KANSAS CITY—Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (MBTS) established a seven-member presidential search committee made up of trustees who are pastors and solidified its commitment to its two top leaders who are now serving in an interim period during its April 16 trustee meeting at an airport hotel.
Bill Bowyer, pastor, Wake Cross Roads Baptist Church, Raleigh, N.C., was named chairman of the search committee. The other members are: Larry Dramman, pastor, East Boulder Baptist Church, Lafayette, Colo; Dwight Blankenship, pastor, Parkway Baptist Church, Creve Coeur; Larry Lewis, pastor, Reidland Baptist Church, Paducah, Ky.; Don Paxton, pastor, Rosedale Baptist Church, Abingdon, Va.; Roger Marshall, pastor, First Baptist Church, Effingham, Ill.; and Kevin Shrum, pastor, Inglewood Baptist Church, Nashville, Tenn.
Shrum came into the meeting as acting trustee chairman. He and MBTS Acting Interim President Robin Hadaway have been serving as the new top duo in leadership since the seminary accepted the Feb. 10 resignations of the previous president, R. Philip Roberts, and the previous chairman, Wayne Lee. In the April 15 affirmations, Shrum was elected chairman, and Hadaway, associate professor of missions, was elected interim president.
Shrum, the 17-year pastor of Inglewood who was elected unopposed, said the desire is for the search committee to recommend a presidential candidate next April for board approval.
“The search team will be regularly contacting the trustees, updating them, I think, on a month-to-month basis,” Shrum said.
Hadaway asked for prayer for the seminary’s report to the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) June 19-20 in New Orleans.
“I think we’ll have a good report,” he said.
Blankenship, the 16-year pastor of Parkway who nominated Shrum to be chairman and was later elected as first vice chairman, prayed for Hadaway’s request.
“As he ministers to (those at the seminary), let him have the gentle touch of Christ,” Blankenship prayed. “And as he stands before the Southern Baptist Convention, let him tell the story of what Christ has done.”
Blankenship’s nomination speech for Shrum included praise for his attention to detail and his Christ-like spirit.
“I have seen him in these meetings to be a peacemaker, and I think that’s what we need to move forward,” Blankenship said.
Anthony Allen, MBTS senior vice president of administration, estimated that
gifts to MBTS this year are around $1.4 million in “a strong spring.” Unrestricted cash on hand is around $1.2 million. About $900,000 is needed to complete the chapel project, hesaid.
“This is our main objective,” he said, noting that “incremental progress” is being made even as plans are being formulated to install flooring and seating in the facility.
Trustees discussed removing the wording from the seminary’s personnel handbook that states, “Any communications initiated by a seminary staff member to the trustee must be approved in advance by the president.” It was referred to the Executive Committee who will also examine the MBTS whistle-blower policy.
The fall meeting of the MBTS Board of Trustees will be in October.
In other business, trustees voted to:
• Renew their commitment to a long-range planning task force;
• Begin the process of amending their bylaws to make the audit committee a standing committee, with the investment portion remaining under the Business Services Committee. This will require another vote by trustees to adopt it, with the intent of promoting transparency and demonstrating good governance, according to the author of the motion, trustee Gene Downing of Edmond, Okla,; and
• Elect Ken Parker, pastor, First Baptist Church, Kearney, as second vice chairman and Judy Crain, member, First Baptist Church, Easton, Md., as secretary/treasurer. Rich Hastings, member, First Baptist Church, Raytown, was elected member at-large.