I am grateful to the Lord for the opportunity and my fellow pastors for their trust, in electing me to serve as President of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. You can find the article here. I am sincerely humbled that my fellow pastors and members of their churches in a convention of 2,500 churches would select me for this role.
The real question for NEHBC is, what does this mean that our pastor is now also president of the SBTC?
The SBTC is a convention of 2,500+ local churches in Texas, one of which is NEHBC. (We are 2,500 of the 45,000 churches that make up our national convention, the Southern Baptist Convention.) The SBTC has an annual budget of around $27,000,000. We are a convention and not just a network. In a convention, the churches together make the decisions about our priorities and spending. The decisions are made once a year in November when we all send messengers from our churches to gather in a city for a one and half day business meeting. There is a large, full time staff at our headquarters building in Grapevine, Texas, that implements the November decisions and runs the day-to-day operations of the SBTC year round. You can learn about the SBTC here.
There are three separate head positions in our convention: Executive Director, Chairman of the Board, and President. The Executive Director is a full time position. He is responsible for using the staff and finances to implement the vision of our convention of churches. The tenure of the Executive Director is until he resigns, retires, or is fired. The Chairman of the Board leads the Executive Board that acts in similar fashion to the board of a corporation, providing financial and doctrinal oversight of the Executive Director. This is an unpaid position and has term limits. The current Chairman is Dr. David Fleming, Senior Pastor at Champions Forest Baptist Church here in Houston. So then, what does the President do? He is elected by the pastors and churches at large to wield the microphone and pen, to be a face of sorts, for the convention of churches. The presidency is an unpaid position and has term limits of two, one year terms, should he be re-elected again after the first term. The President presides from the stage over the annual one and half day meeting, maintaining order and leading everyone through the agenda. The President communicates to the 2,500 churches at the annual meeting through preaching and then throughout the year via SBTC media, pushing vision, emphases, encouragement, or concerns regarding our joint efforts and trends he sees in our churches. He also appoints the committee that will select the new members of the Executive Board and other oversight committees. He will also represent our convention at a few events. Barring any state wide convention crisis, this will be the extent of the role.
I discussed this opportunity with the NEHBC trustees twelve months ago when I was approached by a group in the SBTC re: the position. And what I shared with our trustees then, I’ll share with you now: this is more an honoring of NEHBC than Nathan Lino, and a tremendous expansion of NEHBC’s influence into a myriad of other local churches. The Lord is ready to expand NEHBC’s reach by grafting some of our DNA into others.