Saturday, December 17, 2005

Trust, Trustees, and Transparancy

The following is an email from a young minister asking for a definition of a trustee:


I'm a middle school youth minister in ____________. I've been trying to contact the trustees in my state to ask them about the new IMB policy/guidelines.

This has left me wondering what exactly the role of a trustee of the IMB is. That may be a silly question, but after trying to contact some of them I'm not sure what to think. I looked for a charter or constitution or something to figure out what I should expect, but didn't find anything.

To get directly to my point, this is an excerpt of an email I've received from one trustee:

<---I do not feel like it would be proper for me to share my own personal views on this topic. When the group acts (IMB Trustees), then I support the action no matter what my personal feelings.--->

On some level I felt like the trustees are a representative body of all Southern Baptists. I'm sure that there's no direct correlation between this body and say, how Congress would represent U.S. citizens, but if the analogy is true at all, should I not be able to hear what this trustee thought?

I appreciate any insight you can give me into this situation. Thanks so much for taking a stand on this issue. This new policy affects me personally in that I am now no longer a valid candidate to serve with the IMB. I have seen serving with the IMB as something I want to consider and pray about in the future. My girlfriend and I have talked about it -- she cares about missions as well. She's already served as a journeyman for IMB. I'm proposing to her tomorrow night. :-) . . . .

I feel like I'm rambling a little bit, so I'll stop. I appreciate any comment you can give me about this stuff.


(Name Withheld)

My very brief comment to this young pastor is as follows:

On one level, the trustee who responded to your email is correct, and on another level he is dead wrong.

He is correct in saying "When the group acts (IMB Trustees), then I support the action no matter what my personal feelings." I agree.

For instance, as a member of the Personnel Committee, I will reject all applicants who do not meet the new policies regarding baptism and tongues even though I do not agree with them. The Board has spoken.

However, he is dead wrong about not sharing his personal opinion with you.

He is obligated, as a trustee, to report to you his thinking, his vote, and/or his disagreement with the actions of the Board.

He works for you.

Trustees have been given "trust" by the members of the Southern Baptist Convention. The Southern Baptist Convention holds trustees accountable.

Every single trustee is obligated to let people know how they feel.

I have been inundated with requests for information about the new policies.

This blog is my attempt to let the people who hold me accountable to know exactly how I feel.

Next time Jerry, just send people the link. It looks better than copy and paste.

In His Grace,



Anonymous said...

I'm glad my girlfriend wasn't keeping up with your blog as much as me -- she would have seen my plans to propose! :-)

(She said yes!)

Anonymous said...

All of this has a familiar ring to it. Twenty years ago Moderates were maligned and mischaracterized if they ventured any opinion that did not fall into line with the surging SBC leadership.

Now the screw has turned. Is it possible that you are now a victim of processes and modes of operation which you yourself helped to implement as you supported the manner in which good people were treated as the current leaders rose to power? Your complaints sound just like those of Moderates in the mid-eighties.

Even though I am a life-long Southern Baptist who never intends to leave my denomination, I cannot get too exercised over the current squabbles. Most of us Moderates felt that the ever-tightening grip on personal expressions of faith would eventually begin to devour even those in the inner circle. For you, that time is now.

Though my comments are likely seen as unsympathetic to your plight, that is not actually the case. I have no doubt that you are a man of great integrity. Neither do I doubt that your only mistake is that you failed to understand how completely folks are now expected to toe the line.

God bless you and your ministry.

Rick Shannon
January 12, 2006