There are few earthly experiences more concerning than being told that you and the organization you are leading are under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice. Even if you are not aware of any wrongdoing, it still must be an unsettling experience. The DOJ has an annual budget of more than $30 billion and a staff of more than 113,000 people. It has great latitude and can continue an investigation almost indefinitely.
By now most Kentucky Baptist church and ministry leaders are aware of the early reporting that the SBC Executive Committee and potentially several SBC entities could be under investigation by the Department of Justice. The news of this came on Friday, Aug. 12, and was followed by a joint statement from our entity leaders (read the statement here).
How should we as Kentucky Baptists think about our entities being investigated by the DOJ?
1. We should be prayerful: Those of us who care about the mission we carry out through our national SBC entities should pray for the leaders and the organizations being investigated. We should certainly pray for special grace and peace for the designated leaders and for wisdom and fairness for those who are conducting the investigation. We should pray that, if crimes have been committed, the guilty will be brought to justice. We should also pray that if sexual predators have been harbored in Southern Baptist churches, this would be addressed.
2. We should be unified: As followers of Jesus, we are called to pray for those in authority. We should be unified in our pursuit of righteousness in the ministry we carry out and in the way we carry it out. We should be unified in believing the best about our entities unless and until an investigation reveals otherwise. We should also be unified in that we want justice to be carried out.
3. We should be vigilant: The Lord Jesus has given us a mission, the Great Commission. He has commanded us to take the gospel to all the nations and make disciples. Southern Baptists have invested billions of dollars over the years and sent thousands of our best and brightest to attend seminary, to plant churches and to serve on foreign mission fields with the highest calling to take the gospel to those who are lost. We must continue to support those who serve faithfully in answer to this call, and we must continue to fulfill the Great Commission until Jesus returns or calls us home.
I cannot imagine being under investigation, but I take heart in the joint statement of our entity leaders, “While so many things in the world are uncertain, we can be certain that we serve a mighty God. Nothing, including this investigation, takes Him by surprise.”