Stephen Reeves has been named the second executive director of Fellowship Southwest and will follow the organization’s founding leader, Marv Knox, who will retire at year-end.
Reeves currently serves as associate coordinator for advocacy at the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship in Atlanta. This spring, he will relocate to his home state of Texas to begin transitioning into the new role, but he also will retain a part-time role leading advocacy efforts for CBF.
Fellowship Southwest, in turn, will hire a full-time associate coordinator — a first for the young organization.
News of Reeves’ dual role with Fellowship Southwest and CBF comes just a few weeks after Fellowship Southwest announced it had become an autonomous organization working with CBF but not being funded or managed by CBF. At the beginning of the multi-state network, Knox had been considered part of CBF’s staff.
Fellowship Southwest is a mission, ministry and advocacy organization bringing together churches of several denominations in Arizona, New Mexico, Northern Mexico, Oklahoma, Southern California and Texas. It organizes churches and individuals around shared compassion for people across the region.
With funding from the John and Eula Mae Baugh Foundation, Knox and a board of advisors launched Fellowship Southwest in 2017. It functioned alongside other state and regional organizations affiliated with CBF but in a different way because of its vast territory and its intentional inclusion of non-Baptist congregations.
Knox came to the role from the editorship of the Baptist Standard newspaper in Texas.
Reeves, who is proficient in Spanish, also has deep ties to the region and to Texas. Before joining the national CBF staff, he served as director of public policy for the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission in Austin.
He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and the Texas Tech University School of Law. He is a member of the State Bar of Texas.
Reeves also has ties to the larger Baptist network of religious liberty and Christian advocacy organizations nationwide. He previously worked as a staff attorney for the Washington-based Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, and he currently serves on BJC’s board.
He also serves on the board of Passport Camps, as well as the strategic advisory board of Good Faith Media and the Baptist World Alliance Commission on Racial, Gender and Economic Justice. He is co-chair of the Center for Responsible Lending’s Faith and Credit Roundtable. He is a former board member of Christians for Environmental Stewardship and Stop Predatory Gambling.
Reeves is married to Deborah, who is an ordained CBF-endorsed chaplain. They are the parents of three children, Kellyn, Garrett and Landry. Currently, they are members of Smoke Rise Baptist Church in suburban Atlanta.
Michael Mills, pastor of Agape Baptist Church in Fort Worth, chaired the Fellowship Southwest search committee.
“At the outset of our search process, we had to acknowledge an important reality: There will only ever be one Marv Knox,” Mills said. “We saw the opportunity for the next leader of Fellowship Southwest to stand upon the shoulders of Marv and take the movement to new heights. We began our search by looking for a candidate with a compassionate and enduring heart, an entrepreneurial and adaptive mind, a collaborative and ecumenical spirit, and the experience to boot. We have found all this and more in Stephen Reeves.”
Reeves responded by saying it will be “an honor to build upon the strong foundation laid over the last four years. I’m grateful that the transition phase will allow me to work alongside Marv Knox, whom I admire and respect immensely.”
He added: “I believe deeply in the power and potential of this ecumenical, multi-racial Christian witness in the Southwest committed to cooperative and compassionate missions and advocacy.”
Fellowship Southwest board Chair Meredith Stone also commended Reeves’ selection.
“Fellowship Southwest is at a critical juncture as we are continuing our ministries in association with CBF global while also taking steps and aspiring toward greater ecumenical partnerships within the Southwest,” she said. “Stephen Reeves is a proven leader in relationship building and ecumenical collaboration, which makes him an ideal choice to lead Fellowship Southwest into its next phase of ministry.
Knox also expressed delight with Reeves’ selection, saying he “knows and loves the Southwest, and his heart beats for our vast and varied region. He’s already familiar with our network, and he understands the issues — such as immigration, education and church vitality — central to our ministry and to our future.”
Reeves will begin the new role March 15 and will overlap with Knox over the next several months.