Citing a desire for Southern Baptists’ focus to “be on the mission, with the Bible as our sole and final authority on all matters,” Northwest Baptist Convention (NWBC) Executive Director/Treasurer Randy Adams announced Jan. 20 that he would be nominated in June for president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).
Adams, who has served in his current role since 2013, intended to be nominated for SBC president at the 2020 annual meeting, but that meeting was ultimately canceled due to COVID-19. In today’s announcement, he stated that his reasons for accepting that nomination have only intensified over the past year.
In the post on his personal blog, Adams alleged the SBC is “in crisis” saying, “We inherited a cooperative mission system where every church mattered and could contribute to sharing the gospel around the world. We are now destroying much of our mission capacity through failures in accountability, self-dealing, top-down centralized strategies and broken partnerships.
“I am being nominated to serve as SBC president because I will confront these issues. I will push for transparency and accountability at every opportunity.”
Adams, along with several other non-South state executives, has been involved in a prolonged dispute with the North American Mission Board over its allocation of funds to states related to church planting and evangelism.
He is the fourth named candidate for SBC president, following Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President R. Albert Mohler, Jr., Georgia pastor Mike Stone and Alabama pastor Ed Litton. The SBC annual meeting will be June 15-16 in Nashville.
In his statement, Adams alleged instances of corruption and lack of transparency at several SBC entities. He further claimed the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force Report, passed by messengers at the 2010 annual meeting, led to what he calls “the worst decade for Southern Baptists in our 175-year history.”
Russell Fuller, a former professor of Old Testament at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, will nominate Adams. In a statement to Baptist Press (BP), Fuller made further allegations related to what he labeled as “secret financial arrangements,” and forced “non-disclosure or non-disparagement agreements on employees past and present.”
“Southern Baptists must rise to the challenges of reform as they did a generation ago,” Fuller wrote. “The current crisis of trust in the SBC must be addressed through transparency, accountability and cooperation.”
Adams is a member of Go Church, a church plant in Ridgefield, Wash. The plant reported 71 members and an average of 90 weekly attendees on the 2020 SBC Annual Church Profile (ACP). Of total undesignated receipts of $208,289, the church gave $18,461, increasing its giving through the Cooperative Program (CP) from 5.9% in 2019 to 8.9%.
The 2021 budget for the NWBC anticipates $2,845,000 in CP gifts from member churches, with $569,000 (20%) being passed on to the national CP allocation budget.
In a conversation with BP, Adams reiterated his assertion that the SBC has become a top-down denomination.
“We have done great damage to our ability to accomplish the mission,” he said. “Southern Baptists are to advance the Great Commission, and we’ve stumbled in that.
“The GCR shifted control to the national body away from the state conventions and your typical SBC church. Our cooperative strategy is supposed to ensure that every church has a place in that system. When churches lose their place, they lose their voice.”
Before joining the NWBC, Adams served as a pastor at three churches over a 20-year period. He also led the missions and evangelism team for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma for more than eight years.
Fuller pointed to Adams’ experience as proof that he is capable to lead in transparency, accountability and cooperation.
“Randy Adams as a pastor, as a current member of a church plant and as the current executive director/treasurer of the Northwest Baptist Convention, has demonstrated these important virtues. These are not talking points to him, but these are virtues that he has lived out in word and deed. He has never asked his employees to sign a statement of non-disclosure. He does not need to,” Fuller said.
“By God’s grace, I believe Randy Adams can lead us back to godly integrity within our convention. Randy Adams will lead us, but the grassroots of the Southern Baptist Convention must take control again by demanding transparency, accountability and genuine cooperation. I hope that you will join me in supporting Randy Adams as the next president of the SBC.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Scott Barkley is national correspondent for Baptist Press.)