“Everett’s commitment to historic Baptist principles, effectiveness as a communicator, lack of political agenda, ability to build coalitions, cultural sensitivity, theological soundness, and passion for missions and evangelism led the committee to recommend him.” Ken Hugghins, Chair, Executive Director Search Committee
The boldfaced emphasis is mine. Those are the things that I believe are “the important stuff.”
There will be plenty of opportunity for Dr. Everett to utilize all of his experience and gifts in each of those areas during his term of service in the BGCT. He’s a former Texas Baptist, familiar with the BGCT, so he must know what he is getting himself into. That’s O.K. As Texas Baptists, we can’t take a seat on the porch and watch. Fixing the BGCT isn’t within the capability of anyone hired to serve in this job. Sitting back and watching is what helped create at least some of the problems in the first place. It is time to get back into the game.
It will not be easy. It may take more than one try to get things straightened out, so patience will be required. There is always resistance to change, and when a particular group of like-minded individuals has held the reins of power, they don’t always want to share their grip, nor do they welcome change, which either means inclusion of people with whom they don’t see eye to eye, or their own replacement. But it is a new day in the BGCT, and there is a new executive director. It is an opportunity for change. There are still things that need to be done, and I believe they are worth the effort.
For example, I think the BGCT still needs to have independent candidates for convention office every year. There should be a choice for every position, every year. The more people who want to be involved, the better things will be. Also, while the BGCT does have a paid staff, much of the leadership is voluntary. Make yourself available to serve, if at all possible, let people who are in a position to make those choices know your desire, and if you don’t get picked the first time around, come back for a second try.
The search committee indicated that Dr. Everett lacked a political agenda, and could build coalitions. Let’s make that as easy as possible by focusing on Kingdom stuff instead of political agendas. Obviously, there are some non-negotiables related to theological beliefs, but we should learn how to build concensus and leave the personalities and influence peddling behind. I realize there are still some people out there who aren’t ready to believe that there are no political agendas involved here, and that is understandable. We need to take that into consideration. But I would ask those who are not ready to give their trust to be patient, and give a more than fair chance before drawing a final conclusion, dropping out, or leaving. Be open. Don’t look for problems where there are none. If you think things are not as they should be, speak up, ask questions, and find answers. Don’t be ready for a fight.
To those who are currently in power, back off. Open the door. Broaden the leadership without fear. It is obvious that people want things to change, and there is an easy way to accomplish that without damaging the organization or opening it up to the threat of a fundamentalist takeover. Let’s make it work.