After 26 years of service to the Baptist World Alliance, incumbent General Secretary Denton Lotz announced his plans for retirement, during the Alliances executive committee meeting in Falls Church, Va., last week.
It is with great freedom and a certain sense of emotion that I announce that I have requested the Personnel Committee to begin the process whereby they will nominate the next General Secretary of the Baptist World Alliance, Lotz said in a statement dated Mar. 8.
His announcement comes at a time of considerable personnel and financial challenges for the 100-year-old international Baptist group.
In 2004, the Southern Baptist Convention - the largest member and financial contributor to the BWA withdrew all ties to the Alliance it helped establish a century ago, leaving behind a sense of bitter division and pecuniary concern. Since then, other member bodies increased their support to the BWA, but contributions still dropped by $157,000 in 2005, according to Ellen Teague, director of finances and administration for the alliance.
Meanwhile, both the BWA director of communications and the director of study and research stepped down in the last year, leaving behind what Lotz called a great vacuum of leadership.
Despite such challenges, Lotz said he believes the BWA is now at a high point in its life.
Although some may leave us, the fact is the Baptist World Alliance more than ever is Gods instrument for uniting Baptists worldwide, Lotz wrote, noting that more than 20 Baptists bodies are seeking membership in the Alliance.
Let me assure you, he added, that we make this decision under no pressure and in complete freedom.
According to Lotzs statement, the Personnel Committee will try to find a replacement by the time the BWA General Council meeting in Mexico City this July.
Until that time let me assure you that we shall continue to serve the BWA with enthusiasm and prayer for the might things God is doing through our brothers and sisters worldwide, he wrote.
Lotz, 67, has served as the BWA General Secretary for 18 years.