By Bob Allen
Rob Fox, field coordinator for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Virginia since 2009, is stepping down at the end of August to become vice president of institutional advancement at Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond.
Fox, a BTSR graduate who worked there previously as director of admissions from 2001 to 2006, begins his new job Sept. 1, but he will return to provide leadership for the CBFVA 2015 General Assembly Friday, Sept. 18, at Mechanicsville Baptist Church.
Fox, who stepped down last year after more than 10 years as pastor of Mount Hermon Baptist Church in Milford, Va., also worked in the past as director of the ministry fund at Union Presbyterian Seminary from 2006 to 2009.
In a news release, Fox described his stint with the CBF as “one of the greatest joys and honors of my professional life” and said his return to BTSR “feels like coming home.”
“This new call will allow me to remain connected and engaged within our Baptist family,” Fox said. “BTSR has turned a corner, and together we are poised to build an exciting future.”
BTSR President Ron Crawford said he is “very excited” about Fox joining the seminary’s administrative team.
“He is uniquely gifted for this role, and we look forward to a new and exciting chapter in the seminary’s advancement efforts,” said Crawford, a former pastor who has led BTSR since 2007. “Rob’s employment coincides with the growing health and strength of the seminary.”
Opened for classes in September 1991, Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond was originally launched by the Alliance of Baptists to preserve the academic tradition of Southern Baptist Convention seminaries that were moving toward fundamentalism. Today it is one of 15 theological education partners of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and is a shared ministry of the Baptist General Association of Virginia.
In 2011 the board of trustees voted to sell the BTSR campus, purchased in 1996 for $1.9 million from the Presbyterian School of Christian Education, in a move aimed at both broadening BTSR’s mission and achieving financial stability.
Aided by a $1 million gift from Eula Mae and John Baugh Foundation of San Antonio, Texas, the school relocated to a new campus in 2013 and launched Forward Together, a $1 million matching gift campaign created by supporters pledging $500,000 to be matched by other donors on a first-come basis.
Fox, ordained to the gospel ministry in 1996 by Culpeper (Va.) Baptist Church, served in ministry roles at five churches in Virginia before becoming the CBFVA’s new field coordinator, a position formed in partnership with the national CBF, on Feb. 1, 2009.
Last year the Decatur, Ga.,-based CBF increased financial support for the CBFVA, one of 18 state and regional CBF groups, to allow hiring of more staff to service some 350 CBF congregations located in Virginia.
Bo Prosser, CBF coordinator of organizational relationships, said Fox “has been a valuable part of our field coordinator strategy from the beginning.”
“Rob is a visionary with great energy,” Prosser said. “His ideas have sparked CBF of Virginia to think beyond itself to neighbors down the road and around the world.”
CBF Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter said Fox “has had such a great impact on CBF life” in his role as field coordinator in Virginia.
“His innovative leadership in Virginia and among his fellow CBF state and regional leaders has helped all of the Fellowship form together to share Christ-like love in ministry that spans the globe,” Paynter said. “We’re proud of our partnership with BTSR and pleased that we’ll be able to continue our collaboration with Rob in his new role in Baptist life.”
Dave Roberts, a pastor for nearly 40 years certified in intentional interim ministry by the Center for Congregational Health, will fill in as interim coordinator during a search for the next CBFVA field coordinator.