As we all know, our former State Convention Executive Director, Bill Henard, has resigned that position to re-enter the pastorate. Bill did an excellent job during his tenure here in the Mountain State, and we wish him the very best as he assumes his new position in Tenessee and this next chapter of his ministry..
The task of filling the vacancy is a process that begins with the State Convention Administrative Committee. This committee consists of the four elected officers of the State Convention, the Chairperson of the Finance Committee, and two members at large from the Executive Board, elected by the Executive Board. Our State Convention constitution spells out the procedure for filling a vacancy in the position of Executive Director.in Article V, Section 2, Subsection C, Paragraphs (2)a. & b.
The first action of the Administrative Committee was to choose an Interim Director to serve in the office until a new Director is selected by vote of the Executive Board. After some deliberation, the
The Admin Committee recommends 15 people to the Executive Board to serve as a Search Committee to seek out, and make recommendation to the Executive Board, a qualified candidate to serve as State Executive Director. The Search Committee is mandated to be comprised of a Pastor from each Association in the State Convention "and other persons as shall give representation to various areas and interests" of the WVCSB, and "shall be knowledgeable of the Executive Board and the State Convention". The Admin Committee proposed the following individuals who consist of Pastors, an Association Director of Missions, and a Pastor's wife who has previously served on the Executive Board, and who has been very active in State Convention activities in the past.
The Executive Board approved each of the following individuals, with no dissenting votes:
- Allegheny Association - Dallas Smith (FBC Fairlea) and Randy Spurgeon (Anstead Baptist)
- Coalfields Association - Rick Gannon (Borderland Baptist)
- Greater Huntington Association - Paul Harris (Abundant Hope Baptist and State Convention President) and C.J. Adkins (Westmoreland Baptist & 2nd Vice President)
- Immanuel Association - Jim Messenger (Faith Baptist, West Union & State Recording Secretary) and Lynn Sommerville (pasor's wife, Southside Southern Baptist)
- Monongahela Association - Jim Strawderman (Southern Baptist of Philippi) and Don Knotts (Salt and Light Church)
- Mountain State Association - Kevin Howerton (Covenant Church, Princeton)
- Pioneer Association - Mason Ballard (Resurrection Church, Charleston)
- Potomac Highland - Nathan Ertel (Old Fields Baptist & State Convention 1st Vice President)
- Tri-County Association - Bryan Dugger (Westview, Martinsburg)
- Upper Ohio Valley Association - Ed Goodman (UOVA Director of Missions & Jim Higginson (Temple Baptist)
We met for our "organizational meeting" this past Thursday in Flatwoods, WV. By secret ballot, I was chosen chairperson and Ed Goodman as vice chair. We asked Jim Messenger to serve as recording secretary. As I said at the top of this post, this will be my ONLY public communication regarding the make up and the work of our committee, but I want our fellow Baptists to understand what we, as a committee, have discussed and agreed upon as we begin our work.
- We are a Search Committee, NOT a "Hiring Committee". When we complete our work and come to an agreement on a proposed candidate, that individual's name will be forwarded to the Executive Board for their consideration. The Search Committee hires no one.
- Each member of our Committee is one voice among fifteen equals. Each member will be respected by each of the other members and, obviously, their opinions are of equal value.
- We have agreed upon confidentiality until our task is completed. (that is why I say this will be my only public comments on this committee)
- None of us have any personal or hidden agendas. None of us have committed to, or are in support of any potential candidate for the position. Our only agenda is to seek out that individual who God has for West Virginia.
- We have agreed to bathe every activity in prayer, seeking wisdom from God, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
- We are committed to do everything honestly and with transparency of motives, and "by the book" Two of us were privileged to have served on the previous Search Committee and we are committed to the integrity of this committee.
- We will accept resumes for the position for a period of two months, once we officially launch our activities next week.
- A Job Description already exists, and when we meet again in Flatwoods on Thursday, August 22 we will agree upon Qualifications and Characteristics expected of candidates for the position, and we will officially launch our search.
- At that point, Cleve Persinger, in our State Convention office will release the Job Description and Qualifications in various media sources, with directions for submission of resumes
Sadly, at least one person has publicly questioned the appropriateness of our State Convention President serving on the Search Committee due to the fact that his wife is a State Convention office employee. We do not take this accusation lightly, but this should not be a concern due to the following reasons. First, he has been elected for two terms as 2nd Vice President, two terms as 1st VP, and was elected last fall as our State Convention President. His wife being a convention secretary did not exhibit a problem in any of these elections. Secondly, there is nothing in our State Convention Constitution that prohibits the President from serving on the search committee. This is not without precedent. Our last Search Committee (the one which recommended Dr. Henard) included the then serving State Convention President as a member. Finally, consultation has been made with the West Virginia State Ethics Commission, (the public body which oversees ethical questions in our State Government). Their representative advises that due to the fact that this is a Search Committee, and not the entity who will make a hiring decision, that there is no breach of ethics here, nor, under their definition, does this situation equal nepotism. It is customary for search committees to consist of individuals from various segments of communities, including persons who may serve under the individual who may be recommended for hiring.
So, having said all this, please know that we take this responsibility very seriously, with malice toward none, no agendas at hand, and committed to integrity to the task, let me ask every church in West Virginia, and every individual to join us in prayer, that God would lead us and we will be attuned to the guidance of His Spirit.