Home Christian News Jonathan Howe Replaces Willie McLaurin as Interim Head of SBC Executive Committee

Jonathan Howe Replaces Willie McLaurin as Interim Head of SBC Executive Committee

Jonathan Howe
Screengrab via YouTube / Baptist Press

Jonathan Howe has been named the new interim president and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) Executive Committee (EC). 

The role was abruptly vacated on Thursday (Aug. 17) when the previous interim president and CEO, Willie McLaurin, resigned after admitting he falsified his résumé to include degrees he never earned from schools he never attended. 

McLaurin was being considered to assume leadership of the EC on a permanent basis, which would have made him the first Black leader to head an SBC entity. 

In a statement to ChurchLeaders, the EC said that Howe will serve as interim president and CEO “in partnership with the officers until our next trustee meeting on September 18-19. At that trustee meeting the full board of trustees will elect, without restrictions, a continuing interim president/CEO.”

EC chairman Dr. Philip Robertson expressed that he is “committed to working alongside the 85 professional and gifted women and men, who represent Southern Baptists across our convention, to carry out the work with which we have been tasked, with purpose, transparency, and reliability for such a time as this.”

“I am grateful for our partnership as Southern Baptists toward the fulfillment of the Great Commission,” Robertson added.

Howe is a longtime Southern Baptist leader, having served as the EC’s vice president of communications since 2019. Prior to his tenure at the EC, he served as director of strategic initiatives at Lifeway Christian Resources, another SBC entity. Howe had been on staff at Lifeway since 2011. 

The Search for a Permanent Leader Continues

The road to finding a permanent president and CEO for the EC has been somewhat rocky.

McLaurin assumed the role as the interim president and CEO of the EC in February 2022 following the resignation of Ronnie FloydFloyd had stepped down in protest of the EC’s vote to waive attorney-client privilege during Guidepost Solutions’ investigation into whether the EC had mishandled sexual abuse allegations.

McLaurin had been serving as the EC’s vice president for Great Commission relations and mobilization when Floyd resigned. SBC EC bylaws mandate the interim president and CEO be chosen by the EC officers from the current EC vice presidents, and McLaurin was selected.