Published July 24, 2019
Search committee members for the Kentucky Baptist Convention's executive director-treasurer position found favor in fasting, faith and friendship as they sought God's man the past six months.
"Our goal from the very beginning has been to follow the Lord's leading, seek His wisdom, and be obedient to His calling," said chairman Wes Fowler, the pastor of First Baptist Church in Mayfield. "I can say with both confidence and humility that we believe we have discerned the Lord's will."
The search committee nominated Dr. Todd Gray from a strong list of candidates on July 18. That ended a long process of meetings, fasting, and prayer that started last December following the resignation of Dr. Paul Chitwood, who took a similar position with the International Mission Board.
The KBC Mission Board, made up of representatives from the 2,400 churches, will vote on Gray Thursday morning at the Kentucky Baptist Building.
"Dr. Gray's love for the Lord, passion for evangelism, commitment to the local church, vast experience in Kentucky, and strong work ethic all contributed to our decision," Fowler said. "Although we interviewed many qualified candidates, as deliberations came to an end on June 20, our entire committee expressed support for Dr. Todd Gray."
The 14-member committee drew closer together as the months passed, Fowler said. They were all in one mind on the decision.
"When we first met in December 2018, most of us were barely acquaintances," he said. "Now, as we near the end of this process, we consider ourselves dear friends."
Others on the committee agreed that the process brought them closer.
"Our search committee fasted and prayed several times through this process. At every step the entire committee was driven by pursuing God's will," said committee member Nick Sandefur, the senior pastor of Porter Memorial Baptist in Lexington. "As we thought about what type of candidate we wanted, reviewed resumes and interviewed candidates, God jelled our hearts together and brought us to this point."
Sandefur said the committee "did not have their own interest in mind, but the interest of the convention."
He was encouraged by the willingness of Kentucky Baptists to partner together. "Each team member is a strong leader in KBC life, but throughout the process, team members showed patience and a spirit of humility as we sought the next executive director-treasurer."
Ray Woodie, a committee member and pastor of Coral Hill Baptist in Glasgow, said they sought dependence from the Holy Spirit to grant them wisdom and confirmation on the next EDT.
"While Wes Fowler led our team with godly grace, he allowed the Lord to speak through the collective wisdom of our team," Woodie said. "Remarkably, there was not one person who dominated discussions or sought to persuade the other team members towards their point of view or personal preference. As our team settled on Dr. Gray as our recommendation there was a peace that we had followed the proper protocol and had identified God's man for this hour in the life of Kentucky Baptist."
The process that the committee went through over the past six months was one of learning and growing. It also showed that the churches have great leadership, Woodie said.
"I learned that Kentucky Baptist have great leaders across our commonwealth that genuinely love the Lord, His Word, and His Church," he said. "Whether they were the men and women that I served with, or the potential candidates for the EDT position, the biblical mandate to make disciples with the gospel remains the collective priority of our mission." (KT)
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