Oklahoma pastor Mitch Randall has been named executive director of the Baptist Center for Ethics, directors of the independently run ministry partner of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship announced Oct. 30.
Randall, 47, pastor of NorthHaven Church in Norman, Okla., since 2006, will succeed founding executive director Robert Parham, who died in March after an illness. BCE directors began a search for Parham’s successor shortly after his death, culminating with a unanimous vote in mid-October to offer the job to Randall effective Jan. 1.
“BCE’s board believes our country and world need the organization now more than ever and is confident in Mitch’s ability to lead the organization into a bright future,” said Kevin Heifner, a physician in Little Rock, Ark., who leads the BCE board as chair.
Parham, at the time a young ethicist serving on staff of the Christian Life Commission (now Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission) of the Southern Baptist Convention, announced formation of the Baptist Center for Ethics in 1991 for the purpose of uniting moderate Baptists around “a new way to do ethics” different from the Religious Right.
It was among the first of several new entities that cropped up alongside the CBF in the aftermath of a schism in the nation’s largest Protestant body that pushed progressive and moderate voices aside as conservatives and fundamentalists ascended into positions of SBC leadership.
Randall, a blogger and columnist who frequently takes on social issues, pledged to continue the agency’s trajectory of upholding Baptist traditions while building ecumenical relationships with other Christians and other people of faith.
“In 1991, Robert Parham extended an important movement within Baptist life that informed and challenged goodwill Baptists to analyze, evaluate and address vital ethical issues within our culture,” Randall said. “It’s upon that solid foundation that I now have the distinct honor of working as the new executive director of the Baptist Center for Ethics.”
A native of Oklahoma, Randall served as pastor at churches in Nickerson, Kan., and North Richland Hills in Bedford, Texas, before joining NorthHaven, a congregation started as a CBF church plant in 2003. He is a graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. In 2009 he received the doctor of ministry degree from CBF partner George W. Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.
While his church is in Oklahoma, Randall has served in leadership in the Baptist General Convention of Texas. NorthHaven Church was one of a handful of Oklahoma congregations that in the early 2000s felt more at home with the BGCT than with the more conservatively aligned Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.
He has also held national leadership positions as member and chair of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty and as a regional planner for simultaneous New Baptist Covenant gatherings held across the country in 2009.
Randall is co-founder and a director of Pastors for Oklahoma Kids, a coalition formed this year to counter Christian voices criticizing public school teachers and to oppose attempts to redistribute tax dollars earmarked for education from public to private schools.
He and his wife, Missy, have two sons.