It seems Ezell has had an amazing change of heart in devotion to funding NAMB, since he was named it's president.:
"It's been a regret of mine that I disengaged. But there's now an incredible capacity to tap into those who have disengaged. There are thousands of pastors who are ready to re-engage if we provide them a compelling vision and show them how we're going to efficiently and effectively use the money that they encourage their people to give through the Cooperative Program and Annie."By "tap into", I assume Ezell means getting pastors to increase their church's Annie Armstrong missions offering, and their Cooperative Program giving to get more money to the NAMB.
Problem is, we remember.
As the saying goes....if NAMB fools us once, shame on NAMB. If NAMB fools us twice, shame on US.We remember what happened under one of Ezell's predecessors at NAMB, and we need assurances that this won't happen again. We're afraid of being fooled again.
We remember how the NAMB under Bob "Hollywood" Reccord wasted millions of dollars, as chronicled by Mary Branson in her book "Spending God's Money". Things like spending $142,000 on private jet use, 1/2 million NAMB dollars paid to Jay Strack and Johnny Hunt ministries with no written contracts, a million dollars lost on "Elevate" conferences and their advertising, promotions of Reccord's books at speaking engagements, tens of thousands of dollars spent on PR firms when NAMB had staffers with those capabilities, and much more.
And what did Reccord get for it? He got a 1/2 million dollar severance package, two-years health benefits, and $12,000 for an employment agency to find him a new job. Soon after he left NAMB with his hefty severance, a pastor had his church raise a special "sacrificial love offering" for him in 2006. Sick.
Did Reccord's peers hold him accountable for his wasteful spending of our missions dollars? No way! In fact, 41 prominent SBC leaders signed a "Statement of Support" for Reccord as he left NAMB. The letter commended Reccord for his "visionary leadership", his "tireless work ethic", his "courage to try innovative new approaches". Who signed this? They include SBC heavyweights like:
and 33 other lesser-known SBC leaders.
If ever anyone should have been held accountable for financial waste in our convention, it would be Bob Reccord at NAMB. But once again, we see the SBC bigwigs covering for their friends.
So if Ezell is going to "tap into" more money and resources for NAMB, he might want to do the following:
- openly acknowledge the past abuses at the NAMB under Reccord. Mention his name. Say that what happened at NAMB under Reccord will NOT happen under Ezell's tenure.
- explain HOW that same mismanagement will not, cannot occur under his own tenure. And explain what changes have taken place to prevent it.
- announce that all expenditures at the NAMB, including his own compensation package, are an open book for anyone to look at. Set a new standard of transparency and accountability in an SBC agency.
And if Ezell jumps that hurdle of transparency, then he needs to deal with other barriers to "tapping into those who have disengaged":
- the sheep aren't giving. Pastors are beating the sheep for more money using Malachi 3 and creative misuses of scripture in Hagai, accusing them of robbing God, driving stolen cars, and even accusing them of being to blame for the economic problems of our country.
- the very people that might have more money to give to Annie Armstrong are being encouraged by their pastors to put downpayments on Holy Land trips and river cruises with their celeb pastors. Maybe Ezell can tell his pals to cool their heels on all the "walk where Jesus walked" vacations, and instead encourage these world travelers to put that money into the Annie Armstrong offering this year;
- pastors are starting satellite churches as extensions of their mega church, and are not too interested in "church plants".
- our largest churches seem to be more interested in renovating auditoriums for millions of dollars. FBC Dallas encouraged its people to "lop off a big chunk of their assets" and give to their $100 million dollar building program.
- seems many mega church pastors have learned from Bob Reccord: that using PR and marketing firms is an important part of their "ministries". More money spent on church marketing consultants means less money for missions.
So good luck "tapping into" more resources, Kevin. Many of the pastors have beat you to the punch.
After all, "there's gold in them thar pews."