Published May 18, 2016
FRESNO — The chairman of the California Southern Baptist Convention executive director search committee said recommendations to replace the retiring Fermín A. Whittaker are welcome immediately, though the committee’s profile for the next leader has not yet been developed.
Montia Setzler, pastor of Magnolia Church in Riverside who chairs the eight-member panel to recommend a successor for the retiring executive, said during their initial meeting the committee “established guidelines under which we’ll operate and tried to establish calendar dates.”
“We spent a lot of time in prayer for the process,” he noted, inviting “churches and leadership of CSBC to keep the search committee in their prayers.”
Members of the new committee met for more than an hour immediately after their election at the May 13 Executive Board meeting in Fresno, and have scheduled their next meeting for June in Southern California.
In addition to Setzler, the committee includes:
• Randy Bennett, CSBC president, director of missions for Kern County Southern Baptist Association and member of Daybreak Church in Bakersfield;
• Don Fugate, pastor of Foxworthy Baptist Church in San Jose;
• Dale Garland, pastor of Hemet Valley Baptist Church in Hemet;
• Jenice Moore, associate pastor of education and administration at Trinity Baptist Church in Livermore;
• Glenn Prescott, an associate professor at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary and member of Tiburon Baptist Church in Tiburon; and
• Matt Spradlin, pastor of Shoreline Baptist Church in Fountain Valley.
The search committee selection procedure states that the “chairman of the Executive Board shall serve as an ex officio member with voting privileges” — in this case, Shawn Beaty, senior pastor of Clovis Hills Community Church in Clovis.
Setzler said an e-mail address created for the search committee, firstname.lastname@example.org, is the primary avenue for California Southern Baptists to communicate with the committee.
“All inquiries and recommendations can be communicated through that e-mail address,” Setzler said.
He added the committee will develop a “profile” for the executive director position and “hopes to have it established by mid-summer.”
According to Setzler, there may be two profiles — one for the committee’s use and one for public access.
“The two documents may not be exactly the same,” he explained. “The committee’s profile as well as our deliberations will remain confidential.”
Setzler noted the group determined that anyone offering a name for consideration “should have contacted and received permission from the person whose name is being submitted.”
The chairman would make no commitment as to how long it would take before a candidate is submitted to the Executive Board.
“We have no idea. It will be dependent on the applicant names we receive. Our ideal time would be to make a presentation by January 2017, but it may take longer.
“Regardless, of the timing,” Setzler said, “the committee won’t rush the process, in order to find the best person for the position.”
As to how much money will be spent in the search, he said, “A specific amount was not allocated. The Convention will allocate the dollars to do the search properly and we’ll rely on the finance committee of the Board and business services group of the Convention to help us locate the funds to do the job judiciously.”
The committee is composed of seven men and one woman, all of whom are Anglo. Setzler admitted the group discussed the lack of diversity and noted it is a “deficiency of the Executive Board bylaws process of electing the search committee.”
However, the former Convention president and Board chairman said the committee would “compensate by meeting with ethnic leaders, engaging them in the process. We also will work with those leaders to give a broader perspective of the diversity of churches in our Convention.”
Two alternates to the committee were named and Setzler explained that “they are invited to all committee meetings” but will not “participate directly. The only way an alternate committee member can be valuable in the process is to know everything the committee has done to that point if a committee member can no longer participate and needs to be replaced.”
“Through the alternate’s participation, they would be ‘up to speed’ and have the ability to continue moving through the process with the committee.”
Setzler added the committee in its inaugural meeting discussed the possibility of allowing non-Executive Board leaders to serve as non-voting advisors/consultants to the search committee as allowed in the bylaws.
“We’ll discuss this more fully in subsequent meetings.”
Setzler said committee members talked about the possibility of “seeking professional assistance in the search process, but made no determination.”
“It’s also something we’ll need to address more fully.”
The primary responsibility of the committee, according to Setzler, “is to the Executive Board. So we will be reporting to the Board.”
“However, since those meetings are open and public in nature, California Southern Baptists will be informed through reportis to the Board.”
“Our committee will have only one voice and we ask that you respect each members’ need to remain confidential during the process.”
Setzler added the group is “very adamant about seeking who God has to lead us in the future. Even though we’ll be developing a profile that will guide our search, we are more interested in being obedient to God than remaining locked into a profile.”
*Read more about Whittaker’s announcement.