By Julie McGowan
RICHMOND, VA (BP) — The International Mission Board began the search for a successor to David Platt to lead the SBC entity during their Feb. 28-March 1 meeting in the Richmond, VA area.
Platt, the mission board’s president, reiterated his desire that the 173-year-old Southern Baptist entity stay on course for taking the Gospel to the world’s darkest, hardest-to-reach places. To that end, IMB trustees approved the appointment of 20 new fulltime, fully funded missionaries.
Trustee chairman Rick Dunbar named a 16-person committee to find Platt’s replacement.
The trustees’ presidential search committee will be led by Chuck Pourciau, senior pastor of Broadmoor Baptist Church in Shreveport, La., as committee chair and Andy Davis, senior pastor/elder of First Baptist Church in Durham, N.C., as committee vice-chair.
Other members include Dunbar, a physician and member of First Baptist Church Madison, Miss.; David Sills, professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, president of Reaching & Teaching International Ministries and member of Ninth & O Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky.; Lisa Lovell, physical therapist and member of First Baptist Church in Fayetteville, Ark.; Ken McLemore, missions pastor of Liberty Baptist Church in Hampton, Va.; Nancy Patrick, licensed school psychologist and professor of special education and member of Living Legacy Church in Hershey, Pa.; Will Payne, FCA campus director at Syracuse University and member of Central Baptist Church in Syracuse; and Seth Polk, lead pastor of Cross Lanes Baptist Church in Cross Lanes, W.Va.
Completing the committee’s 16 members are Bill Ricketts, retired pastor and member of Prince Avenue Baptist Church near Athens; Tim Simpson, pastor of Greenridge Baptist Church in Clarksburg, Md.; Cindy Snead, clinical laboratory scientist and member of North Phoenix Baptist Church in Phoenix; Derek Spain, executive pastor of Hebron Church in Dacula; Susan Bryant, Kentucky WMU president and member of Graefenburg Baptist Church in Waddy; and Robert Welch, senior pastor of Rock Hill Baptist Church in Brownsboro, Texas. Duane Ostrem, an IMB field leader, will serve as a non-voting member to provide perspective from the mission field.
The search committee is receiving names for consideration at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In prayer, Pourciau thanked God for His grace – how that grace has worked through Platt to reach more people in the nations and to position the IMB to further expand the Gospel’s reach.
“Thank You for the time that has been given to us with him and the time that remains,” Pourciau prayed. “We ask that not only the time between now and when a successor is named not be a pause, but that it be an acceleration. May your grace pour through him so that the time remaining here will be the best time he has, and that it will not only prepare us for the next leader, but that it will prepare him even better for where he’s headed.”
Platt called for IMB trustee officers to begin the search for his successor on Monday, Feb. 12. He informed IMB field leaders, missionaries and staff of his decision that morning via WebEx call, email and in person during staff meetings in the Monument Avenue office in Richmond and at the mission board’s training facility in nearby Rockville.
What matters most
In commenting on the upcoming transition, Platt said, “Together, we’ve discussed continual improvements that we are making in the foundations, systems, and structures of the IMB. But the IMB is not ultimately about systems and structures.
“The IMB is ultimately about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and a coalition of over 47,000 churches working together to support thousands of missionaries right now who are working for the spread of that Gospel around the world. The IMB is about a new group of missionaries last night who will leave soon for the spread of this Gospel, and I pray thousands more Southern Baptists who will join them in the days ahead.
“Spreading the Gospel among people who have never heard it is what the IMB – and I would argue, the SBC – is all about,” Platt said. “It is incumbent upon us never to lose this perspective because this is what matters most.”
Julie McGowan is the International Mission Board’s public relations manager.