http://www.abpnews.com/www/1908.article Church's offering for Reccord raises questions about six-figure severance By Greg Warner Published: March 27, 2007 SALISBURY, N.C. (ABP) -- Former missions leader Bob Reccord preached a revival last week in a North Carolina church where congregants were asked to give a sacrificial "love offering" because preaching is Reccord's "only source of income" -- one year after leaving his top Baptist missions post with a six-figure severance deal. In a March 1 letter to his congregation, Rick Cockerham, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Salisbury, N.C., appealed for members to give generously to support their revival preacher. "Since he is no longer with NAMB, this ministry is Dr. Reccord's only source of income to support his family," Cockerham wrote three weeks before the March 23-25 revival. "He also is supporting his aging mother, who is in a nursing home near his home." Reccord left the North American Mission Board in Spring 2006 after allegations of financial mismanagement and conflicts of interest. While it's customary for a visiting preacher to benefit from a voluntary offering from various congregations, few itinerant ministers receive severance pay from their last job. In Reccord's case, the severance was reported to be two-year's worth of his estimated $250,000 annual salary as president of NAMB. A second letter 10 days later from Calvary's deacon chairman Kirby Sells admitted the love offering had not been successful and pleaded for more money. "Since Dr. Reccord left NAMB, he has not had a salary from anybody," the letter said. "He is totally dependent on meetings like ours for his livelihood…." Trustee leaders who negotiated the severance agreement never revealed the details. When asked in April 2006 about the report of two-years' salary, NAMB trustee chairman Bill Curtis said "there is precedent at other SBC agencies" for such a settlement. A member of the Salisbury church, who asked not to be identified, said "it makes me mad" that, after receiving a $500,000 severance from NAMB, Reccord "is now preying on small Baptist churches in our state." Asked about the letter and revival, Cockerham said he couldn’t be happier with the three days the Reccords spent with his church. “I’ve never had anybody come who was more gracious and kind than Bob and Cheryl,” he said. He said he never spoke with Reccord about Reccord’s personal finances, and he said Reccord didn’t know about the letter. Cockerham said his church always asks for “love offerings” for guest speakers, and he sent the supplication letter only to the most “faithful” members to give them additional opportunities to give, he said. “We’ve had just a very, very positive response with our people, and nobody to my knowledge at Calvary ever even mentioned anything other than a super positive response,” Cockerham said. “We were very pleased with the meeting and very pleased with the Reccords, and I was very pleased with the love offering.” Reccord did not respond to two e-mail messages and was not available by phone. But his wife, Cheryl, said the couple was not aware of the fund-raising letter. "We never discussed financial things with the pastor," she said March 26. "We focus on the positive aspects of ministry, and we hope you would do the same." She said the three-day revival provided "wonderful opportunities to minister to people and wonderful stories of people’s lives that were changed." Preaching a revival at a 500-member church is a far cry from Reccord's heyday, when he spoke to Promise Keepers crowds of 10,000-plus people and flew around the world in a private plane. His extravagant spending and self-aggrandizing earned him the nickname "Hollywood Bob" at NAMB and prompted an expose by the Christian Index newspaper and a trustee investigation, both of which led to his resignation under pressure in April 2006. They also were the subject of a tell-all book, Spending God's Money, by former NAMB administrator Mary Branson. Curtis, the NAMB chairman, declined again to discuss the severance agreement March 26. "You know I can't answer those questions," said Curtis, pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Florence, S.C. But he added "it is generally known" that Reccord received a severance. As for the appropriateness of the Calvary Baptist appeal, he said, "I can't interpose myself into a local-church situation." The results of the trustee investigation, released in March 2006, faulted Reccord for poor management, autocratic decision-making, extravagant spending on failed ministry projects, apparent conflicts of interest in no-bid contracts for a friend, and creating a "culture of fear" that prevented staffers from questioning the abuses. The trustees also said Reccord spent time and money on events and projects on the periphery of NAMB’s mission and was absent so much he couldn't provide consistent oversight "to properly manage the agency," which directs Southern Baptist mission work in the United States and Canada.