The Uncooperative Cooperative

 

In the Baptist Press on November 15th, 2015,  Dr. Kevin Ezell stated that "Two years ago we began offering non-southern state convention partners a 100 percent plan... All but one of our non-South state partners are on board or are in the process of adopting this plan."  That "100%" plan involved state conventions signing Strategic Partnerships that would strip away the church planting autonomy and missionary supervision from State Conventions and hand it over to NAMB.

 

But what happened when State Conventions said, no?

 

NAMB has forced it's will upon state conventions it believes it can bully. Below are the primary methods that appear to have been used.

 

 

When discussing the relationship between NAMB and State Conventions Dr. Kevin Ezell wrote in the Baptist Press on November 15, 2015 that, "We ... provide certain convention staff positions and church planting catalysts." However, NAMB is starting to pay for an increasing number of different types of positions.

 

Below are two reported cases.  More will be added as more information and documentation is received.

 

West Virginia

A board member reported that NAMB offered to pay for their new State Executive, only as long as Dr. Ezell got to pick who it was.

 

California

A former NAMB staffer reported that NAMB offered to pay the salaries of both the State Executive, the DOM, and for leaders of a joint association of two groups in the Los Angeles area only if Dr. Ezell was able to hand pick the leaders.

 

(Situations in other state conventions are currently being investigated.  This list will be updated as information is received.)

NAMB receives contributions from SBC churches every year to take that money and strategically reach North America.  NAMB has actually used those donations to interfere with or seize power from SBC State Conventions.  The pattern is clear:

 

  1. Leaders who will not bend a knee to Dr. Ezell are wrongfully forced-out and replaced by Dr. Ezell yes-men.
  2. The (newly taken over) State Convention signs a new strategic partnership and Non-Disclosure Agreement, giving church planting control to NAMB.
  3. The new State Convention leader  pledges more money to go to NAMB.

 

How do they do this?  Primarily in two ways...

 

Weaponizing Funds

The SBC can validly use threats to defund or remove conventions when those Conventions are operating in clear opposition to Biblical teachings, such as in the case of the DC Convention recently.  However NAMB has used this tactic and others to threaten non-southern State Conventions that refused to sign a new Strategic Partnership that violated the convention's autonomy stripped State Conventions of church planting strategy and handed it 100% to NAMB.

 

Below is a list of cases.  We will continue to update this list.

 

Baptist State Convention of Michigan 2014

Case: State Executive, Dr. Bobby Gilstrap, refused to let NAMB take control of church planting

NAMB Response: Threatened to end all funding for Baptist State Convention of Michigan unless Dr. Gillstrap was removed.

Result: In 2015, Dr. Gilstrap  was removed and and replaced by Tim Patterson. Patterson was a current NAMB staff member at the time and was a former NAMB Trustee Chair who had also served on the presidential search committee that recommended Dr. Kevin Ezell for NAMB President. One year later, in 2016, the Baptist State Convention of Michigan pledged a higher percentage to go to the cooperative program.

 

Mid-Atlantic Convention 2015

Case: State Executive, Dr. Will McRaney, refused to let NAMB take control of church planting.

NAMB Response: Threatened to end all funding for the MidAtlantic Convention, unless Dr. McRaney was removed. You can access the letter NAMB sent to the Mid-Atlantic Convention along with many others documents here.

Result: After previously having unanimous support in his stance, the State Exec is is removed and NAMB immediately removes the threat and pledges to increase their funding $674,000 in 2016 and $850,000 in 2017. Bill Warren takes the lead of the Mid-Atlantic Convention and increases the percentage of cooperative giving.  Interestingly the Mid-Atlantic Convention receives an additional 25% in church planting funds from NAMB when Kevin Smith is selected to replace Dr McRaney as the executive director.  Kevin Smith served at Highview Baptist Church where Kevin Ezell was senior pastor.

 

California, Illinois, Ohio, New Mexico Conventions 2015

Case: State Executives initially refused to to sign away 100% of church planting strategy to NAMB.

NAMB's Response: Threatened to remove healthcare for jointly funded staff.

Result: State Executives capitulated to save health insurance for jointly funded staff and signed NDAs.

 

Northwest Baptist Convention 2015

Case: State Executive, Dr. Randy Adams, refused to to sign away 100% of church planting strategy to NAMB.

NAMB's Response: Threatened to remove healthcare for jointly funded staff.

Result: NAMB removed the healthcare for those positions, however the Northwest Baptist Convention did not give in  and they  maintained autonomy over church planting. The previously jointly funded staff lost funding for healthcare from NAMB.

Abuse of Power

Weaponizing Funds

Buying State Leadership

Buying State Leadership