State Conventions question if NAMB is spending money consistent with its charter.
Forensic Audit of NAMB needed now more than ever.
Six State Conventions invoke SBC By-Laws asking SBC Executive Committee to mediate dispute.
Six reform-minded, conservative state Baptist Convention Executives alleged the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention may not be spending funds in a manner consistent with its charter. Further, the State Baptist Convention executive directors requested the SBC Executive Committee mediate the dispute growing between state conventions and the bloated, centralized convention bureaucracy.
The request for mediation comes after the state conventions sent a letter to NAMB seeking to repair damaged relationships with the SBC entity. NAMB’s response was anything but helpful.
The North American Mission Board (NAMB) responded to concerns of six state Baptist Conventions by a letter from its trustee board officers. The response was first reported by the Louisiana Baptist Message.
NAMB’s response was insulting and dismissive of the state conventions. The NAMB trustee letter shows the arrogance at the root of so many problems among Southern Baptist Convention Elites. The letter was signed by Danny de Armas, chairman and associate pastor, First Baptist Church, Orlando, Florida, Eric J. Thomas, vice chairman and pastor, First Baptist Church, Norfolk, Virginia, and William L. Rice, second vice chairman and pastor, Calvary Baptist Church, Clearwater, Florida.
The written response to the state conventions by NAMB trustee officers included SBC Elites bragging about increased bureaucratic centralization.
You have correctly identified that we are more focused (centralized) and directive in our strategies, personnel and funding,” they wrote. “We’re not sure you could make a more complimentary accusation of us!”
In other words, the NAMB plans to live by the Golden Rule. No, not that one, the one Scrooge McDuck lived by: He who has the gold makes the rules.
But the trustee response highlights the key problem with the trustee system—the trustees are not doing their job in supervising and restraining executive conduct. In fact, the actions of NAMB trustees show how trustees enable reckless conduct that calls into question the very cooperative fabric of the Southern Baptist Convention.
The six state Baptist Conventions warned SBC Elites that continued centralization and failure to work in partnership would result in the state conventions reexamination of the cooperative relationship.
According to the Baptist Message, “Randy Adams (Northwest Baptist Convention), Bill Agee (California Southern Baptist Convention), Joe Bunce (Baptist Convention of New Mexico), Randy Covington (Alaska Baptist Resource Network), Jack Kwok (State Convention of Baptists in Ohio) and Chris Martin (Hawaii-Pacific Baptist Convention), were unanimous in their view that ‘our longstanding partnerships with NAMB may finally be coming to an end in any meaningful sense.’”
And State leaders’ question if NAMB is spending money in ways consistent with its mission.
“Moreover, the state leaders questioned ‘whether all Cooperative Program funds are being spent in a manner consistent with the charter of the North American Mission Board and its ministry assignment given by the Convention,’” the Louisiana Baptist Message reported.
This is an important point. NAMB is spending money on huge projects like approximately $15 million on mixed-use development including retail just outside Atlanta, Georgia. The development includes at least four soccer fields.
In addition, NAMB is spending millions on the purchase of real estate including homes for church planters in some expensive cities around the nation.
All of this makes a forensic audit of NAMB’s spending more important than ever.
The request for mediation was based on SBC ByLaw 18E. According to the report, the state conventions asked the “Executive Committee to fulfill its Bylaw 18E responsibility and to act expeditiously to help reach a resolution over these concerns, especially before the October 1st (sic) deadline for signing these new ‘Cooperative Agreements.’”
Also, “SBC Bylaw 18 pertains to the SBC Executive Committee; and, paragraph E(5) in this passage instructs them “To act in an advisory capacity on all questions of cooperation among the different entities of the Convention, and among the entities of the Convention and those of other conventions, whether state or national.”