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6/4/97 New regional leader team named in FMB revitalization

RICHMOND, Va. (BP)–Taking a further step to ignite deeper passion for sharing Jesus Christ with the entire world, Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board trustees approved a new associate vice president and a new team of regional leaders June 3.
“These are people with a global vision,” said Avery T. Willis, the board’s senior vice president for overseas operations. Willis will directly supervise the new team.
“The purpose of this revitalization has been the question, ‘What does God want us to do?'” he said. “We are looking at the lostness of this world and we are willing to do whatever is necessary to reach the whole world for Christ.”
The appointments become effective July 1. Recommended by the board’s senior executive team during the trustee meeting in Richmond, Va., June 2-4, they grew out of the reconfiguration of the board’s overseas division from nine geographical areas and one non-geographical area to 14 new “regions.” The new regions encompass every nation on earth.
During their Richmond, Va., meeting, trustees also met for a special worship service to honor 65 retiring missionaries with 1,897 combined years of ministry in 41 nations. “These missionaries pass their batons to others who follow … knowing that a spiritual foundation has been laid that will enable others to continue building,” FMB President Jerry Rankin said during the service.
On the last day of the trustee meeting, 65 pastors from key Southern Baptist churches arrived to participate in a two-day Creative Access Network conference. Rankin and other leaders spoke to them about how to mobilize their churches to become more involved in international missions.
Rankin launched revitalization four months ago, declaring the need for bold, creative new initiatives and methods if Southern Baptists truly will have impact on a growing world population, including burgeoning Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and atheist segments.
Five of the 15 new key slots are filled with missionaries now with Cooperative Services International (CSI), the board’s evangelical and humanitarian arm for work where traditional missionary methods are difficult. CSI’s work will be integrated into all 14 regions and its approaches used, as appropriate, with unreached people groups in each region.
Named new associate vice president for strategy coordination and mobilization was David Garrison, now a field associate area director for CSI. Before taking that position in 1992, he directed the FMB’s nonresidential missionary program, which became an integral part of the CSI approach.
A native of Camden, Ark., Garrison, 40, will work with missions leaders in all 14 regions as they develop evangelism and church-planting strategies and mobilize Southern Baptists to bring a lost world to Christ.
“The task before us,” Garrison said, “is not unlike what John the Baptist saw when he declared, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight paths for him. … And all mankind will see God’s salvation.’ God is drawing all the peoples of the earth to himself, and our strategic role is to do whatever it takes to hasten that event.”
Willis said Garrison “is a brilliantly creative strategist committed to reaching all peoples with the gospel and mobilizing people and support to make it possible.”
Also, trustees named 12 people as new regional leaders. They are:
— Bill Fudge, 52, who will lead the Eastern Asia region, which includes the work of 349 Southern Baptist workers in China, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. He is now a missionary with CSI in East Asia.
— Mark Morris, 38, who will head FMB work in the Central and Southern Asia region, which includes more than 200 missionaries in such countries as Bangladesh, India, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Before joining CSI in 1989, Morris served as a general evangelist in South Africa.
— Tom Williams, 46, who will lead nearly 400 missionaries in the Western Pacific region, including the Philippines, South Korea and Japan. He is now field associate to the area director for Southern Asia and the Pacific. Earlier he was a missionary in Thailand.
— Clyde Meador, 52, who will head the Southeast Asia and Oceania region, which comprises more than 300 missionaries in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. He is now area director for Southern Asia and the Pacific.
— John D. Floyd, 62, who will lead the Central and Eastern Europe region, which encompasses 225 missionaries in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. He is now area director for all of Europe.
— Eddie W. Cox, 45, who will head the new Western Europe region, including 261 missionaries in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom. Since 1994, he has served as field associate to the area director for Europe from a base in Wiesbaden, Germany.
— J. Larry Cox, 48, who will lead the Middle East and North Africa region, encompassing more than 315 workers in many countries that have been unfriendly to traditional mission work. Much of the region is considered part of The Last Frontier, where the majority of people have had little or no access to the gospel of Jesus Christ because of religious, cultural or political resistance. He now works as associate to the area director in Europe.
— R. Gordon Fort, 41, who will lead the Southern Africa region, including 254 missionaries in Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Reunion, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. He now serves as an associate to the area director for Eastern and Southern Africa.
— Bill E. Phillips, 53, who will head the Western Africa region, including 336 missionaries in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo. He now serves as area director of West Africa, which is similar to his new region.
— Jon Sapp, 43, who will lead the Eastern Africa region, including 223 missionaries in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Congo (formerly Zaire). He now serves as a strategy associate to the area director for Eastern and Southern Africa.
— Robin Hadaway, 48, who will head 347 missionaries in the Eastern South America region, comprising Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. He now serves with CSI in an undisclosed country in North Africa.
— Ronald B. Wilson, 49, who will lead the Caribbean Basin region, including 293 missionaries in Colombia, Belize, French Guiana, Guyana, Venezuela and the islands of the Caribbean. Since 1991 he has served as area director for Brazil and the Caribbean.
Trustees hope to soon approve the two remaining regional leaders — for the Middle America and the Western South America regions.
FMB administrators also named most administrative associates, strategy associates and Richmond associates who will serve under the new regional leaders.

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  • Louis Moore