CBF begins search for missions leader

A search committee will accept resumes through Jan. 6 for the next coordinator of CBF global missions.

By Bob Allen

A search is underway for the next Cooperative Baptist Fellowship coordinator of global missions, a key position in a period of transition for the moderate Baptist group formed out of controversy two decades ago.

The Atlanta-based Fellowship announced Oct. 23 formation of a 12-member search committee to fill a vacancy created by last year’s resignation of Rob Nash, who stepped down after six years to return to the classroom. Veteran missionary Jim Smith has served as interim coordinator.

Search-committee chair Linda Jones, missions coordinator for CBF of North Carolina, said the committee welcomes input and prayer from all Cooperative Baptists.

linda jones“We have gathered a great team that well-represents the churches, states and regions and individuals that comprise the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship,” Jones said. “We are living in new and exciting times to be on mission with God and expect to find a strategic leader as the global missions coordinator.”    

Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter, elected earlier this year after the retirement of Daniel Vestal, who led the CBF for 15 years, said she is looking forward to finding the right person for the global missions role. “Global missions is something we do together as a Fellowship,” Paynter said. “I am excited to dream together with this fine committee about CBF’s greater missions enterprise. We are off to a great start to find the person that God has prepared to lead our witness as the presence of Christ in the world.”

Fellowship officials said the search committee will assemble for the first time in mid-November. Resumes will be accepted through Jan. 6.

Other committee members are CBF staff member Ryan Clark; Bill Coates, senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Gainesville, Ga.; Arville Earl, a retired CBF field worker in Talmo, Ga.; Chris Ellis, a minister at Second Baptist Church in Little Rock, Ark.; Beverly Greer, retired missions coordinator at CBF of South Carolina; CBF moderator Bill McConnell of Knoxville, Tenn.; Michael Oliver, senior pastor at Trinity Baptist Church in Madison, Ala.; Joe Phelps, pastor at Highland Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky.; Rob Sellers, a professor at Logsdon School of Theology at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas; Rachel Gunter Shapard, associate coordinator at CBF of Florida; and Steve Wells, pastor at South Main Baptist Church in Houston.

The global missions coordinator is one of a number of executive-level leaders to transition away from CBF during the past couple of years, a period which also saw a major reorganization following a two-year study by a blue-ribbon task force appointed to increase the organization’s effectiveness for the 21st century.