The International Mission Board meeting yesterday (Monday) marked the one year anniversary of the beginning of my service on the Board as one of the eighty nine trustees. This past year has not been easy for me personally, and for that matter, the Board as a whole, but I was encouraged by the Trustee meeting Monday.
Rachelle and I left Enid at 5:00 a.m. and caught a United flight to Richmond via Chicago, arriving in the capital of Virginia around 2:15 p.m. local time. We had just enough time to check in to the hotel where Rachelle freshened up and I made my way to the International Learning Center for the Forum.
The Forum is an opportunity for trustees to share in a confidential setting their concerns, prayer requests, and ask questions without any non-Board members present, including media. The Forum, by policy, is not to be a place where business is conducted, and though I can't talk about what was said, I was impressed with the prayerful spirit of the meeting, the encouraging reports from individual trustees regarding their own personal mission work, and the general rapport of the all trustees present.
Rachelle and I joined the trustees and several retired missionaries in the cafeteria of the ILC for the second annual prayer dinner. We had some great fellowship with my good friends Rick Thompson from Oklahoma, Thurman Hayes from Virginia, and some new friends who served for many years in Chile with my uncle and aunt as missionaries in Chile.
It was very sweet to hear the retired missionary at our table pray for the country where she served for many years and tear up as she spoke of a desire to continue to be used by God to reach the people there. It reminded me again that we have some wonderful people who have served, and are serving, as missionaries for the SBC.
The International Learning Center for Southern Baptist missionaries is a highly functional facility in a beautiful setting about thirty minutes from IMB headquarters in Richmond.
The trustees of the IMB meet at the ILC for the July trustee meeting and I always enjoy meeting missionaries in training and seeing their kids in the cafeteria and playing on the grounds. These kids will soon be on the field with their parents in some of the far reaches of the world. Their parents will receive little public attention, but will be on the front lines of expanding the kingdom of Christ.
Dr. John Floyd, Chairman
I would like to commend Dr. Floyd for his leadership today. After dinner John and I met privately with a couple of IMB administrators and John allowed me to share my heart and he listened well, and he shared his heart, and I believe I listened to him as well as he did me.
Abiding by rules my for blogging I cannot share with you the details of our conversation, but I can say that I sent to John an email this past Sunday, which I gave him permission to share with the Executive Committee, that in essence said three things:
(1). I regret the hurt that my blog has caused some of my fellow trustees, and it is my desire to seek to restore and reconcile with any trustee who feels offended by my blog.
(2). I will not be bringing up anything from the past, but will allow the independent panel of trustees appointed by Dr. Floyd to address the concerns in the SBC motion, and to produce recommendations, if any, to the Board as a whole, and ultimately report on their actions to the SBC.
(3). Though I will be attending Forums and Executive Sessions as I did today, I will abide by the decision of the Chairman regarding my appointment, or lack thereof, to any subcommittee of the IMB. I have maintained for the past six months that every thing I have written on my blog has been intentional and ultimately beneficial. I have always sought to abide by the written policies of the IMB, and though some disagree with the beneficial assessment of my blog, I cannot apologize for things I have written or placed in my blog if I believe them to be necessary.
Give the Board a Chance to Operate
In closing out the summary of this first day I would like to make a couple of requests to my on line friends and fellow bloggers.
First, give the Board of Trustees a year to operate before you make judgments regarding our progress. I think you will find that trustees are extra-sensitive to make sure that what is done this year is with a view toward fulfilling our mission to the best of our ability. I doubt very seriously that we will get sidetracked on peripheral issues that have nothing to do with the work in the field.
Second, I really appreciate all the support I have received from people around the world these past few months, but I am asking that nobody take up an offense for me this year regarding me not being on a subcommittee.
I made a very conscious decision to begin my blog last December. I believe that decision has had beneficial effects upon the IMB and the SBC as a whole, but unfortunately, due to the very nature of blogging, some of my fellow trustees are not very happy with me. To take up an offense on my behalf for me not being on a sub-committee only exascerbates the situation needlessly.
I could have stayed quiet, but for the sake of conscience I spoke out in dissent against the new policies. I believe I can regain the trust of those trustees who are offended. I have seven years to do so, and I am a very determined person.
Until then, I will try to keep you informed of the wonderful work of the International Mission Board from my perspective.
The Plenary Session (Public Business Session) is this afternoon. I'll try to post tonight after the evening dinner at the ILC.
In His Grace,