RICHMOND, Va. (BP)—The Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board named a presidential search committee to find a successor to David Platt.
Platt announced plans last month to transition out of the IMB president’s post to focus on his role as teaching pastor at McLean Bible Church in northern Virginia.
Search committee appointed
At the board’s Feb. 28-March 1 meeting in the Richmond, Va., area, trustee Chairman Rick Dunbar named a 16-person committee to find Platt’s replacement.
Chuck Pourciau, senior pastor of Broadmoor Baptist Church in Shreveport, La., will lead the search committee as its chair and Andy Davis, senior pastor/elder of First Baptist Church in Durham, N.C., will serve as vice-chair.
The only Texan on the committee is Robert Welch, senior pastor of Rock Hill Baptist Church in Brownsboro, a congregation uniquely affiliated with the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.
Other members include Dunbar, a physician and member of First Baptist Church Madison, Miss.; David Sills, professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and member of Ninth & O Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky.; Lisa Lovell, physical therapist and member of First Baptist Church in Fayetteville, Ark.; Ken McLemore, missions pastor of Liberty Baptist Church in Hampton, Va.; Nancy Patrick, licensed school psychologist and professor of special education and member of Living Legacy Church in Hershey, Pa.; Will Payne, Fellowship of Christian Athletes campus director at Syracuse University and member of Central Baptist Church in Syracuse; and Seth Polk, lead pastor of Cross Lanes Baptist Church in Cross Lanes, W.Va.
Completing the committee are Bill Ricketts, retired pastor and member of Prince Avenue Baptist Church in Athens, Ga.; Tim Simpson, pastor of Greenridge Baptist Church in Clarksburg, Md.; Cindy Snead, clinical laboratory scientist and member of North Phoenix Baptist Church in Phoenix; Derek Spain, executive pastor of Hebron Church in Dacula, Ga.; and Susan Bryant, Kentucky Woman’s Missionary Union president and member of Graefenburg Baptist Church in Waddy. Duane Ostrem, an IMB field leader, will serve as a non-voting member to provide perspective from the mission field.
The search committee is receiving names for consideration at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Platt reports to board
“Spreading the gospel among people who have never heard it is what the IMB—and I would argue, the SBC—is all about,” Platt said. “It is incumbent upon us never to lose this perspective because this is what matters most. This is what has mattered most in the IMB in the past, this is what matters most in the present, and this is what will matter most for all of eternity.”
In his report to trustees, Platt recognized, with names and photos, the lives of 75 emeritus missionaries and 10 retired staff who died during the past year. The field personnel’s lives totaled 2,176 years of service through the IMB, with an average age of 88 and an average of 27 years of service.
“Every year, during our first trustee meeting of the calendar year, we always look back and remember brothers and sisters who have gone before us and who have now gone to be with the Lord,” Platt said of the missionaries “sent out from Southern Baptist churches who have worked for the spread of the gospel around the world. Their lives—and their deaths—remind us what matters most.”
Platt gave the example of Betty Butcher founder of Thai Country Trim, a ministry for battered women to hear the gospel while receiving emotional and financial support. Today, hundreds of women work in Thai Country Trim centers around Thailand because of God’s grace in Betty Butcher, he said.
Platt also noted the death of Billy Graham, who served as an IMB—then Foreign Mission Board—trustee from 1957 to 1963, noting Graham’s unmistakable impact on the spread of the gospel around the world.
“Billy Graham’s legacy lives on in the IMB, and in the lives of multitudes of men and women throughout the IMB who are doing today what Billy Graham did all of this life— sharing the simple gospel of Jesus Christ and inviting people to believe in him for eternal life,” Platt said.
“That is what matters most. That is what the IMB is all about all around the world. That is what the IMB has been about for 173 years, that is what the IMB is about today, and that is what the IMB must be about in the days to come. May God make it so.”
During the board’s plenary session, Kristy Carr, senior manager for National Woman’s Missionary Union, presented a check for $19,752.50 from the WMU Foundation for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for international missions, the MK Educational Endowment and the MK Spiritual Endowment funds.
The trustee administration committee, chaired by Michael Cloer of North Carolina, presented recommendations to:
- Adopt a new trustee travel policy to request IMB trustees make an annual trip to the mission field.
- Affirm a schedule of three board of trustee meetings per year plus one international mission trip for each board member. In researching locations of trustee meetings, the committee reported that when board meetings are conducted in Richmond, the cost for trustees, missionaries and staff is about $61,500. If the meetings are moved to a “hub” city such as Atlanta for convenience, the costs expand to $173,000 per meeting. Therefore, the committee recommended continuing to conduct as many meetings in Richmond as possible.
The next IMB trustee meeting will be June 10-11 in Dallas, in conjunction with the SBC annual meeting.