I count Dr. Paul Chitwood as a dear friend and brother. I believe he provided impeccable leadership for the Kentucky Baptist Convention during his tenure as our state executive director-treasurer. He was God’s man for the hour and will surely be missed by Kentucky Baptists. That being said, I am convinced God has already raised up another man to take the helm of our convention and lead us into the foreseeable future as we seek to win the commonwealth to faith in Christ.
When it became apparent Dr. Chitwood was being called to the International Mission Board (a position in which he will be incredible), Dr. Charles Frazier contacted me and asked me to serve as chairman of the committee tasked with finding Dr. Chitwood’s replacement. I was humbled to be asked and felt somewhat daunted in the task at hand. Then, when he explained that our governing documents require the committee to be made up of 15 people from across the state, I wondered how a committee that large could find agreement on any one person.
We had our first meeting on Dec. 18 and spent the time getting to know one another, praying for our committee and the work to be done. We also outlined what the process might look like.
We met again on Jan. 3 and spent considerable time in prayer. After our prayer time, I think we all came away with a strong sense that the only agenda in the room was to find God’s man for the hour. We discussed developing a profile of what we thought the next executive director-treasurer might look like. As we talked about certain qualities and characteristics, we kept coming back to the thought that we may have an idea of what we want, and God may have something completely different in mind.
At our first meeting, Dr. Andrew Dyer had brought a devotional from 1 Samuel 16. In that passage, God has sent Samuel to the house of Jesse to anoint one of his sons as the next king. Upon his arrival, Jesse begins to parade his sons in front of the prophet. When Samuel saw Eliab he said, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him.”
Dr. Dyer then drew our attention to God’s response in verse 7. God told the prophet, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” The point is we cannot approach this with preconceived ideas but rather must find the heart and will of God and choose the one that He has already chosen.
As you think about our committee and the work that lies ahead, there are a few things we would like to ask you to pray for. Pray for Dr. Chitwood and his family as they transition to Richmond. Pray for the person that God has already chosen, that he would be sensing God’s movement in his life to this calling. Pray for our committee to exercise wisdom in each step we take. Pray for the KBC staff as they continue the work of the convention during the interim.
If you would like to submit a name for this position please send an email to our committee at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our committee understands the trust that has been extended to us by the 2,400 churches of the KBC. We want to honor God and serve you as we serve. Thank you for this privilege.
Tom James, lead pastor at Eastwood Baptist Church in Bowling Green, Ky., serves as the chairman of the Kentucky Baptist Convention's executive director-treasurer search committee.