Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Wise Heads and Warm Hearts

Yesterday was the first day of the International Mission Board meeting in Tampa, Florida. There are a number of meetings taking place in the Doubletree Hotel including a conference for the North Africa IMB missionaries, and an even larger meeting at our host church involving the West Africa missionaries of the IMB. It was a joy today to personally meet missionaries with whom I have conversed via email and phone, and I am again reminded that we have the finest missionary force in the world.

All of our Regional Leaders for the IMB are at hotel as well. I was able to speak with four or five of them, and one RL couple recently became a part of our church at Emmanuel, Enid, Oklahoma while our church hosts them for a temporary furlough. These RL's have an incredible task of coordinating our IMB mission work in eleven regions of the world and I really enjoyed the fellowship with them.

I also had several good conversations with trustees. Many brought their families with them because of spring break and are taking a couple of extra days for vacation. I can assure you that while the Board of Trustees meeting is taking place there is very little time for trustees to have leisure. It is work from sun up to sun down.

I had initially said that I would not participate in closed door sessions of the IMB at this meeting, but after receiving advice from a very godly man whom I admire deeply, I changed my mind. He said for me not to be in the forum might communicate to other trustees an unwillingness to work with them through the processes established by the IMB to resolve conflict. I have stated my desire from the beginning to work with my fellow trustees in all matters, and did not want to communicate anything differently, so I followed counsel's advice and attended the forum. Obviously, I cannot share with you what was said, but I am glad I took this godly man's advice.

I should be able to post comments directly related those things concerning my removal tomorrow evening after the Plenary Session that begins at 7:00 p.m.

Let me close by expressing my appreciation for Dr. Jerry Rankin and his work as President of the International Mission Board. This man is called by God to a great and wonderful work. He handles himself with grace and dignity. Our world is a better place because of him and his staff. Sure, there may be some bumps in the road regarding communication between staff and missionaries on the field, as there may be some communication gaps between trustees and missionaries and the Southern Baptist Convention as a whole, but I do believe Dr. Rankin will go down in history as the finest President the International Mission Board has ever seen.

More tomorrow.

In His Grace,



Anonymous said...


I am one of many 10-40 Window missionaries who are praying for you during these meetings. Thank you for being one of a few trustees with whom we feel connected.

I wish I could say one of many, but in my 9+ years in this region, we have yet to see our first trustee...and I can assure you that I have never heard from any trustee.

So, encourage your fellow trustees to come visit some of those 5000+ whose lives they control with their policies.

Clif Cummings said...

As I read the comments from "anonymous" above - I once again shed some tears. I just came back from a 10-40 window mission trip with 5 others from our church. I've heard "missionary stories" all my life. I've heard missionaries come home and tell of their great need for prayer and partnership. But NOTHING - again I say ABSOLUTELY NOTHING - replaces walking with them on the streets of their people group.
There must be some way of making sure that every one of our "m"s (as they have to be called in a security risk environment) recieve a visit from at least one trustee every few years, much less over 9!
I am committed to pray diligently that all of this "brew ha ha" over blogs and new policies will be just the tip of the iceburg in some changes that need to be made by US (yes US - the people who make up the SBC)in genuine support of our missionaries and the task of taking the gospel of God's grace into ALL the world!

Anonymous said...

I want to agree with your statement about Dr. Rankin. But, I wish you would have said something about his wife. They are a great couple and I pray that God continues to use them to lead the IMB with wisdom and humility.

Bob Cleveland said...


Continued thanks for the blogs. I appreciate being able to "look in" on the life of a Trustee, and it's probably about time more of us Baptists (referring to our denominational connection only, there) learn more of what goes on in the organization of our Convention.

I happened upon a verse that spoke to me, in all the current goings-on, that seems a cautionary message for all involved in God's work.

Psalm 5:6: Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the LORD will abhor the bloody and deceitful man.

Perhaps that is why you are blessed. I see no deceit at all in what you're trying to accomplish. My prayer is that all will follow your lead in that respect.

Continuing to pray.

art rogers said...


I am thrilled that the closed door session went in such a way that you could work with others. This gives us all a great hope for the future of the IMB.

Looking forward to the report about your situation and glad that it will be done in plenary session.


Bob Cleveland said...

Private for Wade:

Let me tell you how blessed you are. You have some (IMHO) clear-thinking, well-grounded supporters out here. They are willing to express their feelings and thoughts. Without them, you'd be in an impossible position.

You are commanded to forgive those who wrong you. It's apparent you've done that. But as part of the body, you're also to hold those in various positions, accountable for their actions. If no one else voiced their opinions as to the events that have preceded this time, you'd be between a rock and a hard place.

Contrary to what others might think, your Blog is essential in all this. Otherwise, you and your supporters would be far less credible.

You're blessed, brother.

Kevin Bussey said...

Praying for all of you!

Anonymous said...

Count this as another missionary who is praying for you and all the trustees, as well as the RL's and other leadership that is gathered. Our family has worked in high security areas for 15 years. We are excited to read your blog, as it has offered hope that we may be able to continue serving with this org, and maintain our integrity. May God be glorified and his Kingdom magnified, as recent policies and decisions are re-visited.

Anonymous said...

Again, a great spirit is exhibited here Wade. May God guide you and your fellow trustees in resolving these issues so that Kingdom work will continue to be accomplished.

Anonymous said...

anonymous your letter touches my heart and reminds me of those missonaries who face dangers in so many parts of the world. Those who are slugging it out on the mission field are not concerned with the minor theologic issues that seem so important to the trustees. One told me "if you want to see miracles, go where they still kill Christians".

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on responding to Godly counsel!
You seem to be following the pattern of Nathaniel (John 1:47), keep it up, it's apparent that HE is Blessing!

Anonymous said...

This "unit" is glad that things are moving along well. We too are praying for this session.

We too, have met another trustee from Hawaii that was just great and was really in tune with the diverse strategies needed on the field. We appreciated him immensely.

We did have a Chairman come and visit one time. He was like a bull in china shop. He was very critical in his nature and we didn't appreciate him very much though. So, you never know what you're going to get when the visit is made.

We love Jerry and Bobby and support Jerry in the directions he has taken us. No, it has not been easy, but we see the value and are beginning to see the positive results. Not all in our position feel this way, but I would say generally that the majority does.

I am enjoying reading what you have to say on your blog.

Level 3 "M"