UPDATE: According to news sources, the nomination of Jared Wellman as the next president of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee failed today on a 50-31 vote, and the Executive Committee is naming a new search committee. Sarah Rogers, of Greenville, S.C., is among those chosen as members of the new search committee. David Sons, of Lexington, will serve as an ex-officio voting member of the committee. Story will be posted when additional information becomes available following a press conference this afternoon.
The SBC Executive Committee has a candidate to consider for the entity’s leader. Jared Wellman will be nominated to serve as EC president/CEO in a special called meeting in Dallas on May 1 at noon.
Wellman, 39, is the pastor of Tate Springs Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas. He served as a member of the EC from 2015-2023, serving as chairman from June 2022. He stepped down from the EC in a confidential letter to EC officers on April 17, according to newly named chairman David Sons. The full body was made aware in a confidential communication on April 19, Sons told Baptist Press.
It was also in that email that the full body was made aware of Wellman’s selection as the presidential candidate. Sons said it was kept confidential among EC trustees “to give Jared the opportunity to inform his church of his candidacy when he could do so in person.”
Wellman informed the church of his candidacy Apr. 30, according to Sons.
Wellman also served on the presidential search team as an ex-officio member until he recused himself on Jan. 26, Sons said.
Adron Robinson, search committee chairman, said the group was impressed by Wellman’s leadership of the EC since being voted chairman last June.
“Jared’s demeanor and experience fit with both the candidate profile of the search team and with much of what we had heard from those we surveyed,” he said.
Sons, who also served on the search team, said he believes Wellman can lead the EC forward. “The Executive Committee is not in need of a new vision or fresh direction, but instead a renewed commitment to the responsibilities it has already been given by our Convention of churches,” he told Baptist Press.
Robinson said the group was “compelled by both his (Wellman’s) ideas for the present and future of the Executive Committee,” adding: “His humility, administrative skill and pastoral sensibilities made him a strong candidate for the search team.”
In a statement to BP on Saturday (Apr. 29), Wellman said, “I don’t look at the Executive Committee opportunity as a job, but as a calling. I think that’s crucial. I’ve sensed a strong call that has been confirmed through prayer, fasting, the Scriptures and wise counsel. It’s the only reason I’ve kept my ‘yes’ on the table. I’m willing to follow through with this, regardless of the outcome, because I fear the Lord more than anything else.”
He has served in several denominational roles, including as a member of the SBC Committee on Resolutions in 2019, 2021 and 2022, an executive board member for the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention from 2009-2013 and again from 2013-2017, a trustee at Criswell College from 2020-2021, and as a Land Center fellow at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
In addition to serving Tate Springs Baptist, Wellman has pastored Mission Dorado Church in Odessa, Texas; Carpenter’s Cross Church in Flint, Texas; and Powell Baptist in Powell, Texas.
Wellman has led Tate Springs to increase its Cooperative Program giving from 3.67 percent in 2017 to 6.7 percent ($102,000) in 2022, according to church data provided to Baptist Press. Wellman began serving at the church in 2017.
He was licensed in 2002 and ordained in 2005 at First Baptist Church, Gun Barrel City, in Gun Barrel City, Texas.
Wellman holds a Ph.D. from the South Africa Seminary, is a Ph.D. candidate at SWBTS, and holds master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Criswell College.
He is an adjunct professor at SWBTS, Criswell College and Grand Canyon University.
Wellman and his wife, Amanda, have been married since 2006. They have four children.
The position became vacant following the resignation of Ronnie Floyd in October 2021 when EC members waived attorney-client privilege at the direction of messengers to the 2021 SBC Annual Meeting.
Messengers voted at that meeting to form a task force to investigate the EC’s alleged mishandling of sexual abuse claims. Newly elected SBC President Ed Litton named the Sexual Abuse Task Force, which was led by North Carolina pastor Bruce Frank.
Floyd resigned 11 days after that vote, citing his fiduciary responsibilities as president and CEO. In a statement he said, “Due to my personal integrity and the leadership responsibility entrusted to me, I will not and cannot any longer fulfill the duties placed upon me as the leader of the executive, fiscal, and fiduciary entity of the SBC.”
Willie McLaurin was named the interim president and CEO of the SBC Executive Committee on Feb. 1, 2022. McLaurin joined the EC as vice president for Great Commission relations and mobilization in 2020.
The Presidential Search Team was formed by the EC during its February 2022 meeting in Nashville. Members include Mollie Duddleston (Springdale, Ark.), Mike Keahbone (Lawton, Okla.), Jeremy Morton (Woodstock, Ga.), Philip Robertson (Pineville, La.), Adron Robinson (Country Club Hills, Ill.) and David Sons (Lexington, S.C.).
The May 1 special called meeting of the EC was announced on April 4.
In that announcement, Robinson said, “Over the last 14 months, the search team has diligently prayed, discussed, and worked to identify the person to best lead the SBC Executive Committee through its present challenges and into a brighter future for our Committee and Convention.
“As a search team, we are confident the candidate we are presenting represents the humility, wisdom, administrative skill and Christlikeness necessary to fulfill the responsibilities of president and CEO of the SBC Executive Committee.”
The meeting will take place under executive session at the Grand Hyatt DFW.
— Brandon Porter serves as associate vice president for convention news at the SBC Executive Committee.