IMB head David Platt is also an interim teaching pastor at a Washington, DC area church. How did we find out about it? Was it via a press release? No. Via scuttlebutt. Unfortunately, an organization supervised by Platt didn’t publish a press release (or at least one we could find!) or otherwise communicate this new fact to the public.
We looked on Twitter, the IMB Newsroom and BP for information. We didn’t find any information on this interesting development. Instead of releasing details on Dr. Platt and his interim duties at McLean Bible Church, IMB seems intent on tweeting out endorsements of Dr. Platt’s questionable open-door refugee social justice advocacy.
Perhaps getting rid of all those media/communication employees was a bad idea. At least someone on that team might have understood the importance of making public this type of information. According to Will Hall IMB may have cut too much of its staff, “In the end, IMB will enjoy a cash windfall (before VRI and HRO payouts) of $75 million – $100 million in 2016, but have a void of field-experienced missionaries. IMB projected 600 terminations would cost $23.1 million in one-time payments, so the 1,132 actual departures likely will incur an outlay of about $43.6 million. Thus, when the dust settles, IMB will be $31 million – $56 million to the good, financially, in 2016. But Southern Baptists’ soul-winning efforts overseas will suffer because of these terminations for at least a decade.”
As it stands, Southern Baptists are in the dark about what such a move means. Here are a few important questions that simple good management practice would have answered.
What did the trustees know and when did they know it?
Were the trustees informed? Did they approve? Do they even have to be informed and approve when someone moonlights? The IMB is an enormous organization with thousands of employees and a budget north of a hundred million dollars. This type of money and number of people require supervision of both the president over the organization and the trustees over the president.
Did such supervision take place? How was this discussed, deliberated or whatever? If not, why not?
A simple press release would answer those questions. If it is not a policy to require such reporting to trustees, then fine.
In a press release.
How will Dr. Platt balance sermon preparation with his IMB duties?
I’m sure he is great at time management, but a press release explaining that and how he intends to do this would be wise. How will serving as interim change Dr. David Platt’s travel schedule? How long is this interim job expected to last?
Do these types of activities change Dr. Platt’s compensation structure?
Does taking on additional duties outside IMB change Dr. Platt’s compensation package? Oh, and while you are at it, maybe it is a good idea to reveal what Dr. Platt earns—instead of telling churches that salary information is a secret.
What is going on at IMB and in the Southern Baptist Convention? Why aren’t simple, professional standards applied to this massive bureaucratic organization? Is this yet another example that the IMB, its trustees and Southern Baptist elites don’t care what the average Southern Baptist might think?
There is at trend at work here. When churches have asked what Dr. David Platt is paid, they’ve been answered with a none of your business. In fact, Caldwell Baptist Church was told that salaries of top entity employees were “sealed” and would not be released to them
Why not reveal this information?
Dee Parsons offered one take via Twitter:
Whenever legitimate questions aren't answered,u can be sure the answers would be problematic.What is the SBC hiding? https://t.co/tQmN4Vd13h
— Dee Parsons (@wartwatch) March 8, 2017
There are many legitimate questions about the leadership of IMB. The amicus brief, was downsizing handled in the correct manner, the secrecy and lack of accountability and now the failure to communicate basic information to the general Southern Baptist public—the folks who pay the IMB’s bills.
If we are to save the Southern Baptist Convention, then reforms must take place now. Accountability and transparency must be virtues and not a nuisance. Southern Baptist entities and trustees must answer tough questions.