Established in 1917, the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee acts on behalf of the Convention when it is not in session, with a mission to “serve churches as they prioritize, elevate, and accelerate the vision of reaching every person for Jesus Christ in every town, every city, every state, and every nation through collaborative partnership, cooperation, and generosity.”
Under that mission, the EC currently is responsible for seven ministry assignments that have been approved by messengers to the SBC annual meetings through the years.
The assignments are detailed in the entity’s ministry statement, which is published in the SBC’s organization manual. The most recent revisions to the ministry statement, including a new assignment focused on prayer, were approved in 2021.
The EC’s current ministry assignments are:
- Assist churches through conducting and administering the work of the Convention not otherwise assigned. The SBC Executive Committee serves as the fiduciary, the fiscal, and the executive entity of the Convention in all its affairs not specifically committed to some other board or entity. Furthermore, the SBC Executive Committee is authorized, instructed, and commissioned to act for the Convention ad interim in all matters not otherwise provided for. It also serves as the managing agent of the Southern Baptist Convention Building.
This assignment was included in the EC’s first program statement, adopted in 1967, and in a revised statement adopted in 1992. In 1995, messengers voted to replace the program statements with new ministry statements as part of the Convention’s “Covenant for a New Century” emphasis. This first assignment led the EC’s ministry statement then, and was amended in 2021 to include the descriptive paragraph under the bold text above. The office of the president is responsible for this assignment.
- Assist churches by providing a Convention news service. Provide regular news releases about Southern Baptists; tell and celebrate stories of what God is doing through Southern Baptist churches and ministries; serve as the Convention’s press representative; coordinate news operations for annual meetings of the Southern Baptist Convention.
The assignment to distribute Convention news began in 1946 with the Baptist Sunday School Board, and then the responsibility was transferred the next year to the SBC Executive Committee. The assignment was officially included in the 1992 revision of the EC’s program statement, and in its 1995 ministry statement. In 2021, it was amended to add the responsibility to “tell and celebrate stories of what God is doing through Southern Baptist churches and ministries.”
Current EC staff responsible for this ministry assignment are Jonathan Howe, vice president for communications; Brandon Porter, associate vice president for convention news; and Laura Erlanson, managing editor for Baptist Press.
- Assist churches by developing and strengthening cooperative relationships. Interpret the Southern Baptist Convention to internal and external publics; strengthen relationships with state convention, associational, and other Southern Baptist affinity groups; and pursue cooperative relationships with theologically likeminded churches to fulfill our missional vision of reaching all people for Jesus Christ and making disciples of all the nations.
Originally written as an assignment to provide a Convention public relations service, this item was included in the 1967 program statement and the 1995 ministry statement. In 2021, it was expanded to give the EC the responsibility for developing and strengthening cooperative relationships. The assignment to “interpret the Southern Baptist Convention to internal and external publics” remains from the original wording, but the heading and additional description were added in 2021.
Current work within this ministry assignment is led by Willie McLaurin, interim president and CEO; Luís Lopez, associate vice president for Hispanic relations; Charles Grant, associate vice president for Black church relations; and Peter Yanes, associate vice president for Asian American relations.
- Assist churches, organizations, and individuals with investment management and generosity. Encourage and partner with Southern Baptist and other evangelical churches, entities, organizations, and individuals to invest in Kingdom causes by providing comprehensive investment, fiduciary, and planning services for maximum impact for Southern Baptist or other evangelical causes.
This assignment was adopted in 1995 as part of the EC’s ministry statement. Its wording was amended and approved by messengers to the SBC in 2010 and again in 2021. The president and CEO of the Southern Baptist Foundation leads the EC’s work in this area. Warren Peek currently serves in the role.
- Assist churches by promoting the Cooperative Program and celebrating other cooperative giving. In consultation with cooperating state conventions and Southern Baptist Convention entities, prioritize, elevate, and accelerate giving through the Cooperative Program as the most effective means of mobilizing Southern Baptist churches and extending our collective efforts to reach every person with the gospel and make disciples of all nations; celebrate all cooperative giving to achieve these ends.
This fifth ministry assignment was also adopted as part of the 1995 ministry statement. Revised wording was approved in 2021. Willie McLaurin, interim president and CEO, and Becca Bogardus, director of digital content and marketing, currently lead the EC’s work on this assignment.
- Assist churches in stewardship education. Produce, develop, publish, and distribute products that help Southern Baptists to grow in commitment to Jesus Christ by applying biblical principles of stewardship.
The EC’s sixth ministry assignment was added to its ministry statement in 2006. It was the only item not amended in 2021. The office of the president is responsible for this ministry assignment.
- Assist churches through elevating the ministry of prayer. Provide strategic leadership to lift up and promote coordinated prayer for spiritual awakening, ministry effectiveness, and the completion of the Great Commission.
The EC’s newest ministry assignment was added in 2021 as part of the Vision 2025 emphasis led by former EC president and CEO Ronnie Floyd. The office of the president currently leads this ministry assignment for the EC.
The SBC Executive Committee currently has 25 employees. To learn more, click here.
EDITOR’S NOTE — This article was written by Meredith Flynn and was originally published by The Baptist Paper.