Just a few weeks ago not only did Ezell send a “Divorce Notice“ to partnership with 24 Non-Southern State Conventions, he fully expects that the 24 Conventions he is divorcing to pay him alimony via their Cooperative Program and Annie Armstrong mission gifts to fund his failed strategies.
Since his election, Kevin Ezell has expressed a desire to eliminate partnership agreements with State Conventions. Well, after methodically and incrementally implementing his plan to weaken the ties with and accountability to State Conventions, Ezell has virtually accomplished his objective with his latest required (un) Cooperative Agreement with the 24 non-Southern State Conventions. Those 24 Conventions send $46 million per year to SBC entities. Like me, anyone who got in his way from his divorcing states was removed in violation of US laws & SBC governing documents. Ezell used lies, deception, threats, bribes and payouts to remove several State Execs and seek acceptance of ever weakening (un) cooperative agreements to do it, along with sleeping and fooled NAMB Trustees and NAMB paid reps such as Ambassadors working in various States.
Ezell has been allowed to destroy or cancel the partnership with State Conventions with a series of decisions dating back to 2012. It took him almost 10 years taking incremental but intentional steps, but if the State Execs allow and/or sign the new 2020 version by Oct. 2020, cooperation, even the semblance of partnership, is dead in the SBC. Cooperation will be gone in favor of a nationalistic approach and “grants” to friendly State Conventions and large churches. This is the exact opposite of the 1925 development of the Cooperative Program, which was designed, promoted and supported as a way to cooperatively fund mission work and missionaries around the world and at home in North America.
Oh, how times have changed under Ezell. There are irrefutable failures in NAMB’s strategy leading to steep drops in baptisms and the number of church planting starts have fallen off the cliff over the last 10 years. NOTE THE PROGRESSION: On April 11, 2011 Ezell stated in a Baptist Press Article that “NAMB and the states would continue to have “jointly funded missionaries in every state. We’re not going to totally reduce all those.” By 2015, that ended except with the Northwest Convention who refused Ezell’s takeover church planting offer. However, on Nov. 13 2015 Ezell claimed partnership with State Conventions were strong. Does that reflect reality?
In the May 2016 Christian Examiner article “NAMB Ezell denies confidential ‘Cooperation Agreements’ are ‘gag orders’“. Among other things, Ezell said, “Though NAMB’s preference has always been that these documents be available to anyone…” So, today in keeping with NAMB President Kevin Ezell’s statements that there are no “gag orders” in the (un) Cooperative Agreements, I have published that agreement via the link above.
Practically speaking, Ezell has defunded State Conventions outside of the South. Ezell has spoken half truths deceptively even in front of NAMB Trustees to say that NAMB is supporting states, just not through State Convention leadership who are accountable to the local churches. HOWEVER, the assignment of NAMB by the SBC includes PARTNERING with, COOPERATING with, and SUPPORTING State Conventions, which are the mission hubs for all the churches in that state or states.
Ezell had really “defriended” State Conventions already. He is reported to have stated to a group of young pastors he invited to Alpharetta that he knows that “your state conventions suck“. Reports are that the young pastors were required to leave their phones out of the meeting and to sign an agreement to not post on social media about the meeting before having the meeting with Ezell and then IMB President David Platt.
It has been shared among the State Execs that Ezell has demeaned and provided failing letter grades to State Execs by name. When that was revealed, reports are that Ezell then called a State Exec, cussing at him for revealing that information.
Ezell in multiple settings has been quoted as saying that all his problems would go away with “5 heart attacks” of State Convention Executive Directors. Did he want them dead or just incapacitated from shedding light on his intentions and strategies to decimate partnership?
So, from his first day and until this ominous day, Ezell and some of his celebrity pastor friends believe that a nationalized approach funded with Cooperative Program funds and Annie Armstrong Easter Offerings would be more effective if State Conventions and Associations were diminished and defunded with the very money that comes from those State Conventions and the churches who voluntarily connect with the State Convention. Ezell and those celebrity leaders are completely WRONG.
Here are new, currently unsigned NAMB generated (un) Cooperative Agreements. The first link is to the NAMB Cooperative Agreement SPA 2020 the second is NAMB Cooperative Agreement SPA 2020 w/ Notes gives you some helps to grasp a few of the issues. I will provide more detail on the devastating aspects and on how far this agreement is different than the pre-Ezell agreements and even the 2012 version of this agreement between NAMB and State Conventions. More to come in later writings and Facebook Live videos over the next several weeks.
EXTRA – Questions…
SBC EC – Would someone tell the SBC Executive Committee about this destruction of partnership by Ezell, and that one of their written areas of responsibility is partnership? Would someone tell the SBC EC they can change the funding formula to fund NAMB has decimated mission effectiveness and mission partners before the State Conventions figure out they can defund NAMB and the entire SBC? In fact, the State Conventions could go to NAMB’s “grant” model for each SBC entity instead of giving and trusting the leaders!
State Convention Execs – Would someone tell them they are the primary stewards of the SBC cooperative value, cooperative spirit, cooperative system, and the cooperative mission? Would someone tell them this latest straw may be the final straw that breaks the camel’s back with this RIDICULOUS (un) Cooperative Agreement? Would you tell them partnership is under their assignment? Will someone tell them cooperating with the national SBC mission is a part of their history?
NAMB Trustees – Will someone wake up the NAMB Trustees to what is happening on their watch? Will someone ask for NAMB Trustees and former NAMB staff members to speak without NDAs so we can find out what is really going on? Will someone tell the SBC EC and NAMB Trustees that open books and full financial transparency is not a one way street and that those who give have a right to know and the SBC governing documents say so? Will someone tell the Trustees they will go down in history over this act?
Will a courageous man or woman in leadership rise up among the NAMB Trustees, the SBC EC and/or the State Convention Exec before this FINAL straw lands and breaks the cooperative mission’s back?