Trust the trustees? No thanks.
Just what are Southern Baptist entities doing with the money entrusted to them? Very few people know how the dollars are spent. The financial information like salaries for top officials are guarded like the information were national security secrets. That information is need to know. And the serfs sitting in the pews only need to give. They don’t need to know.
For example, a dispute between former Lifeway CEO Thom Rainer and Lifeway’s current management and trustees revealed Lifeway paid Rainer over $1,000,000 in severance. Yes, $1,000,000. That’s a lot of money to pay someone who presided over the collapse of Lifeway’s retail business.
Protestia reported the stunning number from a leaked Lifeway trustee memo.
According to the memo, “Dr. Rainer entered into a very lucrative transition agreement that was not disclosed to the board’s compensation and executive committees that would pay him in excess of $1 million.”
The memo continued, “Since his retirement on Feb. 28, 2019, Dr. Rainer has been paid in excess of $1 million plus benefits, not including royalty payments.”
The further details are important to the backstory of Lifeway suing Rainer for breach of contract over his non-compete agreement. However, that isn’t the real story. The real story is the huge dollars paid in severance.
It sparks a host of questions.
If, Lifeway paid over $1,000,000 in severance, then what did Lifeway pay Thom Rainer while CEO?
What does Lifeway pay its current CEO?
What do other Southern Baptist entities pay their CEOs?
Why is it so hard to get this information?
Isn’t transparency the best way to conduct business?
This illustrates all the problems of the current trustee system. The SBC Elites run the SBC for their own benefit—as this shocking severance package illustrates.
And this is Lifeway. One can only imagine the troubles at the North American Mission Board (NAMB) which is engulfed in controversy. The Lifeway situation and the troubles over at NAMB illustrate the necessity of a forensic audit.
If SBC Elites want to restore trust, that is the first step.