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Cloyd Sullins, Alaska exec from 1995-2000, dies

MOORE, Okla. (BP) — Cloyd Sullins, who led the Alaska Baptist Convention from its 50th anniversary year in 1995 until his retirement in 2000, died Nov. 7 in Moore, Okla. He was 81.

Sullins, a native of Oklahoma City, also served the Alaska convention as director of evangelism/church growth from 1991-1994. He spent an intervening year as director of evangelism for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.

(Sullins’ death follows the Oct. 31 death of an earlier Alaska convention leader E.W. “Bill” Hunke. See separate obituary today in Baptist Press.)

Evangelism, in addition to marking Sullins’ ministry in Alaska and Oklahoma, also was the focus of his service with the former Home Mission Board (now North American Mission Board) in Colorado and Indiana from 1988-91.

Sullins noted in his final report at Alaska Baptists’ annual meeting in 2000 that 659 baptisms and 783 other additions had been recorded by the convention’s 66 churches and their 29 missions, 12 preaching points and numerous Bible studies during the preceding year.

Reflecting on the convention’s 55-year history in 2000, Sullins said Alaska Baptists should look back with a “holy wow,” accept the challenges of the “holy now” and plan to meet the future with a “holy how.”

In that final report, he noted that the churches that cooperate with the Alaska Baptist Convention had grown to a resident membership of 10,096 and provided $1,302,039 in Cooperative Program and various missions gifts from $9,640,777 in total receipts in 1999.

Sullins also spoke of the convention’s opportunities for advancing the Gospel in its overseas partnership in Far East Russia and expressed gratitude for previous stateside partnerships with Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia Baptists. A new partnership with North Carolina Baptists, he noted at the time, had gotten off to a promising start, with up to 700 Tar Heel volunteers expected by the end of the first year.

In 1991-1992, Sullins was a key leader in preparations for Southern Baptists’ Crossover evangelistic efforts by local and national volunteers prior to the SBC annual meeting in Indianapolis.

As the mission board’s director of SHARE (Share His Abundant Redemption Everywhere), Sullins placed priority on Indiana Baptists for the initiative to reach 200,000-plus homes in Indianapolis.

“It’s not right to ask outside groups to come in and do our work for us,” Sullins said at the time. “We expect our churches to match up at least one-to-one and go shoulder-to-shoulder with volunteers.” He led in organizing 10 area lay evangelisms schools where 400 people were trained to share their faith.

“We realize we do a lot of seed-sowing,” Sullins said, but noted, “The fruit is in the follow-up.”

Sullins led an earlier SHARE initiative while working with Colorado Baptists.

Previously a pastor for 30-plus years, Sullins led two churches in Oklahoma City — South Del Baptist Church from 1972-1987 and Victory Baptist Church from 1960-1965. He also served churches in Joliet, Ill., Midwest City and Madill, Okla., and Fort Worth, Texas.

Sullins was baptized at age 9 in 1945 at Foster Baptist Church in Oklahoma City and made a decision to enter the ministry at age 16 at Oklahoma Baptists’ Falls Creek youth camp.

He earned a theology degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth in 1960 and an undergraduate degree from Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee in 1957.

Sullins and his wife Cecilia were married 59 years. In addition to his wife, Sullins is survived by four daughters, Kellie, Karen, Valerie and Vickie; eight grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

His funeral was Nov. 10 at First Baptist Church in Moore.