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  • Rick Lance

First-Person: Jeff Iorg, a difference maker

Jeff Iorg has been unanimously elected as the new president and CEO of the SBC Executive Committee. In one way, this is not a surprising event. In another way, given our recent past experiences, this is almost miraculous.

Jeff Iorg, center, was elected SBC Executive Committee president/CEO on March 21, 2024, in Dallas.

I see Jeff Iorg as a true difference maker as our new leader in this most important position. He has a resume that speaks volumes about his leadership gifts. As a longtime president of a seminary and a well-known author and preacher/public speaker, Jeff is well known in SBC life.

When he was nominated, I indicated that he and I have been friends and colleagues for almost 26 years. During that time, I have witnessed how the Lord has used him in strategic positions of influence. In my mind, the Executive Committee made the right choice, especially at this juncture in our history.

What do I expect of him? Several words come to mind. Faithful is one of them. He is the epitome of faithfulness to God and to his calling. Excellence is another word. In all things, Jeff strives for excellence. Difference maker is my favorite description.

Jeff will seek to provide clarity as to our mission. In this time of confusion, we are in much need for someone – or someones – to offer the kind of clarity to see us through some divisive issues and difficult situations. Jeff is that kind of leader.

Any church or group can experience what the military calls “mission creep.” In the fog of war, this often happens to the military. How do you operate or function when you cannot see clearly?

Perhaps we are in a fog as Southern Baptists. We need someone who can help provide clarity so we can reaffirm our mission as a people of faith.

Jeff Iorg will seek to promote stability at the SBC Executive Committee. I think in looking back at the history of the EC we would be hard pressed to ascertain a time when stability is more needed than now.

The Executive Committee has struggled in recent years in ways in which many of us would never have imagined. Good people have different views as to why this has happened, but the most essential matter before us is how can this important leadership position regain stability. A leader who provides clarity as to our mission and seeks to promote stability will be one who can lead best in the present and in the future.

Granted, this clarity and stability will not happen overnight. No one leader can do this alone. Dr. Iorg will need assistance, but he is the kind of person who will find that help as needed.

Jeff Iorg will seek to personify unity among our people. Clarity leads to stability, and then there is an opportunity for unity. Of course, unity does not mean uniformity. After all we are Baptists. However, I believe that 95-98 percent of us agree on the major issues. I believe Jeff Iorg is the kind of leader who will remind us of that reality.

Like you, I will be praying for Dr. Jeff Iorg as he assumes his new duties. I commit to being a good partner with him in Great Commission ministries. I will do my best to help him to be effective as our leader.

The Biblical phrase “For such a time as this…” is often quoted, but I am not sure that I have known a time when this is more applicable than right now. We are with you, Jeff Iorg. We want to be a part of the team of difference makers for today and tomorrow.



Rick Lance writes for Baptist Press.


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