"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

An Interesting Twist to the Presidential Election

There are few who simply assume that a pastor from Georgia will be the next President of the Southern Baptist Convention. But one thing Southern Baptists should realize from the events of the past two years is that things are not always as they seem, surprises can occur on a moments notice, and the winds of change throughout the nation are blowing within the SBC.

For that reason I found it quite refreshing to read the website of another announced candidate for the office of President of the Southern Baptist Convention. Whereas most Southern Baptists who run for President feign an aversion to campaigning for the office, Dr. Wagoner simply puts up a campaign site - and then backs up his pledge to run for the office with a substantive and definitive platform

Dr. Wagner's resume is impressive. I'm not sure many Southern Baptists know much about Dr. Wagner, as is the case with me, but it doesn't take long for one to read his website to see that this man is not part of any status quo, is not in the center of denominational establishment, and has some pretty doggone good ideas.

Will Bill Wagner be elected the next President of the Southern Baptist Convention? I don't know. But one thing should be clear to us all by now - things are not the way they used to be in the convention, and the SBC is not out of surprises yet.

In His Grace,

Wade Burleson

26 comments:

Bob Cleveland said...

Up front, open, and unashamed of either. Sounds like a plan for more than just a campaign. Like maybe for me and every other believer out there.

Even those with Titles before, and letters after, their names.

Kevin Bussey said...

Thanks for the link Wade.

He is refreshing. I think we need a missionary and small church pastor for once.

Anonymous said...

That resume for Wagner is amazing does the guy sleep.

Wade Burleson said...

Tim,

Rephrase your comment and it will not be deleted. You do not have the privilege of speaking for me.

Jason Epps said...

All,

Bill Wagner was my missions professor and church planting mentor at Golden Gate Seminary. I must tell you, with all honesty, that he is an amazing man with a heart for God and missions like few I've seen. I have no idea if he's enough of an SBC "insider" to win, but I believe he would make a wonderful leader. I would encourage anyone reading this to get to know Dr. Wagner, and to encourage others in your individual spheres of influence to do so as well. In so doing, I believe you'll come to love him as much as I and many other former students have.

Blessings,
Jason Epps

Wade Burleson said...

Failed the old cut again Mr. Timmy Rogers. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

Go Bill Go!!! I'd add to his platform a provision for SBC missionaries (and other denominational employees) to be able to vote remotely or by absentee ballots.

imb m

RKSOKC66 said...

I guess I've been asleep for a while and missed something. Who is the "pastor from Georgia" that is presumed to be the next president of the SBC?

Roger Simpson
Oklahoma City

Wade Burleson said...

Frank Cox.

Not everybody assumes him to be the next President, Roger. Just some who have so stated it on their blogs.

stepchild said...

I, too, had the opportunity to study under Dr. Wagner. He is an amazing man with an excellent mind for strategic thinking and missiology. He is not a denominational insider, and would bring a fresh perspective to the office.

I do wish he and Mrs. Wagner would smile in the website photo, though...

Benji Ramsaur said...

I don't claim to know alot about Bill Wagner.

But I have a hunch he understands the big picture.

Rev. said...

He and the Mrs. sure look happy! Nonetheless, he has obviously put a lot of thought into being president. Definitely worthy of consideration.

Benji Ramsaur said...

"There is a kind of happiness and wonder that makes you serious. It is too good to waste on jokes." --C.S. Lewis

Maybe Lewis was talking about men like Bill Wagner.

Anonymous said...

"failed the old cut agian"... Wade and his delete button.. funny stuff

Steve said...

Looks like The Real Deal, not just a convenient, nonthreatening chairwarmer like is chosen in American politics and private affairs so often these days. Look for Golden Gate's reputation to shine a bit more this spring.
I had been hoping Mike Huckabee might consider it but the chance to go for a missionary shouldn't be discounted.

Glad to see you're getting a bit choosier (regarding the posts) these days, Wade. Did mom buy you some Jif? :o)

knnuki said...

I've read the stuff and I like it. Many have described him as "refreshing" and I agree. Imagine: a missionary strategist as the president of an organization whose aim is to "go and tell" the gospel! How very novel...

Mel and Nancy Skinner said...

Wade,
I had the privilege of working in Europe when Bill was evangelism and church growth consultant for Europe and the Middle East. One thing not mentioned about Bill, is that he had staying power during all of the resignations at the IMB following the de-funding of Rueschlikon Seminary. Bill was virtually the only person in a position of leadership in the European region of the IMB that was able to continue working with the "new leadership" when the "old leadership" resigned. I once asked Bill how he was able to survive all of the change. He said, "I try to keep my eye on the big picture." Seems like a good attitude to me. I think it would be a good practice for the entire SBC. For what it is worth....
Mel Skinner

Anonymous said...

The more the merrier!

The SBC has worshipped at the feet of "Big" for a long time. That was necessary during the CR because it took nationally identified pastors to run against the existing national and state denominational machines that could use their papers and other organs to swamp small, unknown candidates. (Anyone remember that all of the state papers editorialized AGAINST electing Adrian Rogers in 1979, except the Indiana paper? That's how bad things were).

So, I am glad to see candidates from all sorts of backgrounds.

The main thing is that that they will make good appointments and be a good public face for the SBC. To help change perceptions and accurately represent what I believe the SBC to be in the main, the SBC should do everything it can to elect people who are smart, speak well, and don't come off like the pastor of a rural county seat church. I love all pastors, but not all would make good SBC presidents and our times call for increased sensitivity to how we approach the larger culture.

The gospel is offensive enough. We should not add to that by electing leaders who really are not good leadership material.

Louis

davidbmclaughlin.com said...

I have no idea if he's enough of an SBC "insider" to win...

Well that's a plus right there in my eyes. I also like the idea of him being a missionary and small church pastor. Not that those credentials alone would make someone qualified, but they would indeed be refreshing.

Bryan Riley said...

He has what appears to be a nice looking blog.

Lee said...

It's probably long overdue for Southern Baptists to elect someone from outside the denominational status quo, and from outside the center of the denominational establishment. Perhaps making himself known through a deliberate, systematic campaign will work, since the group that chooses the SBC officers is a relatively tiny minority of the denomination as a whole, and it doesn't really take a large effort to win, as we have seen over the past two and a half decades. A campaign over the course of the next six months, aimed in the right direction, could well help draw enough messengers to Indianapolis for someone like Bill Wagner to be elected.

GeneMBridges said...

I don't know Wade, he cavorts with them thar baby baptizers that run Olivet. ;)

greg.w.h said...

I think the thing that strikes me about Bill's site is that he's running as a grown up. The site has very little pandering to "either side" while clearly addressing issues across the board. His view of the Convention is very clear in the platform he presents.

Given the nature of the role of the SBC President, the platform he presents appears to be a bit broader than I think can reasonably be accomplished. But working with a leadership team to put those proposals on a time line gives a real game plan and also helps people see both the timing and the efforts to assist and to slow down his efforts.

Real change will require the sophistication that Bill projects in his thoughts on how to communicate to this generation and how to reach out to and help our capable younger leaders feel connected, involved, and effective in Convention leadership.

Given the choice between Bill and other candidates, I'm naturally drawn towards the one currently from the biggest state in the union especially since it remains the frontier of cultural engagement. I'm pleasantly surprised by the fact he leads a small church and serves as a "tent-making".

I think his recent experiences serving under other leaders will help him address what I think of as our low HQ: Humility Quotient. I am especially fond of his clear effort to work towards passing the baton of leadership to a younger generation, preferably one that didn't engage in the CRony Wars.

I think these are all human factors that come to mind. The biggest issue is whether or not God intends the substance of Bill's platform. I honestly know of only two ways to ascertain that:

1. Pray about it.

and

2. Discuss what he has in mind and encourage him to join the conversation.

The Internet gives us a refreshing opportunity to do both of those while remaining geographically distributed.

I think we're being offered an exciting choice between two men of God who have invested their lives into God's eternal plan. I hope no one believes that by favoring one I am attempting to disfavor the other. I have no such intent.

Greg Harvey

GeneMBridges said...

He also has a beard and reminds me a bit of John Broadus. That has to be plus... :)

greg.w.h said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Wade - could you please post a bit on how SBC presidents are elected? I'm not familiar with the process.
- curious IMB M