Frank Page nominated to lead SBC Executive Committee
Search led by First Orlando’s Randall James
May 14, 2010
By JAMES A. SMITH SR.

Related Coverage:

2010 SBC Annual Meeting

ORLANDO (FBW) – Frank Page, immediate past president of the Southern Baptist Convention, will be nominated as the next president of the SBC Executive Committee, search team chairman Randall James announced today in a letter to EC trustees and staff.

James, assistant pastor of First Baptist Church in Orlando and chairman of the EC trustees, said Page is the unanimous choice of the 7-member search committee, after its 7-month search that included 16 recommendations, of which six were finalists before one candidate removed himself from consideration.

Page told Florida Baptist Witness, “I appreciate the prayers of Florida Baptists as I walk through this time of transition and decision. I am deeply humbled and I need your prayers.”

Page, who is vice president of evangelization of the North American Mission Board, added, “I believe we are at a serious, critical juncture of decision and needed unity in the Southern Baptist Convention. We are at a time of increasing negativism and skepticism as our culture looks askance at churches and denominations. We desperately need a convention that looks upon John 17:21 which shows that our unity affects our evangelism.

“I dearly love Florida Baptists and thank them for their prayers,” Page said.

Before joining NAMB’s staff last fall, Page was pastor of First Baptist Church of Taylors, S.C. He is a member of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force.

In a statement to Florida Baptist Witness, James expressed relief the “spiritual pilgrimage” of the search team is complete.

“It has been an arduous journey amid much lobbying, but most importantly, amid obvious movement by the Holy Spirit in our hearts,” James said, citing Prov. 21:1.

James said he was “deeply grateful” to the members of the search committee – Martha Lawley, Doug Melton, Clarence Cooper, David Dykes, Jay Shell and Danny Sinquefield – for “their tireless efforts, wisdom, prayers, and due diligence to learn the will of God.”

James also told the Witness he is “thankful for the prayers and encouragement of our EC members and Southern Baptists across the nation.”

If elected, Page will succeed Morris Chapman who will retire as EC president in September. Page’s nomination will be considered at the EC meeting June 14 in Orlando, the day before the SBC annual meeting.

In a four-page report to EC trustees and staff, the search team said it “sought to be both diligent and deliberate” in its work, which it carried out confidentially.

The team, which met five times in four different cities, was “determined to be objective and not to act out of accommodation or to respond to intimidation,” according to the report, adding that all the members of the search committee “withstood pressures from many.”

Instead, the team “clung to” Gal. 1:10, “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

The selection of Page as the nominee “was wrought out in what became at times a painful conclusion of our journey; but the Holy Spirit successfully brought us to a clear conviction” that he is the man God has “set aside” for the post.

The search team was impressed with Page’s “thorough knowledge” of the SBC, the “innovative way” he led the SBC as president, 2006-2008, and that he is a “man of independent thinking and great strength, who, as a Christian statesman, has demonstrated God-given skills in advancing the Great Commission.”

According to the report, the team met with Page on three occasions. His wife, Dayle, was included in one meeting, and the team “conducted comprehensive research into all aspects” of the nominee’s personal and public life, according with the team’s “ground rules.” The research included “professional examinations covering physical, psychological, professional, corporate skills and personal fitness for office.”

The search team established “ethical and operational procedures” for its work, as well a criteria and a position description for the post.

“As a pastor and denominational leader, Dr. Page has distinguished himself as a man of vision and of diplomacy and of administrative skills,” the report says, noting Page led his last church, First Baptist Taylors, to give 12.3 percent of undesignated receipts through the Cooperative Program, making the church in leader in missions giving in South Carolina. Page’s church also was leader in the state in baptisms, and planted one church each year, including five locally.

“Dr. Page is theologically conservative and has demonstrated his personal commitment to the direction taken by the Southern Baptist Convention theologically and toward a sound, biblical evangelism and missions thrust,” the search team said, adding that Page is “uniquely gifted in Christian diplomacy and statesmanship.”

The search team also reported Page’s results on the “Humanmetrics” test concluded he is “extraverted, intuitive, sensitive feelings and good judgment.”

Page is a “peacemaker and bridge builder – two attributes we desperately need at this time,” according to the search team.

Page received his Masters of Divinity and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, and Bachelors of Science degree from Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, N.C. He was ordained to the Gospel ministry in 1974 by Immanuel Baptist Church in Greensboro, N.C.

Page and his wife are parents to three adult children, one of whom died last year.

In a postscript to his cover letter to EC trustees, James responded to criticism he had received from “several of you” for naming himself chairman of the search team.

Noting that he told the trustees in September when the search team was named that it was “common practice” for the trustee chair to lead a presidential search committee, James said he did not cite examples at the time.

“I did not anticipate the depth of concern to some,” James said.

Attributing the research to Augie Boto, EC vice president and counsel, James noted the past two EC presidential searches were led by the then chairman of the EC trustees.

“I have diligently sought to follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit and at no point have I ever meant to disappoint any of my sister and brother EC members,” James concluded.

Editor’s note: Florida Baptist Witness published an extensive special report about Frank Page in July 2006, shortly after his election as president of the Southern Baptist Convention.
 

Related Coverage:

2010 SBC Annual Meeting

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