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‘Southern Baptists Are a Force for Good’—Jeff Iorg Addresses SBC Executive Committee for First Time as New President

Jeff Iorg
Jeff Iorg at 2024 SBC Annual Meeting. Photo credit: ChurchLeaders

Dr. Jeff Iorg, who was recently appointed the new president and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) Executive Committee (EC), addressed the committee for the first time in a meeting on Monday (June 10), one day before the denomination’s annual meeting in Indianapolis. 

As Iorg approached the podium, he did so to a standing ovation. After several tumultuous years of leadership turnover, Southern Baptists appear hopeful that Iorg will bring much needed stability to the EC. 

In 2021, Dr. Ronnie Floyd resigned as president and CEO amid his disagreement with the EC’s decision to waive attorney-client privilege during Guidepost Solutions’ third-party investigation into whether the EC had mishandled sexual abuse allegations.

For the next two years, Willie McLaurin served as interim president and CEO. McLaurin was under consideration to assume the role permanently until it was revealed in August 2023 that he had lied about his educational background on his resume and was forced to resign.

Iorg steps into the role of president and CEO of the EC amid ongoing challenges, including an indemnification agreement that has resulted in the depletion of the EC’s reserve funds in the wake of litigation stemming from Guidepost Solutions’ sexual abuse report.

The role is a challenge that, until recently, Iorg was not expecting to undertake. 

“Well, serving as the EC president is a surprising development in my life,” Iorg said. 

Iorg had served as president of Gateway Seminary for two decades, during which time he reinstated the school’s Ph.D. program and facilitated the school’s relocation from San Francisco to Ontario, California. 

Before receiving the call to lead the EC, Iorg was planning to retire from organizational leadership to spend more time with his family. Iorg said that after being asked to submit his name for consideration as the next EC president, he turned to his wife and three adult children for counsel. 

“Oh, how I longed for just one of them to say don’t do it,” he joked. However, Iorg said that his family encouraged him to accept the challenge. 

Recounting a message he later received from one of his daughters, Iorg said, “She said, ‘Dad, we have always been about the gospel in this family. And this is your opportunity to continue that work.’”

“And then she said, ‘Your grandchildren don’t need a grandfather at their basketball games,'” Iorg continued. “‘They need an example of a grandfather who will obey God no matter what it means.'”

While Iorg confessed that the transition into leadership at the EC has been “disorienting,” he said that he is motivated to serve in the role because of his love for Southern Baptists. 

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“Southern Baptists are a force for good,” Iorg said. “Our critics say we’re evil and corrupt, and we’re neither. We’re a big family that always will have some evil and corruption somewhere in it. But collectively, we are a force for good.”