Southern Baptists have set up two committees with approved diverse representation in search of the new North American Mission Board head, following the resignation of Dr. Bob Reccord.
The announcement on the appointment of a presidential search committee and an executive level policy committee was recently made by NAMB trustees Chairman Barry Holcomb.
"It is my desire that all Southern Baptists feel they have representation on these committees, which are composed of laymen, lay women and pastors from large and small churches, from areas of North America where Southern Baptist work is strong as well as new work areas," said Holcomb, according to the Baptist Press.
As the denomination stands in "great anticipation for the future of missions in North America," as Holcomb noted, with the first session planned for May 2 near New York City, pastors and other Southern Baptist leaders signed a statement in the meantime to express support towards Reccord's "uncompromising integrity."
"He has acted with integrity and character throughout his nine year tenure as NAMB's President and never more so than in these last tumultuous weeks," read the statement, which was issued with 41 signatories on Apr. 21. But the support doesn't stop there.
Dr. Michael Hamlet, senior pastor at First Baptist Church in North Spartanburg, S.C., brought attention to the calls that are continually coming in requesting their names be added to the statement.
Reccord stepped down from presidency last week after a critical report was released questioning his leadership as well as the missions agency. The Board of Trustees of NAMB along with the rest of the denomination commended the former head both for his visionary leadership throughout his nine-year tenure and his handling of the report which some say, although it made no mention of the many developments and church starts, was a wake-up call.
"Where [Reccord] has made misjudgments, he has freely acknowledged them and assumed responsibility," read the statement. "But these are mistakes of the head, not the heart the kinds of misjudgments that innovative leaders make in an effort to accomplish things that have never been done before.
"They by no means negate Bobs demonstrated commitment to lead with integrity nor the accomplishments weve seen under his leadership at NAMB."
Hamlet commented on Reccord's resignation stating, "Bob felt that in light of this, that it was best for him and best for the denomination and for NAMB because he cares so much about NAMB and those missionaries. This was a decision that he made in the best interest of the ministry.
"We felt he put the agency ahead of himself."
The Southern Baptist leaders whose names appear on the statement as well as those who have yet to sign it affirmed Reccord's tireless work ethic, courage, doctrinal integrity and passion, his spiritual walk and ability to "communicate the good news in ways relevant to those outside Southern Baptist circles."
They acknowledged that his great leadership, however, may not have fit the denominational style, as Hamlet noted.
"We believe these circumstances have been used by God to forge Bob for even greater ministry in the days ahead. We pledge our support to help make that happen."