Former Southern Baptist Convention president Adrian Rogers says he won’t name his own successor as pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in suburban Memphis but will monitor a national search “to make sure there aren’t any mistakes.”

Rogers, 73, who announced Sunday that he is retiring next year from the 28,000-member mega-church, said at a press conference Monday that he has ideas about a successor, but he isn’t making any names public.

“I’ve got a short list of men I think would make fine candidates,” Rogers said, according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal. “I’m not going to hand select the man who’ll follow me, but I’ll stand close by to make sure there aren’t any mistakes.”

Rogers, just the church’s third senior pastor since 1927, said he believes Bellevue needs a young pastor to be with them for the next 20 years.

Rogers has been pastor of the church since 1972, but he said he doesn’t expect his long tenure to affect the new pastor.

“This church is not built on one man’s personality,” he said. “There may be a few ‘Adrian followers’ who fall away, and, if so, the church will be better for it.”

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