Todd Howard, chairman of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission President Search Team, explains the desired characteristics of a new ERLC president identified by the entity’s Board of Trustees at their meeting Tuesday in Nashville.
By Tom Strode
NASHVILLE (BP) – The next leader of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Committee will need to “a proven unifier” with a pastoral heart.
ERLC trustees approved a candidate profile on Tuesday to guide the the presidential search committee tasked with recommending the entity’s next president. They also initiated the process of receiving applications and recommendations for the office.
The action occurred during the trustees’ annual meeting, which will conclude Wednesday at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville.
Information on how to apply for or recommend a candidate for the ERLC presidency, as well as the full candidate profile, may be accessed at erlc.com/presidentialsearch. The committee will accept applications and recommendations until Nov. 30. The website also includes prayer requests from the search committee for their work during the process.
“The ERLC has a rich history and it is our prayer as a search committee that God will reveal to us the right leader He has in mind to continue leading this Commission forward to defend religious freedom and be an advocate for life, the marginalized, the abused and the oppressed across the globe,” said Todd Howard, chair of the presidential search committee, in an entity news release.
Howard, pastor of Watson Chapel Baptist Church in Pine Bluff, Ark., invited “every fellow Southern Baptist to lift up this organization and our committee in prayer, asking God to provide us with wisdom, humility, and discernment.”
The committee is charged with bringing a candidate to the ERLC trustee board to recommend as a successor to Russell Moore, whose resignation took effect June 1 after eight years as the commission’s president.
In its own words, the profile approved by the ERLC trustees calls for the candidate to be: (1) Spiritually mature; (2) a faithful servant; (3) convictionally Southern Baptist; (4) appropriately educated; (5) an excellent communicator; (6) pastoral in heart; (7) an experienced leader; and (8) a proven unifier.
While the profile does not require the candidate to have an earned doctorate, it says a doctor of philosophy degree, doctor of ministry degree or law degree would be preferable.
In his report to the board, Howard said the search committee plans to invite all the trustees to submit questions when it begins the interview process. When the committee is prepared to present a recommendation to all the trustees, a board meeting will be called and a vote taken on the candidate, he said.
The other trustees on the search committee are newly elected trustee chair Lori Bova of New Mexico, Traci Griggs of North Carolina, Christine Hoover of Virginia, Juan Sanchez of Texas and A.B. Vines of California. David Prince, current chair and an at-large trustee from Kentucky, is an ex-officio member of the committee.