The news came down the pike that as of 1:10pm this afternoon, Missouri Baptist Convention (of which I am a part) Executive Director David Clippard had been terminated. [article here] In many ways this had been brewing for some time now. There have been various rumors of problems with Dr. Clippard both personally and professionally. Until today, however, they remained just that, rumors. The Executive Committee of the MBC, however, by a vote of 44-7 chose to remove Dr. Clippard from his position as Executive Director. That, however, is where this becomes confusing to me. Let me try to explain.
Let me say up front that I don’t really know Dr. Clippard. I have only met him once, last year at the SBC Annual Meeting in Greensboro where he was incredibly gracious to me. Having said that, in my opinion, for one to be removed from their position of Executive Director there would need to be a significant charge of moral or professional failure that can be proven in order for the removal to be justified. The EC has not given us specifics on the termination, they are promising to release “appropriate details” later this week, but they have said publicly via Michael Whitehead who is the MBC parliamentarian, that they made a “finding of lack of confidence” and as such recommended Clippard’s immediate termination. If that was where the Baptist Press story stopped I would still remain disappointed, but I would be cautiously optimistic that the committee had legitimate reasoning for their decision. The article, however, goes on to quote Whitehead as saying,
that Clippard’s termination didn’t translate into a “rejection of David Clippard and his conviction to plant churches worldwide,” adding that the same gifts and talents that attracted the board to Clippard four years and eight months ago he still possesses.
“This is a hurtful time, but not a funeral for a man and his ministry,” Whitehead told board members.”
The reality that Clippard’s failures, whatever the committee found them to be, were not significant enough to derail his ministry (which I would assume to mean that they were not moral), nor is there a problem with Clippard’s gifts and talents being inappropriate for the position, as they addressed that in the prior quote, leads me to wonder how they could find that he had failed so grievously that he must be terminated and he must be terminated immediately. In addition the fact that, according to the article anyway, the 5 person committee tasked with presenting their recommendation couldn’t even be unanimous is, at the very least, troubling to me as well.
I’ll have to admit that I’m left looking for answers.