By Daniel C. Houston
The director of development for George W. Truett Theological Seminary will step down from his position at the end of the month after accepting the top executive post with the Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT).
The BGCT executive board voted Thursday to select Dr. David Hardage as the convention’s new executive director. Hardage follows former director Randel Everett and will begin work in his new position Feb. 1.
“It was a personal honor, certainly, but a very humbling affirmation,” Hardage said. “They had a high-quality pool of candidates from which to choose, and I’m very honored and very humbled by it.”
Hardage will become “the most prominent voice of the convention,” according to BGCT news director John Hall. His responsibilities will include overseeing the convention staff and speaking on behalf of the convention in various capacities.
Hardage will take the reins of the BGCT following a series of changes in the relationship between Baylor and the convention, which include a large cut in cooperative program funding for Baylor’s undergraduate programs and a renegotiated special agreement between the two institutions.
Steve Vernon, BGCT associate executive director, said he believes Hardage’s selection will do nothing but improve that relationship.
“I think it will allow us to continue to have a strong relationship with Baylor University,” Vernon said. “I think his history with Baylor, his relationships with Baylor and his relationship with the convention can only strengthen that.”
While Hardage said he will refrain from elaborating specific directions in which he would take the convention until he’s had the opportunity to sit down with the executive board, he said he would work to foster the BGCT’s relationship with all Texas Baptist schools.
“I think the convention and Baylor have had a long, outstanding relationship,” Hardage said, “and I hope to see that continue and even be enhanced. But I would say that about the convention and all other institutions as well.”
Vernon, who took on many of the executive director’s responsibilities in the interim period since Everett stepped down, cited Hardage’s former role as a pastor and his involvement in other Baptist activities as reasons to expect his leadership of the BGCT will be successful.
“I think David will be an excellent executive director,” Vernon said. “I think what he brings is a proven track record of leadership in Baptist life.”
Hardage will continue working as director of development at Truett until Jan. 31.