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November 19, 2007
TAYLORS, S.C. (BP)--Recently, Jack Wilkerson, the Executive Committee's vice president for business and finance, sent me his well-worded reply to a request for information from a dear brother in our convention. This brother was seeking information on the salary of the president of the Southern Baptist Convention, as well as others.
When I read the request as well as the reply, my first response was to chuckle. It seems, across our nation, there are many people who believe that the SBC president is a salaried position or at least a position with a large stipend attached to it.
The reality is, as Jack Wilkerson informed this dear brother, that the president of the SBC serves without salary compensation. He does receive travel reimbursement for actual expenses, but no salary from the Executive Committee or the Southern Baptist Convention.
However, I want to focus on the real benefit that comes to the president of the Southern Baptist Convention. Here are four:
1. He becomes the recipient of hundreds of thousands of people who pray for him daily. I cannot express to you what this benefit has meant to me. It has enabled me to move far beyond my own abilities and minister and lead in ways that only God could enable. While I have been less than perfect and have made many mistakes, God has enabled me to move far beyond my own limited abilities.
2. He is the recipient of building relationships with some of the most precious people in the world. I have seen across our nation people who want to be serious in their following of the Great Commission of our Lord. They are sweet-spirited, evangelistic, giving people. It gives me hope when I see the number of young laypeople as well as pastors who join with median age and older adults who are truly and deeply concerned about our convention. This fringe benefit is one that I will never forget. It has enabled me to build relationships with some wonderful people.
3. He sees churches get excited about missions and evangelism. Yes, people are tired of the fussing and fighting of many leaders, but overall, churches are anxious to learn how to move forward so that they might be transformed to become the mission supporting and sending agencies that God intended them to be. I have been greatly encouraged across the land to see churches that will not be caught up in that which distracts and are seriously committed to a Kingdom agenda and vision. This is a fringe benefit that I will never forget.
4. He travels across the nation and shares Christ with many people. I have seen the hunger of a lost continent and world who are crying out for authentic Christianity. To be able to travel, to witness across this land -- more than I ever have done in my life -- has encouraged me to realize that people are very open to the Good News of Christ.
The SBC president receives no salary, but the fringe benefits are out of this world.
Frank Page is president of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastor of First Baptist Church in Taylors, S.C.