SBC domestic missions chief quits under fire: Reccord resigns amid allegations of poor management

May 16, 2006

After a trustee investigation produced a scathing report of numerous examples of poor management, Bob Reccord has resigned as president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board.

“I regret that events of recent weeks have created an environment which makes it difficult to lead the organization and to stay on mission,” Reccord, 54, said April 17 in a statement.

Allegations first surfaced in a February exposé by the Christian Index, a Georgia Baptist Convention newspaper. NAMB’s trustees, after their own investigation, put Reccord under strict “executive-level controls” March 23, which many observers thought would prompt his resignation.

He was the first leader of the agency, which has its office in Alpharetta, an Atlanta suburb. NAMB was formed in 1997 under a restructuring plan that combined the Southern Baptist Convention’s former Home Mission Board, Radio and Television Commission and Brotherhood Commission.

Associated Baptist Press reported last month that several unidentified trustees had called for Reccord to resign or face a possible ouster at their May 2 meeting.

The trustees’ investigation faulted the missions leader for poor management, autocratic decision making, extravagant spending on failed ministry projects, apparent conflicts of interest in no-bid contracts for a friend, and creating a “culture of fear” that prevented staffers from questioning the abuses.

They also said Reccord spent time and money on events and projects on the periphery of NAMB’s mission and was absent so often that he couldn’t provide consistent, day-to-day oversight “to properly manage the agency,” which directs and coordinates Southern Baptist mission work in the United States and Canada.

Some trustees were most upset by Reccord’s blurring of the line between NAMB and personal interests, such as his extensive non-NAMB speaking schedule and a trip to London for him and his wife to attend the premiere of the Chronicles of Narnia movie, which cost NAMB $3,800.

“Bob wanted someone to get him on CNN,” noted one trustee leader. Reccord hired two outside public-relations firms—the contracts totaled $12,000 a month, costing more than $75,000 to date—to get him “secular media placements” like those of SBC leaders Al Mohler and Richard Land.

As calls for his resignation grew louder, the former megachurch pastor told NAMB employees of his decision to leave. Barry Holcomb, a pastor from Alabama and chair of the trustees, read a statement praising Reccord’s accomplishments and integrity. Holcomb said the trustees’ investigation and audit found “no evidence that Dr. Reccord had done anything unethical in his role as president.”