

I hope you will be praying for the trustees and SBC committee members serving presently and especially for God's perfect Will to be accomplished in the election of trustees yet to be nominated. Trustees, men and women, are needed who come to the position with a desire to accomplish God's purpose, not man's agenda. Please join me in asking God to bless each person who is willing to serve sacrificially for the sake of our dear Lord Jesus and the expansive witness of our Convention.


SBC Trustees and Committee Members
(Whose Terms are Ending)

The Executive Committee
Alabama: Samuel E. (Sam) Brassell, Jr.
Arkansas: *John R. Taylor
Hawaii: Richard G. (Rick) Lazor
Illinois: Kevin L. Kerr
Louisiana: Nathan R. Luce
Missouri: *Roger A. Moran
North Carolina: Conley J. (C. J.) Bordeaux
Pennsylvania-South Jersey: *Nancy W. McGuigan
South Carolina: Donald W. Tillman
Texas: *Roy T. Sparkman
Texas: Jack Graham
Virginia: *W. T. Covington

GuideStone Financial Resources
Arizona: Nathan H. Pillow
Indiana: Russell J. (Russ) Lievers
Mississippi: *William T. (Dale) Patterson

The International Mission Board
Arkansas: Thomas E. Hatley
Florida: Gary L. Crawford
Florida: Clytee Harness
Georgia: *Robert L. Brugh
Georgia: *Nedra E. Jackson
Kentucky: Steven R. Hill
North Carolina: *Paul D. Brown
Texas: Stephen (Kyle) Cox
Virginia: *Paulette Blankinship

The North American Mission Board
Arkansas: Larry Thomas
Indiana: Robert A. Nall
Kansas-Nebraska: Terry G. Fox
New Mexico: Kelly M. McCarthick
North Carolina: Dennis P. Harrell
Ohio: *Martha E. (Betty) Hoffman
Oklahoma: David Crump
Pennsylvania-South Jersey: Jerry W. Dixon, Sr

LifeWay Christian Resources
Arizona: *Nancie Lewis
District of Columbia: Janet Henley
Illinois: *Sylvia Ellsworth
Kansas-Nebraska: Jim Laws
Louisiana: Johnny L. Sanders
Michigan: James W. Jones
Nevada: Tony E. Forehand
North Carolina: D. Eric Rich
Oklahoma: Jim W. Dawson
West Virginia: Mark R. McClung

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Arkansas: H. D. McCarty
Kentucky: *Chun W. Ro
Tennessee: T. Gary Watkins
Local: *Lois W. Gray
At-Large: *Melba D. Boudreaux

The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
North Carolina: *Ted G. Stone
Texas: *E. Dean Gage

Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Georgia: Mark N. Powell
Texas: George H. Harris
Local: *Loretta L. Bringer
New Orleans Baptist
Theological Seminar
Local: *David P. Bains

The Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
California: David P. Jeremiah
Kentucky: John H. Ewart

Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary
Mississippi: David Grumbach
At-Large: *Gary E. Black

The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission
North Carolina: Jeffrey L. Isenhour
Ohio: *Audrey R. Smith
At-Large: *Harold L. Camlin

Committee on Order of Business
At-Large: Allan Blume
At-Large: *J. Keet Lewis

* Vocation of the present trustee is non-church/ denomination-related.


Morris H. Chapman is president and chief executive officer of the SBC Executive Committee.

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January 2007 Edition
Volume 15, Issue 4
January 2007