- The Washington Times - Friday, March 1, 2024

Southern Baptist trustees are expected to vote this month on the nomination of the Rev. Jeff Iorg, an educator and veteran pastor, as the denomination’s next executive committee president and CEO, officials said Friday. 

The nomination ends nearly 28 months without a permanent leader for the body that handles administrative affairs for the 13.2 million-member denomination between annual business sessions.

Mr. Iorg, president of Gateway Seminary of the Southern Baptist Convention since 2004, would fill a vacancy created when the Rev. Ronnie Floyd resigned in 2021 after the committee voted to waive attorney-client privilege in an investigation of sexual abuse within the nation’s second-largest Protestant denomination.

The Rev. Willie McLaurin, an interim president and CEO for the committee, resigned in August after admitting he lied about his academic credentials. He had been viewed as a leading contender for permanent appointment.

Jeff Iorg is who we have been praying for,” the Rev. Neal Hughes, who chaired the search team for the position, said in a statement. He praised Mr. Iorg’s “calm demeanor, communication skills, executive administrative ability and thorough knowledge of Southern Baptist life.”

The search committee was expected to announce a candidate on Feb. 19, but Mr. Hughes told committee members only that they had found an “excellent choice” for the job.

The vote on Mr. Iorg’s nomination has been scheduled for March 21.

During his time at Gateway Seminary, Mr. Iorg managed the institution’s relocation to Southern California, built a new campus in the San Francisco Bay area, and launched an online program without incurring debt. SBC officials said the seminary’s endowment nearly quadrupled from $16 million to $60 million on his watch.

Mr. Iorg was a children’s minister in Abilene, Texas, before pastoring churches in Missouri and Oregon. He served as executive director of the Northwest Baptist Convention for 10 years before taking the Gateway Seminary position.

He holds master’s and doctoral degrees from Baptist seminaries and earned an undergraduate degree from Hardin-Simmons University, a Baptist school in Abilene.

• Mark A. Kellner can be reached at mkellner@washingtontimes.com.

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