Monday, July 17, 2006

An Anniversary and a Fresh Start at the International Mission Board

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

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,



Tim Sweatman said...


The fact that Dr. Floyd met with you face-to-face with two witnesses is a very positive sign. I'm cautiously optimistic that a satisfactory resolution can be reached, but then again I was optimistic before the last board meeting as well.

Anonymous said...

May the peace of JSUS flood your soul as you serve hIM and we baptist. May Rachelle share in this peace. GOD has truly blessed you with a Great father whom you did not choose and a beautiful wife that GOD chose for you. What a team and what a blessing!!!

Charlie of Gainesville

Kevin Bussey said...

Thanks for the encouraging news. I will continue to pray for the trustees and our missionaries.

Anonymous said...

Wade, I am praying for you and the rest of the IMB Trustees attending the meeting in Richmond. The road to reconciliation is a two-way street, a coming together which causes those involved to rededicate themselves to resolving personal conflicts. Nevertheless, the issues concerning the imposition of guidelines and prerequisites on missionaries that effectively narrow the doctrinal positions of the 2000 BF&M; and, unfair constraints on the free exercise of principled dissent continue to be pressing concerns which the IMB BoT and the SBC must address in the coming year.

In His Grace and Peace,

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Wade, for the update. You were positive and gracious as usual. I am not at all upset with the trustees anymore. I have moved on. The issues remain and as long as those two new theological policies are on the books that go beyond the BF&M, it is very hard for me to "trust" the trustees or get very excited about the overall direction of the board. I feel like they broke trust with the denomination. The fact that we have to patiently wait a year for them to figure this out and do what is right is beyond me. The fact that you are talking about how to regain the trust of the trustees that you have offended through your blog is perplexing. YOU did the right thing! I understand that they are offended and you want things to be right, but that is on them, I would think.

In an unhealthy system, those in power are always able to do what they want quickly, but it takes forever for them to revisit the decision if there are protests. Those who protest, if they have good hearts, usually end up being the ones trying to fix things because the ones in power are offended. It is quite silly, but it works that way in marriages, churches, business, etc. I think I remember you writing a few posts about that a while back.

I am not upset with the trustees and I pray they have a great year. I am actually pretty indifferent about it at this point. My hope, however, was that after the convention there would be an outcry from the trustees to send a signal to the convention that they are going to deal with this quickly, do the right thing by removing the policies to make their position consistent with the BF&M, and move on. That does not appear to be the case and it looks like we'll have a year of meetings, investigation, meetings, meetings, and, well, you get the point. I'm praying for you. I hope you have a great week and that all is peaceful. I just want to see something done.

Wayne Smith said...

Ted Stone

Among Stone's final speaking engagements was an address to a group of directors of mission preceding the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Greensboro, N.C., in June.

There he implored Southern Baptists to stop regarding broken and hurting people as “second-class citizens in the family of God.”

Your Brother in CHRIST

Wayne Smith said...

I just read the BP and DR. FRANK PAGE'S statement. I think Dr. PAGE listened to what TED STONE shared to THE GLORY of GOD.

He opened the door, instead of closing it by not passing judgment. AMEN

A Brother in CHRIST said...


The only people who can change the policies are the trustees themselves. What I am saying is that it will take at least a year for this to even be considered, but I believe it will.

foxofbama said...

Wade: I have a post up today at my blog that is trying to bring some loose ends of the Baptist discussion together on the Monster in the Attic that affects us all, the shadow of Theocracy that Kevin Phillips has explained in his seminal work, by the Same Name, American Theocracy. His pages on the SBC cannot be overlooked.
Your influential role in SBC life I would hope would compel you to bring this to Frank Page's attention. It haunts the very sinew of the IMB as to date former IMB VP and influential Baptist family the Truett Cathy's of Chic FilA are shadowed with their foggy politics in Georgia that shade not only Gov Perdue but today Lt. Gov Race as well with Ralph Reed.
I am not trying to slime the Cathy's. I know Dan, was in religion class with him at Furman, but they surely have the marbles to define themselves in regard this gunk that is in the thicket of Georgia politics in particular where they live and breathe and have their being.
See my blog up today and get the word out and engage Kevin Phillips and Michelle Goldberg, even Cecil Staton and Zell Miller and the open and nascent theonomists of Cobb County Georgia, which the NY Times revealed over the weekend to be a stronghold for Ralph Reed.
Stephen Fox

David Wilson said...

You have far more patience than I have Wade. A year? Based on what happened in Greensboro, I think changes should have been evident beginning with this meeting.

And on the issue of blogging, I think you've bent so far over backwards now that you're lying down. Blogging is just a form of communication. It's not evil in and of itself, despite the opinion of those within the SBC hierarchy and their hangers on.

Oh well.