Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A Fresh Wind Blowing at the IMB

Marathon runners will tell you that there is a point in a very grueling run when the lungs receive a sudden burst of air that enables the runner, who was previously on the verge of physical exhaustion, to have a fresh wind that enables him to complete the race in winning style. I believe the IMB is experiencing such a fresh wind for three reasons.

(1). Chairman John Floyd

Dr. Floyd is doing an outstanding job as Chairman these last two meetings. He has handled the meetings with Christian decorum, saturated them with prayer, and has displayed true leadership.

In addition, I want to publicly thank Dr. Floyd for taking the initiative to visit with me. Without sharing with you our conversations, I can honestly say this man has listened to my concerns, offered wise counsel, and answered my questions. We may not see eye to eye on all matters, but I am quite able to work within a system where I am in the minority, when leadership answers the questions asked of them by duly elected trustees.

There is a fresh wind blowing from the position of the Chair of the IMB.

(2). President Jerry Rankin

You can't help but admire this man.


In our plenary session of the IMB last evening he displayed leadership, cast vision, and acted like what he is, the President of the IMB.

I will not go into the details of the public Presidential report, but let me say I believe his report is one of the most significant at the IMB in several years.

We trustees have functioned at these last couple of meetings as trustees and not like a Board of Directors. We are allowing our administrators to administrate, our missiologists to do missions, and we are doing our dead level best to assist our President as he leads our organization. We trustees are not called to micro-manage the IMB, or God forbid, undermine our President, and there is every indication that a fresh wind is blowing in the area of President and trustee relationships.

(3). Jeff Ginn and the Leadership Development Subcommittee


That's all I can say about their report. Wow --- in a positive sense. The report is thorough, articulate, professional and easy to read.

Many are aware that some outside the IMB organization began to imply two or three years ago that there was inadequate theological and missiological training for our missionaries as they made their way onto the various geographical regions of the world.

This report by the Leadership Development Subcommittee, chaired by Jeff Ginn, blew that theory right out of the water. The committee was formed "in response to concerns raised." It's time for people to put those concerns to bed.

Because this is such an important report, I am posting it in its entirety below. I will be in Fort Worth for the chapel service Thursday and will be unable to answer any questions until Friday. Blessings to all.

Leadership Development Subcommittee
Interim Report to the Overseas Committee
September 12, 2006


In response to concerns raised, the IMB established in February 2004 three subcommittees within the Overseas Committee. The Board charged one of these, the Leadership Development Subcommittee, to review and monitor leadership development issues. This Leadership Development Subcommittee was to do its work in conjunction with appropriate IMB staff. What follows are the description and responsibilities of this Subcomittee:

(1). Subcomittee Description

The Leadership Development Subcommittee of the Overseas Committee works closely with the Associate Vice-President for Leadership and Ministries Development. The Subcommittee meets on an "as needed" basis to review leadership training issues, including (but not limited to) Field Personnel Orientation, Stateside Assignment Conferences, and International Centre for Excellence in Leadership

(2). Subcommittee Responsibilities

a. As representatives of the Overseas Committee and the larger body of trustees, Subcommittee members will become especially knowledgeable about the board's strategies and the leadership training prcesses that support those strategies.

b. Subcommittee members serve as a bridge between the larger body of trustees and these important staff functions. Trustee members should bring to the Subcommittee questions or concerns about leadership training. Likewise, Subcommittee members should assist staff in communicating with the larger trustee body about the board's rationale and approaches to leadership training.

This particular interim report focuses on Field Personnel Orientation at the International Learning Center. Further study may be appropriate for the other elements of ongoing leadership development.

Summary Conclusions

(1). For the past two years the Leadership Development Subcommittee looked at the programs of training offered at the ILC. The conclusion of this study is that the programs are sound theologically. This includes but is not limited to missiology and ecclesiology.

(2). There is adherence to biblical parameters as expressed in the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. IMB staff is cognizant of and compliant with the SBC/IMB positions on such issues as ecclesiology and the role of women in ministry.

(3). There is a healthy cooperative relationship between these training programs and the larger Southern Baptist theological training system.

(a). The IMB participates in an annual consortium with six SBC seminaries and Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. This keeps all parties abreast of concerns, trends, needs and developments in the field of missions. The IMB is represented at these meetings by both staff and trustee attendees.

(b). SBC seminary professors cooperate with IMB staff as regular lecturers at the ILC.

(c). SBC seminaries partner with the IMB in their established 2X2 programs and newer programs such as the MATSIL program at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. This program grants master level credit for studies done at ILC as a part of the requirements for said degree.

(4). While the ILC training processes are not exhaustive, they are healthy, growing, and effective.

Word of Commendation

Ron Wilson, Associate Vice-President of the Leadership and Ministries Development Department, and Elbert Smith, Director of Field Personnel at the ILC were both very cordial and cooperative. They were responsive to the inquiries of the Subcommittee and forthcoming with all requests for information. The IMB staff gives every indication of being anxious to respond to Trustee inquiries and input.


Kevin Bussey said...


I enjoyed hanging out with you today. I chronicled our journey on my site!

For those of you who make quick judgments on Wade, please get to know him first. You don't have to agree with him. But he is a Godly man who loves God and the SBC!

Thanks for your friendship!

wadeburleson.org said...

Thanks Kevin!

You wrote it just like I told you to write it.


wadeburleson.org said...

Not a bad idea Ron.

Alycelee said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Alycelee said...

This all sounds great and hopeful that God is in our future.
Mackey and I are praying for you.
I've actually had a couple of missionaries respond to me privately, as a result of posting on your blog, and now I have an opportunity and an honor to pray for them and their ministry.
"how beautiful are the feet of the that bring good news"
Thanks Wade for all you are doing, and you are not alone.

Steve Young said...

I was glad to hear the report on the meeting. I was a classmate of Dr. Ginn, and we attended church together while in seminary. He was always very humble and much sharper than he would let you know. Dr. Floyd was Director of the Doctor of Ministry program at MABTS when I received my degree (he was also professor while I was in MDiv). I did not always see eye to eye with him, but found Dr. Floyd to be very genuine.

Unknown said...


Did you have arrangements previously to meet with Dr. Patterson or Dr. Eitel while on campus?

SigPres said...

That's a good report. I respect and admire Dr. Rankin, and I think his presence at the IMB has made a real difference. We need to keep him there as long as he is willing to serve.

I know you wrote it in your blog, but could you emphasize once again the part about trustees acting like trustees and not a board of directors, and allowing administrators to be administrators and do their job? I just want to read it, pinch myself, and make sure I'm not dreaming.

Tim Rogers said...

Brother Wade,

I am a little confused.

Back in June you presented a post in the IMB New Committees and Heads of the Committees, and in the comment thread Paul Fries said; "Wade, Dr. Floyd answered a question, during the IMB report, concerning trustees being denied fulfilling their responsibilites as a trustee and he stated that, as far as he knew no trustee is in any way being prevented from serving fully as a trustee (this is not an exact quote). I am a bit confused with that answer and your not being given a committee assignment while all other trustees were given committee assignements.

To which you responded; "Paul,
I am as confused as you."

I understand that you feel a fresh wind blowing and for that I am grateful. My confusion comes about because of something I believe you should be doing--Were you appointed to any committee? While I disagree with you on various points, I do feel you should be on a committee. If there is such a fresh wind, why not the committee assignment?


wadeburleson.org said...


John Floyd and I are in agreement on what needs to happen.

I will allow John set the timing as he sees fit.

I agree with your post.

Matt Knight said...

Thanks for the report. I'm glad to know that things are running smoothly at the IMB. I also look forward to hearing Dr. Page tomorrow at SWBTS, perhaps I'll see you there.

Dave Miller said...

Wade, I am confused about something, and maybe, in the spare time you have so much of these days, you could address it.

I am a big fan of Jerry Rankin, but I have read other blogs and I am, in fact, a little disturbed at what I read on one about a man named Curtis Sergeant.

I just have no way of discerning what is actually going on. There is much in his theology and approach that I do not like and the accusation is that he is sort of the missiological guru of the IMB.

Can you explain to me what is going on here? It is sometimes hard to sort through all the blogging.

I have no question about the theological faithfulnness of our missionaries, but I have to admit that what I read about this man bothered me a little.

Dave Miller said...

I reread my question and want to clarify. I did not hear any deep dark secrets about Mr. Sergeant, or any information that questioned the sincerity of his love for Christ or his genuine service to God.

All I heard was that he had some ideas that were clearly outside the BF&M and that he was promoting them inside the IMB.

All my information comes from conflicting blogs and I was hoping you could bring some order to my mental chaos.

Sarah said...

Wade- I just returned from the missionary appointment service in Spartanburg. I must say, I'm proud to be a Southern Baptist. Those missionaries made me smile...and cry. I look forward to the day when I can stand in front of my friends, family and the trustees and accept my appointment with the IMB. Thanks for all you do Wade.

Matt Snowden said...

Thanks for the report. "Little guy" pastors like myself appreciate the info.

wadeburleson.org said...


Your question could not have been answered better by Ron.

I am one of probably only a handful who have actually read Sergeant's dissertation. I also have interviewed Dr. Sergeant and have the transcript of that interview where I ask him several questions that you ask. At some point I will make that interview public. He has given me permission.

Dr. Sergeant is now at Saddleback Church in California with Rick Warren. What they are doing in missions is beyond incredible.

Ron West closes his comment to you by saying: "You have to remember Ben Cole has very limited experience and knowledge about the theology and practice at the IMB. What little he did learn occurred when he was working to find things to report to his mentors at SEBTS during their vendetta against Jerry Rankin and the IMB. He may be trying to give a balanced report now but I still do not put much confidence in his sources or his discernment. Many of the quotes given to Curtis are reports on what is happening in the CPMs observed not making a theological defense of those occurences. If you have other sources, tell us who they are.

One last word on Curtis Sergeant. I would probably not agree with all of his missiological teaching but I know him to be honest, sincere, humble and theologically sound. I hope this brings some order to your mental chaos."

I have told Ben that to whatever extent Curtis Sergeant is teaching missions outside the parameters of the Bible and the BFM 2000, he should not have be an employee of the IMB. I have also told Ben that he needs to take more time to get to know Sergeant, to visit with him personally, and to ask him questions because I believe Ben began his work against Sergeant with a heavy bias. Ben's view of Sergeant may change personal interaction. We both agree that everything anyone does in the SBC should never violate Scripture, and we better be careful about putting third tier doctrines in the BFM.

For instance, through my personal conversations with Curtis he DENIED ever violating the BFM 2000. Through my reading of his dissertation, I find he uses methods that some may not agree with, but they do not violate Scripture or the BFM 2000. Then why have people gone after him?

Too many people from the Southern United States read the Bible AND the BFM 2000 with cultural lenses that lead to a Southern, white, American, interpretation.

Let me give you just one example:

When the Bible or the BFM uses the word "church" many Southern Baptist immediately think of "their local church building or local church assembly."

I was in South Carolina this week and saw something remarkable. I

A few of the largest, most prestigious churches are built around graveyards. In these graveyards are tombs --- with Confederate flags flying over the tombs. There are also monuments extolling the "deacons" buried there who considered slaves to be inferior people, and how those deacons reached out to the "niggardly" people. (words in italics are quotes from the plagues and monuments).

Further, there are newspaper clippings from the state newspaper extolling the members to "bear arms against the enemy" and urging pastors to arm their congregations (literally) for the impending battle (Spring 1861). By the way, this battle was to include killing the "liberal" Christians from the North who wished to abolish the slave system.

Here's my point.

I promise you that Christians in China have no such filter or lens through which they define "church."

To them, the church is simply believers. It is a living organism, not a brick and mortar institution. The church in China does not want a building. The church in China does not want an institution. The church in China is PEOPLE who love people, follow Christ, and lead others to faith in the Messiah.

To them, baptism identifies you with Christ and the people who follow Him. To them the Lord's Supper is celebrating Christ with other celebrators.I believe that Southern trained, Southern bred, Southern cultured pastors, trustees, and theologians, need to wake up to the fact that the Bible is loved by Christians around the world --- but much of what WE IN THE SOUTH consider important is a non-issue in other cultures --- and all the while the Bible and the BFM 2000 is being followed --- the key is in the definitions, and I promise you, the church is defined differently in other lands than it is in the Southern United States.

We better figure this out quickly or we will have our best missiologists leaving the SBC to go to places where God is at work.

I think last week's report is the beginning of the end of any witchhunt that has been occurring.

As I said, a fresh wind is blowing.

Writer said...


I'm curious. You've been talking for a while about first tier, second tier, third tier doctrines. In your view, how does one determine which tier a particular doctrine belongs?



Unknown said...

Hey Wade,
I enjoyed our brief conversation in the elevator this week as you told me and my wife about your upcoming trip to the Pac Rim. Sounds like it should be fun.

Thanks for the brief conversation the other day, I'm glad to know that God is working in the trustees. I was very impressed with the many conversations I had this week with the trustees and their willingness to work together and do whatever it takes to see God glorified among the nations. Thanks for your part in that!

While you're talking about ILC on your blog, is there anyway you can get them to update their workout equipment before say...October? Just kidding, but some of us need a little more help than others in keeping our BMI down!

wadeburleson.org said...


That is a great question. I am not sure it has yet been answered.

I would say, however, that only first and second tier doctrines should be in our confessions, not third tier doctrines.

Unknown said...

I want to say a bit more about Chinese Christians that has been discussed in Garrison’s book and among the missionaries. The Chinese Christians do have a church- it is the local assembly of believers. They meet in homes, and have congregations. Additionally, they take the Word of God extremely seriously, obeying every word that they read, determined to literally apply everything they learn each week upon hearing it. They take the power of the Holy Spirit very seriously.
I am willing to bet they do not look down on congregations that meet in buildings like ours. Don’t you think they long to be able to congregate en masse to openly worship Jesus Christ? In addition, I am willing to bet they have fewer ‘issues’ than we do precisely because they have fewer non-issues; and perhaps significantly fewer third tier doctrines. I say this because there is a movement of young Christians that are using the same things you just said to justify not going to churches on Sunday morning. The result is not taking any of the ordinances seriously, and disowning doctrine wholesale.

RKSOKC66 said...

Les & Wade, et al:

The "problem" with PPL/tongues is that while most SBC pastors believe that these issues are 3rd tier there seems to be a "sizable minority" (maybe as high as 20%) who think the doctrines of PPL/tongues are -- in fact -- 2nd tier.

Part of the anecidotal input that leads me to this conclusion is the comments on this BLOG. It is evident that "some" SBC pastors hold that tongues/PPL are outside the "scope" of the SBC.

Speaking for myself, I agree with the majority that PPL/tongues are a 3rd tier issue.

Jeff Crawford said...

One of the men that you and the rest of the BOT voted to appoint as a missionary on Tueday is Scott Ward. Scott serves on my staff and we rejoiced with he and his wife on Tuesday when they recieved this great news. Thank you for your vote to send him. To learn more about Scott and how God will use him, check out my blog sometime soon: www.jeffreycrawford.blogspot.com

Blessings - Jeff

Unknown said...


Didn't see you (or recognize you) at chapel. Were you able to make it?

irreverend fox said...


btw way,

I believe that Praise to the Lord, The Almight and Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing are the two greatest songs EVER written. I can't sing either of them and not choke up.

Rex would have a heart attack if he heard "how" we play this song...but, he has to love me anyway.


Rex Ray said...

I think you made your comment on the wrong post. You and I messed up Sunday’s post by not understanding what the other thought noise was. Please let’s not start on this one.

Wade, it’s interesting to me that you are talking about Ben Cole because he talked with my brother-in-law (Joe Deupree) yesterday at the Tarrant Baptist Association which had a light breakfast for Frank Page.
Cole asked Joe if he was one of the ‘Colleyville Four’. (Frank Harber had kicked these ‘Four’ out of his church before the church asked Harber to resign.)
I only caught some of Page’s sermon on the internet as the sound kept going off. But I got enough to understand that Satan is determined to divide Baptists on the local level and the national level.
I don’t know if Page knew about Colleyville, but I think it’s a perfect example. Harber accepted a ‘separation package’ which prevented him from ‘competing’ for Colleyville church members with a possible new church. But now his lawyer has informed the church he is rejecting the package.
Cole told Joe to the effect that Harber reminded him of Nebuchadnezzar, who spread his arms and said, “Look what I have built.”

The reason I brought this up is because the Christians at Colleyville have been hurt enough, and healing will not take place as long as someone’s ego is determined to prevail. The more that people know what is going on the sooner God’s love will heal.
Rex Ray