DALLAS (ABP) — The Texas Baptist Men personnel search committee will nominate Leo Smith to be the organization's executive director at the group's Feb. 27 board meeting.
Smith is currently TBM's interim executive director, a position he accepted after resigning as the organization's president in February 2002. The retired pastor has served TBM in a variety of roles for about 25 years.
Smith's leadership of Texas Baptist Men and passion for men's ministry make him the ideal candidate to be executive director, according to Kevin Walker, chairman of the search committee and current TBM president.
The next executive director will lead TBM in its new arrangement of working with volunteers from churches affiliated with both of the rival Baptist state conventions in Texas — the Baptist General Convention of Texas and the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. Moderates control the larger BGCT, but the newer SBTC was founded by fundamentalist leaders disgruntled with the older convention.
Texas Baptist Men has strong ties to the BGCT. TBM offices are located in BGCT facilities, and the convention pays for the operating budget and some of the group's ministries. The TBM executive director serves ex officio on the Baptist General Convention of Texas Leadership Council.
As interim executive director, Smith already has begun working with both conventions. Many Texas Baptist Men members, including several key leaders, are members of SBTC congregations. SBTC leaders said they would start their own disaster-relief organization if Texas Baptist Men would not have a relationship with their churches.
Smith tabled a 2002 motion to enter into a “fraternal relationship” with the newer convention, but the group voted to adopt the relationship in February 2003 while explicitly reaffirming their unique connection with the Baptist General Convention of Texas.
Though some SBTC-affiliated churches funnel money to Texas Baptist Men for ministry, the group is not in the SBTC budget. Smith said he intends to “maintain the integrity of the organization with both conventions,” while retaining a unique relationship with the BGCT.
Smith's nomination culminates a yearlong search for a permanent director following the resignation of Jim Ferguson in 2002.