3. Evaluating SBC Executive Compensation

April 22, 2016

Dr. Rick Patrick | Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church, Sylacauga, AL

Every other year, Southern Baptists produce a compensation study for the benefit of church personnel committees seeking to pay an equitable wage to their ministers, support staff and custodial workers. However, currently, no such study exists to report the compensation of our Southern Baptist executives. This lack of accountability deserves an immediate remedy.

Why do average Southern Baptists need to know these salaries? In recent years, every other aspect of our financial stewardship has come under intense scrutiny. We have discussed the need for greater individual gifts, church gifts and state convention gifts, engaging in a full-blown effort to send more money to the nations through our various mission funding channels.

The implementation of GCR-related strategies at both IMB and NAMB have resulted in hundreds of layoffs through downsizing measures. Similarly, within state conventions, spending has been slashed not only to balance budgets, but also to forward greater amounts through our national and international mission boards. In the context of such enormous financial sacrifices, we must examine whether or not our denominational executives are partnering with us in applying these belt tightening measures.

Stewardship of Offering Plate Money (OPM)

Occasionally, one hears the argument that only CP receiving institutions are responsible to Southern Baptists for their financial stewardship. In other words, the claim is made that since LifeWay and Guidestone operate as businesses and do not receive CP funding, they are somehow exempt from the usual rules of accountability. But why would we ever expect them to receive CP funds in the first place when they are not missions organizations or educational institutions? Southern Baptists simply fund them through different channels of support.

Through various church budget line items distributing Offering Plate Money (OPM), average Southern Baptists are responsible for funding all SBC executive salaries. Church Missions Budget line items provide the Cooperative Program funding source for IMB, NAMB, ERLC, all six of our seminaries and the Executive Committee. Church Education Budget line items provide the funding source for the majority of LifeWay’s income. Church Personnel Budget line items provide the funding source for Guidestone’s income. Thus, all of our entities are accountable to Southern Baptists for their responsible stewardship of OPM.

SBC Entity to Business Comparables Inadequate

In some cases, the organizations owned by all Southern Baptists boast of multi-million dollar budgets. Paying the executives of these organizations on the basis of comparable responsibilities in the business world or among other non-profit organizations may not represent the best possible comparison. Business models generally credit the executive with producing profits, just as non-profits credit the executive with fund-raising efforts. But in the case of denominationally loyal churches contributing through LifeWay and Guidestone, the donations are not coming in based on the name of the executive in office. Rather, Southern Baptists have grown habitually accustomed to supporting these organizations over many years. Should we really pay these executives like businessmen? Or should we pay them like ministers handling denominational administration?

Setting a POTUS Cap on SBC Executive Compensation

While this proposed cap is admittedly arbitrary, I do not believe we should compensate any Southern Baptist Executive, whose salary derives from the OPM of all Southern Baptist Churches, at a level higher than that of the President of the United States.

Obviously, individual churches would be free to exceed such a cap, since they are only accountable to their own individual church members. But when it comes to positions funded by all Southern Baptists pooling our resources together, I believe it is reasonable that we not compensate anyone more highly than the President, who earns a salary of $400,000 per year plus $169,000 for various expense accounts, totaling $569,000.

Presently, I am fairly certain that at least two or three of our entity Executives are being compensated at a higher level than the President of the United States. If anyone would like to help me explain these truths to the women in our WMU circles collecting coins in baby bottles to support missions, I would love to hear your most articulate defense and would be more than happy to read them your letter out loud.

Transparency Agenda Survey Results

In a recent poll of SBC Today readers, we asked Southern Baptists to indicate if they “approved” or “disapproved” of the idea that we “Disclose the compensation for our entity executives.” With 177 respondents, 76.84% approved of such disclosure. Why not give Southern Baptists the information necessary to evaluate our stewardship of resources at the top end of the pay scale within organizations we mutually support through our offering plate money?

Q3

This article addresses Item Three of the Ten Item Transparency Agenda. You may READ the Transparency Agenda or COMPLETE the survey yourself. To read the articles reporting results from the other survey items, see the links below: 

ITEM ONE 

ITEM TWO

ITEM FOUR

ITEM FIVE

ITEM SIX

ITEM SEVEN

ITEM EIGHT

ITEM NINE

ITEM TEN

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Tom

Rick:

In light of the fact of over 1,000 missionaries being called home these salaries of executives should be published immediately. I think some in the SBC think that churches and individuals will just continue to fund the CP as in days past. I do not think that is going to be the case.

Andy

Hi rick, 2 questions from this statement: “Presently, I am fairly certain that at least two or three of our entity Executives are being compensated at a higher level than the President of the United States. If anyone would like to help me explain these truths to the women in our WMU circles collecting coins in baby bottles to support missions…”

1. How are you “fairly certain” of their salaries when those salaries have not been released?

2. IF a few executive salaries+expense accounts were moved from $600k-$700k to to $569k, do you think that would make a large enough difference?

    Rick Patrick

    1. Two different sources informed me independently that at least two of the entity executive salary packages (pay, benefits and expenses) were higher than the $569,000 POTUS amount. One had an informant who served on a Board and thus signed a confidentiality agreement, but evidently leaked the information anyway. You know how it goes: “I’ll tell you if you promise not to tell anyone else.” That never really works. It’s like the quote I read the other day: “I don’t like to spread gossip, but what else can you do with it?” By not releasing those salaries, and by requiring confidentiality agreements, SBC leaders force those who would hold leadership accountable to speculate and receive information second hand. If someone complains, “You’re gossiping,” my response will be, “Publish the information openly and no one will be forced to gossip about it, because it won’t be gossip anymore whenever you stop hiding important information we are all entitled to receive.”

    2. Yes. Although I think your estimates may even be a bit low, I think it can truly make a significant difference if we establish a cap. Let us assume that by adjusting all of the executive salaries, we are able to save up to $500,000 per year combined. Let us further assume that we do this for ten years. That’s five million dollars worth of missions money. That might support up to ten missionaries reaching the nations for a decade. Is that worth making the change to allow for greater accountability? Again, my answer is, “Yes.”

      Lydia

      Rick, why would the compensation for these religious non profit execs be confidential? It does not make sense from an ethical and moral pov. How did such a policy come about? Who decides the compensation?

        Rick Patrick

        I think the compensation is set by each autonomous Board, with Board Members signing confidentiality agreements afterward. Oddly, the trustees are supposed to be looking out for the interests of the convention, but they are signing confidentiality agreements preventing them from adequately reporting to the very people who have placed in them our trust. It’s really kind of backwards in a way—most of the trustees think they are accountable to the entity leaders while they are actually accountable to US for their role in holding the entity leader accountable. Lines of loyalty, accountability and authority have been turned upside down, IMO.

          Lydia

          It is not as easy as folks think to find out who are trustees. How would a pew peon who pays for these ridiculous salaries find this information without going the bureaucratic maze route where they play games?

          Max

          “… the compensation is set by each autonomous Board, with Board Members signing confidentiality agreements afterward …”

          Another point for the WMU ladies to consider! Personally, I see nothing in the resumes of top SBC leaders that would justify them making more than the President of the United States. The SBC is floundering on many fronts; just how good are these leaders who are drawing big bucks?! Confidentiality agreements for executive compensation may have a place in corporate America, where salaries flow with profits generated by effective leadership. They have no place in the Church of the living God where funds are generated by sacrificial giving from the Body of Christ. It is not wrong to ask for financial transparency and accountability where funds are channeled from the bottom-up … which have been dropped into thousands of offering plates, from little paper church-house piggy banks of children, and the widow’s mite.

Scott Shaver

Rick does his homework, no doubt, but I’m still shocked at the suspected albeit unconfirmed estimate of 1/2 million in compensation to these guys.

No way any of them are worth that kind of money…..especially with career missionaries being turned loose and sent home. I don’t know any upper level petroleum engineers or geologists approaching the suspected figures

norm

Whether it’s still true I don’t know, but in times past (pre-Frank Page), members of the SBC Executive Committee were not told what SBC president/ceo’s salary was. They could find out if they really wanted to know, but they had to sign legally-binding, non-disclosure agreements.

Unless the president/ceo’s salary structure or compensation methodology has changed, then I find this verbiage exceedingly perplexing. It is copied verbatim from a Baptist Press “first-person” article dated Sept. 10, 2007.
http://www.bpnews.net/26408/the-sbc-presidents-pay

TAYLORS, S.C. (BP)–Recently, Jack Wilkerson, the Executive Committee’s vice president for business and finance, sent me his well-worded reply to a request for information from a dear brother in our convention. This brother was seeking information on the salary of the president of the Southern Baptist Convention, as well as others.

When I read the request as well as the reply, my first response was to chuckle. It seems, across our nation, there are many people who believe that the SBC president is a salaried position or at least a position with a large stipend attached to it.

The reality is, as Jack Wilkerson informed this dear brother, that the president of the SBC serves without salary compensation. He does receive travel reimbursement for actual expenses, but no salary from the Executive Committee or the Southern Baptist Convention.

==============

BTW, Rick: OPM = offering plate money. Clever!

    Andy

    I believe Rick is speaking more of executives…those whose position continues year to year: Entity heads, president of the Executive committee, etc…as opposed to president of the sbc, which changes every 2 years.

    Scott Shaver

    Would be interesting to see Ronnie Floyd’s tenure travel expenses. May already be available for access for all I know.

      Scott Shaver

      Convenient way for megachurch pastors to draw free publicity and promote their brands while traveling and lodging free of charge if the system is abused.

    Scott Shaver

    “Trustees” of agency heads as opposed to “Trustees” of “the convention”

    Max

    “It seems, across our nation, there are many people who believe that the SBC president is a salaried position or at least a position with a large stipend attached to it.”

    Being “President” of the largest Protestant denomination in America certainly would imply to a watching world that he would be compensated for such a distinguished position. They don’t know that this position is merely a figure head, whose face changes every 2-4 years. Neither do they realize that such folks are put in place by annual convention messengers who think they have some say in denominational affairs by simply casting a theo-political vote. The real movers & shakers are those that have confidential compensation packages who daily grind out decisions, which may or may not be in tune with the wishes of millions of SBC members across the country. Are there other denominations which have token Presidents, while others actually lead? I can’t think of any.

Lydia

“Rather, Southern Baptists have grown habitually accustomed to supporting these organizations over many years. Should we really pay these executives like businessmen? Or should we pay them like ministers handling denominational administration?”

I blame guys like Peter Drucker who were very effective apostles for the ridiculous rise of nonprofit compensation. It did not take long for churches and the rising para Church Ministries to jump on board. What used to be seen as a calling and a sacrifice is now a career path trajectory. This has become The New Normal.

Mega churches hire expensive Consultants who use the business compensation model. For some reason people tend to ignore the obvious and are impressed the shiny Consultants have done what they claim is due diligence never questioning the premise or mapping it to Jesus and his body. Seems as if some of them don’t even need the Consultants anymore.

One has to wonder why we wouldn’t start with the average income of the city they are in. Because it is much too low for great man of God even though that is how most of the peasants live?

What happened to “Radical”? Why not just go with “God wants me to be rich’ off your hard-earned money. So give more so we can keep more lower paid missionaries.

This is what passes for logic in Christendom these days

    norm

    There is still a calling, Lydia. But the ‘Benjamins’ seem to call louder than any other Voice.

      Scott Shaver

      Norm:

      I’m afraid you are correct about the voice of Benjamin. They have a propensity, if you’ve noticed, to NAME THEIR ESTATES.

      Obviously the period of British abolition/pre-American revolution contain their most revered heroes. Talk about your throw-backs to the past! :)

Ron Vigus

What would you do with the information?

    Rick Patrick

    Ron,

    Good question. First, along with other Southern Baptists, I would analyze and evaluate it—a step no one can take right now since the information is not being made available. Second, I would prayerfully consider whether all of the compensation terms represent the best exercise of financial stewardship in the interest of the Southern Baptist Convention. Third, I would identify targets that may need to be adjusted in some way, such as the POTUS cap mentioned in the article. And fourth, I would consider proposing an approach to bring compensation in line over time, possibly (a) during the next position vacancy, or (b) by means of either a gradual or one time compensation adjustment for certain executive positions.

    No one can take any action on the basis of information that is never provided. My first appeal in this Transparency Agenda is that we stop keeping so many secrets. Once matters are brought into the light, they can then be addressed appropriately.

    Lydia

    Ron, just making this public is a good step. If the SBC pew peon that pays for this wants a secretive closed system and wants to pay to be kept ignorant, there isn’t much else to be done. People vote their freedom of choice away all the time now. It is the new normal. I am hoping education and transparency turns the tide,

Ken

Amen! Rick

Ken

Anyone who thinks that the SBC agency heads and their boards and committees will voluntarily become free and open with information about all their personnel and activities is living in a dream world. For instance, just try to introduce an item of business at the annual convention and see how far you get. Almost every proposal is rejected using some flimsy excuse by the chairman or ruled out of order by the rules committee. In my opinion, every motion should be accepted, discussed, and voted upon by the convention delegates. Good luck with that happening.

The only way to make them subject to the will of the membership is to cut out their means of survival. I have personally taken that step, although that in itself seems to be out of step with the trend in the SBC. About a year ago, disgusted with the affairs in the SBC and my local church, I designated my church offerings to the IMB; my thinking at the time being that it was the entity the least tainted by the false Calvinist theology. However, with the appointment of Platt and clearer information on the personnel and actions of the IMB, I am now searching for a Christian evangelistic program outside the SBC to receive my contributions.

I understand that that approach will offend many who will claim that it will ruin the evangelistic outreach of the SBC and tarnish the claim of being “Great Commission Baptists.” Now the attention to social needs of the poor is certainly something that Jesus directed Christians to do, and missions programs providing such as food, clothing, medical care, housing, even psychological assistance, are necessary Christian outreaches. Nevertheless, Jesus’ Great Commission was that the gospel be preached to everyone in the world and didn’t address social issues; therefore, evangelism must be the main thrust of any evangelistic outreach.

Unfortunately, a Calvinist missionary cannot present the true gospel message of salvation (that is, anyone who believes in Jesus will be saved) to the world seeing that that missionary believes that the decision concerning eternal life or damnation was made for them by God before the foundation of the world. So, I would rather see one Traditionalist Missionary in the field preaching the true Great Commission gospel than 100 Calvinists preaching a false gospel.

For instance, I worked for 22 years in a state budget department and can tell you that the salary and benefits of every state employee was listed in the annual state budget for the world to see, without exception, and that means from the Governor to the lowest salaried employee. And, I have been a member of only two churches in my 68 years as a Christian and can also say that the salaries and benefits of every single employee in that church were reflected in the church budget, including the pastors and staff.

Although I feel that the money angle will be the only thing that will work effectively to bring the SBC entities and officers to face reality, it would also help to have a Convention President in the mold of Adrian Rogers who had the backbone to fill the boards and committees with Traditional Christians to effect the turn-away of the liberals. Of course, he had the added advantage of having the liberals, who could see the handwriting on the wall, withdraw from the SBC. Ironically, they called themselves the “Conservative Convention.” Of course it is going to be more difficult, probably impossible, to make hay of the Calvinists because of the actions of Fred Luter and Frank Page to surrender the Convention to the Calvinists. My personal opinion is that it is too late, the horses are out of the barn, and the Southern Baptist Convention is quickly becoming the Calvinist Baptist Convention with the appointment of men such as Platt, Ezell, and Moore as department heads, who have already begun to saturate their agencies with Calvinists or Calvinist sympathizers.

Rick, I know of your frustration trying to see through the barrier to an open convention. But I sense that talking about it will never bring results. Actions are necessary. A man of your caliber – with tenacity and courage, as well as a love for the old SBC – is needed to head such actions and move quickly to purge the SBC boards and committees and agency heads. Believe me, it is going to take a revolution like the Conservative Resurgence to accomplish the task, although I repeat, I’m not sure the SBC as we have known it, I for over 60 years, is recoverable.

    Tom

    Ken another CR will not cure the current SBC ills. The mindset of the CR is what put us in the current position.
    We do not need another CR!

      Ken

      Tom:

      You wrote, “Ken another CR will not cure the current SBC ills. The mindset of the CR is what put us in the current position.
      We do not need another CR!

      Sorry but I have to disagree with you on all counts. I don’t know your age but I lived through the terrible seventies when many churches were threatening to withdraw from the SBC (and some did) because of the liberal takeover attempt. In fact, I fought my pastor and deacons tooth and nail and encouraged the church to disapprove their withdrawal motion. Ironically, if the same motion were to be presented today I would be the first to stand in support of it.

      You mentioned that there are ills in the SBC. Would you describe what you think they are? Do you think they are correctable? If not why? If yes, what are the steps that can be taken to solve them?

      I’m not attempting to be argumentative, just trying to understand your positions.

      Thanks

        Tom Parker

        Ken:
        What liberal takeover of the SBC? I remember well the Fundamentalist taking over the SBC that I loved so very dearly and have watched the SBC implode since then–the recent recalling of over 1,000 missionaries without a single consequence for any SBC leader.

        I like you am not looking for an argument. My mind is already made up about the CR.

        Scott Shaver

        Ken: Your testimony about the “seventies” makes you an ORIGINAL!

        One of the “originals” who drank the kool-aid of Patterson, Pressler and Mohler from the beginning.

        Look at what it’s accomplished………sad.

          Tom

          But, Scott he want another CR! Unbelievable.

            Scott Shaver

            How can you have another CR, Tom, when it turns out the “C” to the R wasn’t so “conservative” to begin with?

            Proof in the track record and the hodge-podge “reformed-Southern Baptist” mix of doctrinal and interpretive quirks with the attendant loss/disparagement of baptist distinctives. Add less-than-“conservative” approaches to fiscal management to that and you’ll have a hard-time distinguishing the “conservatives” from the “liberals” next go round because there aren’t any landmarks of identification.

              Tom

              Scott:

              Many of the leaders in the SBC will never admit it– the SBC is sinking quickly into oblivion. The CR failed miserably.

                Scott Shaver

                Tom:

                Look at the bright side……at least we (SBC) keep the nation laughing and unbelievers shaking their heads while “sinking”.

                Laughter is good medicine for weary hearts.

                  Tom

                  Scott: It is “laughable” what the FUNDAMENTALISTS have done to destroy a once great organization and with little to no accountability. But they sure got rid of the “liberals.”

          Ken

          Tom Parker and Scott Shaver:

          Tom Parker wrote, “Ken: What liberal takeover of the SBC? I remember well the Fundamentalist taking over the SBC that I loved so very dearly and have watched the SBC implode since then–the recent recalling of over 1,000 missionaries without a single consequence for any SBC leader.
          I like you am not looking for an argument. My mind is already made up about the CR.”

          Scott Shaver wrote: Ken: Your testimony about the “seventies” makes you an ORIGINAL!
          One of the “originals” who drank the kool-aid of Patterson, Pressler and Mohler from the beginning.
          Look at what it’s accomplished………sad.”

          Anyone who has read any of my postings on this blog will know that I did not drink anyone’s kool aid. In fact I have always held the gentlemen whom you named in total disgust and disdain. They represent everything I detest about religious beliefs. Adrian Rogers is the one to whom I assign great respect, a man who had the courage and intestinal fortitude to reshape the boards and committees of the convention to thwart the liberal takeover attempt..

          I often think about what the SBC would have become if it had not been for the courage of people like Adrian Rogers who spearheaded the Conservative Resurgence. True, the benefits quickly degenerated into what we have today, especially under the politically correct atmosphere created by Frank Page and Fred Luter. But, look on the bright side, at least it resulted in Jimmy Carter and his minions leaving the SBC. That was a tremendous advantage.

          Of course, from your comments it appears that you two guys would much prefer a SBC engaged in praying to “mother god” as the CBF liberals did and desecrating the Word of God, same as we see with the Calvinism so rampant today

          Believe me, I am not defending the current state of the SBC. In fact, about two years ago I renounced my affiliation with the SBC, although I still attend a SBC affiliated church, but I am still clinging to a hope that it will return to its former state, the prior to the CR state even, if you wish. At my advanced age admittedly that is a very remote possibility but with God nothing is impossible.

          Meanwhile, I won’t resort to insults as you have chosen to do. I have always said that every man is entitled to his opinions no matter how wrong they are. Mutual respect goes a long way in debating issues. I have never hesitated to stand up for God and His Word and pray that I will never cease doing that even though many times I have had to stand alone.

          So, it would be interesting if you would present your views as to how to reclaim the former glory of the SBC instead of just criticizing my beliefs and reasonings.

            Dennis Lee Dabney

            Brother Ken,

            I was hoping you would give me enough time to run out and get a large bucket of popcorn, extra butter of course, some Goobers and a large Pepsi before you responded to those comments.
            Lol

              Ken

              Dennis Lee Dabney:

              Sorry to rain on your snack feast but I have decided that it is impossible to carry on an intelligent discussion with people who are incapable of doing so.

              Have a great day in The Lord.

                Tom

                Ken: “Bless your heart.” Please continue on in your state of delusion.

            Tom Parker

            Ken; You said:”But, look on the bright side, at least it resulted in Jimmy Carter and his minions leaving the SBC. That was a tremendous advantage.”

            If you want to know what a minion is–it is not a Jimmy Carter. Sadly there continue to be CR minions who support the failed CR.

            BTW it is mighty pious of you to think you are standing alone for God, but that is part of the CR mentality.

            Tom

            Ken said:”Adrian Rogers is the one to whom I assign great respect, a man who had the courage and intestinal fortitude to reshape the boards and committees of the convention to thwart the liberal takeover attempt..”

            He may be your hero, but for many people that is a name that will be associated with the destruction of a great denomination and the uncalled for ruination of many people’s lives.

            I will say again you have it backwards there was no liberal takeover attempt–it was and is the FUNDAMENTALIST TAKEOVER!!

            Scott Shaver

            That’s a very strange mental disconnect (at the risk of sounding “insulting”) to “stand-alone” Ken.

            You can’t be a fan of Adrian Rogers without also appreciating the shyster modus operandus of Patterson, Pressler and Mohler as they were on the same team with Adrian.

            As for me “praying to Mother-God”……you’re out of your mind.

            You’re standing alone alright…….in a sea of obvious confusion. As for ideas about “recapturing SBC glory”. I have no illusions of being able to put spilled milk back in into its original container…..ICHABOD.

              Tom

              Scott: ICHABOD is an apt descriptor for the current SBC.

            Dennis Lee Dabney

            Ken,

            If so-called Fundamentalism has sunk the largest Baptist denomination in the world.

            I wonder what the second largest Baptist denomination in the world hit in the water back in the late 70’s early 80’s. It sure wasn’t FUNDAMENTALISM. I can assure you of that.

            I submit unto you that both Fellow “Ships” hit exactly what Some on board were AIMING FOR.

            Ship 2, the well educated Progressives rode the civil rights movement like a Sway back mule right into what they were looking at, right into what they were aiming for.

            Brother don’t think for one moment this was done in order to sink the Vessels. Oh no my friend.

            It was done to prove that the Vessels would not sink in spite of all of the warnings from the Word of God by the men of God.

            Preach!

    Ron

    “Unfortunately, a Calvinist missionary cannot present the true gospel message of salvation (that is, anyone who believes in Jesus will be saved) to the world …”

    I’ sorry, but that’s just not true. Surely you meant to say something else?

      Christian

      Oh yes, they actually believe that anyone who believes in Jesus will be saved. They just believe only the elect will believe. Start reading their statements of beliefs on these church’s websites. They use very nuanced language. I would say, “It’s tricky!”

        Andrew Barker

        Christian: I would agree with the ‘tricky’ language statement. This is exactly how Piper’s phrases his ‘anybody gospel’ although of course he won’t refer to it as that. The true Gospel is on the basis of “whosoever will”. Whereas the Piper gospel is ‘anybody (who is enabled to will) must’. There is a world of difference.

          Christian

          Yes, and who was the first entity in the Bible to use nuanced language?

            Scott Shaver

            Stoics and Gnostics if I’m not mistaken Christian. I would guess Babylonians in OT.

              Christian

              No, no Satan. He used nuanced language while speaking to Eve to deceive her.

              Christian

              No, no, it was Satan. Remember he used nuanced language to deceive Eve?11

                Scott Shaver

                That’s not at all the question you asked Christian. I didn’t realize Satan was an “entity”…. I thought he was the real personal embodiment of evil and rebellion against God.

                No worries…..have it your way. I fail to see, however, what your point has to do with the price of eggs in China

                  Scott Shaver

                  You are correct Christian.

                  “Entity” is synonymous with either collective or personal individuals.

                  Apologize for my dullness as I now understand your point…..and well-taken.

        Ron

        “Oh yes, they actually believe that anyone who believes in Jesus will be saved. They just believe only the elect will believe. ”
        ———-
        True, but how does that make Men’s statement correct? Should he have been a little more “nuanced” making a correct statement?

      Scott Shaver

      Even if he did mean “something else”…..in modern times, current denominational context, and NAMB, he (Ron) is batting as well as Rush Limbaugh’s trademark 97.8 percent of the time. Will have to roll with the odds.

      Bill Mac

      Ron: If you look at Ken’s other comments, you’ll see that he said exactly what he meant. In many ways he is one of the most honest commenters on this site.

        Scott Shaver

        Your pseudo piety is always refreshing Bill Mac.

          Lydia

          Scott, I think it is that ” sanctified testosterone” their gurus were handing out at T4G. Did you see the bizarre tweets from Owen Strachen and Jason Allen? It is bizzarro world in the Neo Cal SBC!

            Scott Shaver

            Lydia:

            “Sanctified testosterone” and “psuedo-piety” are certainly compatible and complimentary.

            Add a rap video by William Thornton and you’ve got the whole ball of wax rolling downhill like a snowball headed for ……

      Ken

      Ron:

      You wrote, “Unfortunately, a Calvinist missionary cannot present the true gospel message of salvation (that is, anyone who believes in Jesus will be saved) to the world …”

      I’ sorry, but that’s just not true. Surely you meant to say something else?”

      If you can assure me that a Calvinist can and will tell every person with whom he ever comes in contact that he will be saved if he repents and confesses Jesus as his Savior without any pre-intercession or selection by God to do so , then I will admit I am wrong.

        Ron

        without any pre-intercession or selection by God to do so , then I will admit I am wrong.
        ————
        Now you’ve changed your statement.
        Are you now saying that Whitefield, Surgeon, the Bonar bros, Carey, Nettleton, Edwards, Darby, Chafer and many more did not preach the true gospel because they believed in unconditional election?

          Chris

          “That he will be saved if he repents and confesses Jesus as his Savior”

          That sounds like the gospel. A Calvinist can say that.

          “without any pre-intercession or selection by God to do so”

          This sounds like something you have added to the gospel. Did you have record of the Apostles speaking this way in Scripture?

          I can assure you that Calvinists will preach the gospel to all and encourage everyone to repent of sin and trust in Jesus.

        Chris

        Ron,

        This is a serious accusation to make against Calvinists. Paul has hard words in Galatians 1 for those who present a false gospel.

        Calvinists do preach that “anyone who believes in Jesus will be saved.” By your first standard, they are preaching the true gospel.

        Then you speak of God making a choice for them to be saved or not saved before the world began, that’s not what Calvinists strictly believe. Calvinists do not believe people at some point were neutral and then God decided they would be good or bad. Everyone starts against God. God graciously chooses to save some. Calvinists can boldly proclaim that Christ has died and been risen so that anyone who repents of their sins and trusts in Christ will be saved. Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved. Your problem is with how we answer the question why the person called on their Lord.

        Finally, we don’t believe that God is making choices for a person so that the person does not themselves choose. We believe both are true. Every Sunday my pastor preaches the gospel and indiscriminately calls people to repent and believe.

          Ron

          Chris, I was answering Ken. Sorry if that wasn’t clear. I don’t disagree with what you said.

            Chris

            Sorry, Ron.

            I should have directed my comments at Ken. My mistake.

        Les

        Ken said, “If you can assure me…”

        Thankfully we don’t have to assure Ken of anything to be faithful to God in preaching the gospel. There have always been and will always be some who would add to the biblical gospel as Ken has done here.

Ron Vigus

Rick,

The items you mentioned are important functions but aren’t they some of the key responsibilities of the Board’s of these agencies?

    Rick Patrick

    Ron,
    I believe the Trustee selection and training process is broken and in need of reform. Theoretically, if the Trustees viewed themselves as accountable to Church Leaders and Messengers such as myself, then yes, it would be fine to turn these matters of oversight over to the trustees as they share openly with me any answers to any questions I might have. But if instead they are signing confidentiality agreements and keeping matters from the churches and messengers, then the trustees have become pawns and rubber stamps of the entity leaders who treat them like royalty at fancy Board Retreats. If this is the case, then we have a serious problem, and the only way I can see that we can resolve it is for churches to re-establish our authority over both the trustees and the agencies that we financially support.

      Scott Shaver

      Rick:

      I honestly wonder of there was not a lab-experiment mentality behind aforementioned “gag orders”. Seems like of we had “experiments” going on with “SBC” North American mission efforts etc, the “think-tank” would have wanted at least a decade to test their hypotheses relying upon biased CR data. Not to mention any compensation packages, perks, or outside speaking engagements and 5013C arrangements (fat of the land) accumulated prior to parachute time.

      Being Southern Baptist predisposes me to skepticism.

Ken

Ron Vigus:

Forgive me for butting into your exchange with Rick but I just felt compelled to add my two cents to the discussion.

You are certainly right about the responsibilities of the boards and committees. But, IMO, the current problems with the likes of Floyd, Platt, Moore and Izell can be laid at the feet of their respective boards. That is why I suggested in my previous post that the SBC needs a president with the courage and strength of Adrian Rogers to restructure these units and get the SBC back on track.

Dave Marrandette

I have not been an SBC pastor for long (about a year and a half) although my wife & I have been members of many SBC churches as we moved. On the other hand I am not a fresh-out-of-seminary 25-year old. I’ve had a career in the military and then a career in the golf world. Then God opened the doors to the ministry.

For what it’s worth, here’s my take on the situation. It appears there are two separate state of affairs – a structural problem and an ethical problem. The first, I believe, leads to the second. The SBC has become a spaghetti bowl of organization(s). And since we’re talking about budget and compensation and money, just step back and look at it from a distance. Designated Funds, CP, OPM, Lottie Moon, Annie Armstrong, Ray Roberts, SCBO, SBA and a couple of others in the acronym world. It’s virtually impossible for a pastor, let alone a church member, to figure this out. Most folks don’t have the slightest idea where their money goes. They just want to keep the church doors open and give to what they believe is missions. They give because they love the Lord. Because of the nefarious organizational entanglement, the financial morass has been manipulated and massaged to the point where financial deceit is easy and invited (1 Timothy 6.10).

All that leads to the second – an ethical problem. Is it not the funds of our members which compensate the executives of the SBC? If so, then why would any salary or compensation be held in secret? This is the Lord’s work. Only dark deeds are done in dark places. Should not the business affairs at the top levels of the SBC be conducted out in the open just like the business affairs of the local church? When we have a business meeting in our local fellowship, everyone can see where every penny goes and if they have a question or concern, they have the right to an explanation. If it’s good enough for the local church (which is biblical), it should be good enough for a massive missionary organization (which is a stretch biblically).

Jim G.

Hi Rick,

All six SBC seminaries are accredited by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS). The ATS publishes data tables that can be found on their website (www.ats.edu) on member institutions, including compensation of employees. The compensation of seminary CEOs is not listed by school, but we can arrive at some relevant ballpark data.

In table 3.10A for the 2014-15 year, there are 6 seminaries with a full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollment of over 1000 students. Of those 6, 3 are SBC seminaries (SBTS, SEBTS, SWBTS). Looking at the reported figures for CEO compensation, here is the data from the table (for the 6 largest seminaries):

Mean salary and benefits: $272,971
Median salary and benefits: $242,562
25th percentile salary and benefits: $232,589
75th percentile salary and benefits: $284,182

Since I don’t know the exact formulas ATS uses, here is an approximation, using #1 as the lowest of the six salaries all the way up through #6 as the highest.I’ll round the numbers for easier math.

The 75th percentile is the salary of #5 ($284K) since 75% of the salaries are below this figure. Likewise, the 25th percentile is the salary of #3 ($232K). Given the median value is $242K, that means #4’s salary is $252K. This would mean that #6 would have a salary of over $400K minimum for #1 and #2 to still be below $232K.

Since there are 3 SBC seminaries involved, at minimum one of the presidents makes $232K. I would imagine this to be higher, since Southern, Southwestern, and Southeastern rank 2, 3, and 4, respectively, in FTE enrollment among ATS-accredited seminaries (only Fuller is larger, while Dallas and Gordon-Conwell are nipping at SEBTS’ heels). These are based on reports to ATS, so we can assume some level of accuracy.

Jim G.

    Rick Patrick

    Thanks, Jim. None of my informants were addressing seminary salaries. I suppose that in order to avoid wild speculation concerning the salaries of all eleven entities, I might as well specify that the primary entities with possibly eyebrow raising compensation levels are at LifeWay, Guidestone and (perhaps but less certainly) the IMB. Of course, none of these salaries may be out of line at all, but we have no way of knowing without more complete disclosure. Thanks again for your data.

      Lydia

      Do Seminary salarues reflect income from speaking and involvement in things like T4G?

      There are some trying to track down the non profit status of T4G. It makes a ton. Is it a para church ministry? Where is the 990? Do entity presidents receive income from such?

      Jim G.

      Hi Rick,

      From what I can tell, the seminary presidents’ salaries are not out of line when compared to peer institutions. The SBC seminary presidents are near the top of the pay scale, but the SBC seminaries are among the largest. Of the 14 ATS accredited seminaries with enrollments larger than 500 FTEs, 5 are SBC. Only Midwestern (of the 6) has less than 500 FTEs. While all six presidents likely make $200K+ in total compensation, that appears to be the industry standard.

      Lydia, the report to ATS was only for compensation from the institution. Other income would not be reported, since it would be personal rather than institutional. Only institutional data was involved.

      Jim G.

        Rick Patrick

        Jim,
        I agree with you. I do not consider the salaries of seminary presidents, as you reported them, to be out of line. They are well within the POTUS cap I mentioned in my article. They do not raise my eyebrows in the least.

Alton Vandevender

I wrote to the Baptist press and got no answer..boy question was why not cut salaries instead of IMB missionaries.

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