SBC Executive Committee's presidential search team on track to recommend new candidate in March


NASHVILLE, Tenn. —  The search team for the next president of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee has announced that a candidate appears to have “emerged.” The committee shared an update on the process during a meeting in Nashville on Monday.

“We were able to hit the ground running after the last candidate removed his name… this was mainly due to credible opportunities available to us from the invitation phase that was done in August and September of 2023,” said search committee chair Neal Hughes. “I’m proud tonight to say that by God’s sovereign hand, your prayers for this wonderful team behind me, and all of their hard work, a candidate is emerging that we believe is an excellent choice for the SBC Executive Committee president.”

If the process continues, Hughes told the Executive Committee,  they can expect an email on or before Feb. 29 introducing the candidate. He noted this email will be for trustees only, and he asked them to save the date for March 21 for a special called meeting in Dallas, Texas, to potentially vote on that candidate.

“But don’t book anything yet,” emphasized Hughes, who also is director of missions and executive director of the Montgomery (Alabama) Baptist Association and MBA Community Ministries. “Just pencil it in.”

The update comes less than a month after the committee announced the candidate it planned to introduce had withdrawn their name from consideration Jan. 22.  

At the time, Executive Commitee Chairman Philip Robertson of Louisiana talked about "complexities in our convention" that have made hiring a new president  challenging.

“However, one thing has not changed," he said, "Our trust is not in a man; our trust is in our sovereign Lord. While it is certainly disappointing, we understand that it is vital that we find God’s man for the hour, and our trust in Him has not wavered. I agree with chairman Hughes: ‘let us press on, trust in Jesus, and approach each day with the joy of the Lord.’”

The Executive Committee's next president will fill the vacancy left by interim president Willie McLaurin, who unexpectedly stepped down in August after admitting he had falsified his resume. At the time, McLaurin appeared to be the top candidate by many for the position. Jonathan Howe, who has served the Executive Committee since 2019 as vice president for communications, was tapped to fill in as interim president following McLaurin’s departure.