WASHINGTON (ABP) — Ricky Creech, once a Southern Baptist missionary and associational director of missions and more recently on the staff of a Georgia United Methodist church, was elected in a close vote March 28 to be executive director of the District of Columbia Baptist Convention.
The unanimous candidate of the search committee, Creech was strongly endorsed by the convention's executive committee, but the full board voted just 35-28 with one abstention to call him.
Convention President Yvonne Shinhoster Lamb, who was a member of the search committee, said simply that while the board had "committed people who wanted to make the best decision, not everyone was in agreement."
She said negative votes were united around no single issue, except maybe subconsciously the "change in status quo" that Creech's leadership promises.
"I see God trying to do something different," said Lamb, a member of Dayspring Community Church. She said Creech offers something "out of the box" and that he is "creative and different and that captured the attention of the search committee. This isn't status quo."
The 45 percent of board members who voted negatively "did not have the opportunity to spend the amount of time researching and looking at Ricky Creech and the other candidates that we did," Lamb said.
"We're looking forward to moving forward in a way that God will have the glory form this decision," she said.
Creech was director of missions of Birmingham Baptist Association in Alabama from 1995 until 2006. He left denominational work in 2007 to become a ministry consultant. He currently works as administrator on the staff of a Methodist church in Decatur, Ga.
With 153 churches, the D.C. convention is unique in its affiliation with three denominational bodies, plus the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship: American Baptist Churches USA, the Southern Baptist Convention and the Progressive National Baptist Convention. The convention operates on an annual budget of $1.1 million.
Creech is a graduate of Furman University and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He was a church-and-community missionary in Montgomery and Birmingham, Ala., for the SBC Home Mission Board (now North American Mission Board) before his election as executive director of the 135-church Birmingham Baptist Association in 1997.
Creech, 47, succeeds Jeffrey Haggray, who resigned in 2009 after eight years in the post to become pastor of First Baptist Church in Washington.
Norman Jameson is reporting and coordinating special projects for ABP on an interim basis. He is former editor of the North Carolina Biblical Recorder.