Former state executive sues NAMB; agency denies interference

(North American Mission Board/

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ABERDEEN, Miss.—Will McRaney, former executive director of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware has sued the North American Mission Board, alleging the missions agency defamed him and interfered with his employment. NAMB attorneys filed a legal response denying the charges and asking the court to dismiss the suit.

McRaney filed his lawsuit in early April, claiming NAMB President Kevin Ezell orchestrated his dismissal from the two-state convention. McRaney asserted Ezell tied the release of NAMB funds for the convention to McRaney’s removal as executive director.

McRaney also asserted Ezell or other NAMB officials interfered with his speaking engagements in Mississippi and Florida, scheduled in fall 2016.

“I have served the Lord and Southern Baptists entrusted to my leadership faithfully and fruitfully for 30 years. As expressed in our legal complaint, Dr. Ezell’s actions have damaged me and my family,” McRaney wrote in a message emailed to Baptist state newspaper editors and news services.

NAMB files legal response

In its May 18 filing with a U.S. District Court in Mississippi, NAMB acknowledged notifying the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware in late 2014 the missions agency planned to terminate an evangelism and church-planting partnership agreement, saying the two-state convention “became a dysfunctional and difficult ministry partner.”

However, the NAMB document denied any interference in McRaney’s employment or any of his business dealings.

NAMB lawyers asserted McRaney openly exhibited “disdain and hostility” toward the missions agency’s strategies and its leaders. Since he left the two-state convention, McRaney has disparaged NAMB leaders and published false or misleading statements about the agency, they added.

McRaney takes his case to the media

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McRaney has a seven-part series of presentations on his website titled “Is the New NAMB Really working” and another entry titled “Truth and Responses to Questions, Re: Ezell/NAMB.”

“Why are NAMB lawyers and trustee officers offering general denials, when the complaints and allegations against Dr. Ezell and others are specific, and specific answers are available?” McRaney asked a document sent to Baptist journalists.

In his email to Baptist editors, McRaney said: “I am hoping NAMB representatives will mediate biblical restitution for wrongs against me, but if not, we plan to let one or more state and federal courts hand down their justice. As I have communicated repeatedly, if NAMB representatives are interested in a restitution settlement, my Christian attorney is available to them.”

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