Nashville, Tenn. | The Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee (EC) will meet April 17 to elect a committee to search for its next leader. Frank S. Page resigned as president and chief executive officer March 27 over what he described as “a morally inappropriate relationship in the recent past.”
Shortly after Page’s departure, D. August (Augie) Boto, executive vice president and general counsel for the EC, was named interim president. Boto appointed Jimmy Draper, a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention and president emeritus of LifeWay Christian Resources, as EC ambassador “to assist him in fulfilling the many representative functions that fall to the office of president.”
When they convene April 17, the EC will elect a six-member search committee among nominees from the floor during the special meeting. The board chair will serve as an ex-officio member with the right to vote, constituting a seven-member presidential search committee.
Page, who has served in the post since 2010, initially announced his retirement, receiving accolades and congratulations on social media. He later released a personal statement with more information.
“It is with deep regret that I tender my resignation from the SBC Executive Committee and announce my retirement from active ministry, effective immediately,” Page said. “As a result of a personal failing, I have embarrassed my family, my Lord, myself, and the Kingdom.
“Out of a desire to protect my family and those I have hurt, I initially announced my retirement earlier today without a complete explanation. However, after further wrestling with my personal indiscretion, it became apparent to me that this situation must be acknowledged in a more forthright manner. It is my most earnest desire in the days to come to rebuild the fabric of trust with my wife and daughters, those who know me best and love me most.”
Page, 65, as EC president, held a key role in coordinating the work of the SBC’s national ministries, encompassing two mission boards, six seminaries and other entities, and overseeing a Cooperative Program budget of nearly $200 million yearly. His work also included building relationships with 42 state and regional Baptist conventions and 47,000-plus Southern Baptist churches in all 50 states.
He was the 2006-2008 president of the Southern Baptist Convention, elected to the post as pastor of First Baptist Church in Taylors, S.C. Before being elected as Executive Committee president in 2010, Page was serving as vice president of evangelization for the North American Mission Board, from 2009-2010.
Among the hallmarks of Page’s eight years as EC president were strong calls for personal evangelism, support for the Cooperative Program channel of Southern Baptist missions and ministry support, and inclusion of numerous ethnic groups, women, young leaders, and small-church pastors in the life of the denomination.