NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–The Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee has tapped a retired Army colonel with extensive experience in the U.S. Department of Defense as “the man who can chart the course for the Cooperative Program.”
Col. Robert D. (Bob) Rodgers, U.S. Army, Ret., was elected June 20 to serve as vice president for Cooperative Program, charged with the task of ensuring continued record giving amounts while reversing the decline in giving percentages from churches.
Morris H. Chapman, president of the Executive Committee, said in his recommendation to EC members that he identified the greatest need within the Cooperative Program as “strategic short-term action coupled with long-term planning that will put the Cooperative Program on a track to remain the strong financial lifeline for Southern Baptist missions and theological education it has been for the last 80 years.”
“Bob Rodgers is the man who can chart the course for the Cooperative Program,” Chapman said. “He is a man of deep devotion for our Lord and his family. He serves as the chairman of deacons in his present church. He biblically tithes of the first fruits, embraces the Baptist Faith & Message and believes the Bible is God’s inspired, infallible and inerrant Word of God.
“Having worshiped and served in Baptist churches wherever he was stationed throughout his career, he has a genuine love for missions and missionaries,” Chapman said.
For the past 11 years, Rodgers served as a principal at Booz Allen Hamilton, a worldwide management and technology consulting firm.
“Serving as a consultant in the defense industry requires strong interpersonal relational skills and keen analytical and writing skills,” Chapman noted.
Before joining Booz Allen Hamilton, Rodgers served 28 years in the U.S. military, including such positions as chief of staff of the 3rd Armored Division, chief operations officer of the 1st Infantry Division and deputy for joint affairs in Headquarters, Department of the Army.
Raised in Cookeville, Tenn., Rodgers earned a BBA from the University of Miami and a master’s in management and administration from Webster College in Chicago. He also is a graduate of both the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and the U.S. Army War College.
During a tour in Vietnam, Rodgers said, he first felt God prompting him to serve Him in the military. Now Rodgers believes he is being called to head Southern Baptists’ unified giving plan for national and international missions and ministries.
“If the SBC did not have its Cooperative Program, it would invent one out of necessity,” Rodgers said. “The SBC’s Cooperative Program is one of our country’s greatest success stories of large-scale interdependence. The only other large organization that operates with this style of interdependence is the U.S. military, and it is significantly smaller than the SBC and by no means is financially interdependent.”
Rodgers and his wife, Shirley, have three daughters and six grandchildren.
Executive Committee bylaws require employees hired or promoted to executive staff level to be approved by the committee. Any executive staff members selected and employed between regularly scheduled meetings of the committee serve as interim staff members until their employment is approved. Rodgers began work as interim vice president June 1.