http://texasbaptists.wordpress.com/2007/12/21/daehnert-elected-interim-executive-director/

He has already listed his goals, which, if you have read much of what has been posted here on Deep in the Heart during the recent weeks and months, are what we have been advocating.  I am particularly pleased to see that the first priority he mentioned was affirming the staff.  The financial picture is also important, and serving as a communication conduit for the next E.D. rounds out the picture. 

It is also a good thing that a former BGCT staff member who led the intentional interim ministry program is the one to whom God opened the door to serve as interim executive director, to quote a passage of scripture out of context, “for such a time as this.”  Considering what has happened in the BGCT in recent months and  years, an extended interim period of five or six months, perhaps even as long as a year, could be very productive in terms of allowing for some healing, rebuilding some trust, and giving the search committee more time to listen to what their constituency is saying about the person they want to see occupy the position. 

I still get emails from individuals, some of whom have formerly served in the BGCT or in associational missions, who tell me that they expect the search committee to ignore everyone  but their own narrow group, and that they will predictably use this position not only to “reward” a veteran of the effort to prevent a fundamentalist takeover of the BGCT, but to hire someone who will be aggresive in pushing the BGCT toward an even higher level of cooperation with CBF, and put further distance between the BGCT and the SBC.  I’ve been told that, vote total notwithstanding at the convention, they will risk losing the next round of officer elections in order to secure this job for a hardliner from their inner circle in order to control the convention for the next decade.  I sincerely hope they are wrong on this, and that an extended time for a search will lead to selecting a leader who will represent all those in the BGCT, including the significant majority of churches that still want to exclusively support the SBC.

Dr. Jan Daehnert, we are praying for you.

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About LS

I'm 56, happily married for 25 years, B.A., M.A., career educator with experience in education as a teacher and administrator, native Arizonan living in Pennsylvania, working on a PhD and a big fan of the Arizona Wildcats, mainly in football and basketball.

4 responses

  1. David Lowrie says:

    Lee,

    I am very interested in your quote:

    “but to hire someone who will be aggresive in pushing the BGCT toward an even higher level of cooperation with CBF, and put further distance between the BGCT and the SBC. I’ve been told that, vote total notwithstanding at the convention, they will risk losing the next round of officer elections in order to secure this job for a hardliner from their inner circle in order to control the convention for the next decade”

    I hope and pray this does not become a reality. It would seem if that was the direction the committee was going to take it would have already acted. A hardline leader with a vision of aggressively leading the BGCT toward the CBF would be a disaster from my perspective. Any talk of inclusiveness would have proved to be nothing more than empty rhetoric. Trust is in the balance.

    A good friend of mine who works in public relations taught me a simple lesson a few years ago. Don’t ask a group for their opinion or ideas on an issue if you have already made up your mind about what you are going to do. If you ask someone and then ignore them the wound is deeper than if you had never asked at all.

    What would the point of listening sessions, and feedback loops be if those willing to take the risk of speaking out are ignore. The consistent theme I have heard is that we need an inclusive, visionary leader.

    I believe our churches have had to resort to communicating by their giving as a last resort. I am grateful to hear Dr. Daehnert beginning his tenure talking about leading by listening.

    David Lowrie

  2. Lee says:

    By the time they came to the listening session in Waco that I attended, I felt the search committee had heard a pretty clear message from Texas Baptists about “stopping the spitting contest” with the SBC, as it was expressed in that meeting, and about choosing an executive director that would not be seen as a politician, but as a missionary, working with all constituencies in the BGCT. And three out of four of the search committee members who came to the Waco meeting seemed agreeable with those suggestions.

    Every now and then, though, since the Amarillo convention meeting, I will get an email from a reader of the blog who still doesn’t think the leadership of the BGCT can be trusted not to push back toward their moderate sympathies. Some of them are reluctant to submit comments, even anonymously, because they fear reprecussions as a result of past experience. Having been through some of that myself, I can sympathize.

    I fully realize that there are those in leadership in the SBC who are still playing politics, using influence to grant favors and push their own agenda, but retaliation is not the way to react to that. “It works both ways” is not a viable option for a Christian organization. It should be, “We take the high road no matter what.” I hope that is the direction this search committee, and our BGCT leadership, is heading.

  3. Tim Dahl says:

    At times I wonder how long I can be in the BGCT. Usually this is at night, lasts about 30 minutes, and after a long hard day that leaves me a bit more cynical than usual.

    I for one would be over-joyed if the BGCT grew closer to the CBF. They seem more in touch with what the Lord wants us to be (Incarnating Christ in the Community), than the SBC has been in years. While the SBC continues on its right wing extremist agenda; it continues to fall into irrelevance. Yes, the next ED has to keep the BGCT connected to the SBC. However, I hope that s/he has enough sense not to be infected by that relationship.

    I mean, come on. They are still arguing about Armenianism vs. Calvinism? How silly is that? They put more time into Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson (sp?) than Jesus.

    Tim Dahl

  4. Lee says:

    It would take a lot of time and space to discuss all the issues going on with the various Baptist alphabet soup of SBC, CBF, BGCT and whatever else there may be.

    The individuals who launched the conservative resurgence in the SBC used the issue of theological “liberalism” in the seminaries to convince enough people to get to the convention and vote their people in, and the others out. Was there “liberalism” there? Yes, enough to smolder, perhaps. But it has become painfully obvious, after more than 25 years, that the thought that liberalism and liberals were plotting to “take over” the convention was ridiculous. There weren’t enough of them to fill a small church and the effort now looks like firing a cannon at a gnat. As time progressed, the movement, mainly led by Paige Patterson, Paul Pressler and their mega-church connections, has advanced two clear themes: Securing denominational posts for those in the inner circle who wanted them, particularly the presidency of Southwestern Seminary for Paige Patterson, and the ERLC for Richard Land, and a platform to attempt to use the weight of the SBC’s influence and size on the side of religious right wing politics. A few statements were written in to the BFM 2000, mainly to keep “liberals” from driving through the loopholes, but neither the term nor the doctrine of “inerrancy,” which was the flag they fought under, ever became official doctrine.

    There is now a significant reform movement in the SBC, led by Wade Burleson, which has pointed out some of the excesses and flaws of the conservative resurgence, and which is bringing change. The reformers have succeeded in holding the SBC presidency for two terms under Frank Page, thus securing two terms worth of board appointees. I believe they will succeed in a third term, simply because the resurgence support and leadership is getting old, and was never as all encompassing or large as portrayed, and has done some things in response which are both silly and damaging in terms of reputation.

    As for CBF, well, it has never been much more than a small collection of the displaced from the SBC. It has been pushed out on a limb, so to speak, in terms of doctrine in order to distinguish itself and form some kind of identity, and I’m not really sure it has accomplished that yet. And it is obvious that many of their churches aren’t as comfortable with some of what they support financially as others might be. It hasn’t quite crossed the threshold of having 2,000 contributing churches, hovering around the 1,800 mark, and there are questions as to how many of those are really identified with CBF and how many simply allow a few members to contribute to it. And in recent years, the number of contributing churches has declined, and financial support has dropped off as well. Only about 120 of their churches have actually severed their ties with the SBC and with 92% of the participants dually aligned, CBF’s financial resources are limited. They have hit on some unique aspects of missions support, especially in unreached people groups. Their main identity centers around their “support” for ordaining women to the ministry, though in practice, few CBF churches actually do. In terms of “partnerships” and relationships to the BGCT, well, considering that the BGCT is almost three times the size, and has four times the budget, those would most certainly always be more beneficial to CBF than to Texas Baptists.