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Gus Suarez joins Midwestern faculty

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP)–Gustavo V. Suarez has resigned as executive director-treasurer of the Northwest Baptist Convention to join the faculty of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Suarez, 52, had led the Northwest convention, encompassing Washington, Oregon and northern Idaho, since March 2005.

He was elected by Midwestern’s trustees March 19 as professor of church planting and director of the Nehemiah Project internship program at the Kansas City, Mo., campus.

“Gus Suarez is a tremendous Christian and equipper whose credentials are impeccable,” MBTS President R. Philip Roberts said. “His skills and experience in the area of church planting will be a great contribution to Midwestern.”

The Nehemiah Project is a program in which the North American Mission Board funds a professor of church planting at each SBC seminary to assist in the education and coordination of Southern Baptist church planting in North America. Interns in the program receive assessment, training, mentoring and deployment support toward planting a church.

“We value our shared vision and partnership with NAMB through the Nehemiah program,” Roberts said. “It is our prayer that together we will continue to place highly trained church planters on the field to start churches on the cutting edge of the Great Commission throughout North America. Gus Suarez will continue to make the Nehemiah program the premiere church planting emphasis in seminary education in America. All of our SBC seminaries rejoice in this vital training emphasis.”

Prior to leading the Northwest convention, Suarez had been director of the Baptist Convention of New Mexico’s missions division since 1997. He served the previous five years as the convention’s language missions director and seven years as an SBC Home Mission Board (now North American Mission Board) language catalytic missionary and ethnic leadership development instructor at Boyce College at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.

Suarez is a monthly columnist for BP en Español, the Spanish-language service of Baptist Press, the SBC’s news service, and author of the book “Connections: Linking People and Principles for Dynamic Church Multiplication.”

In the Northwest convention, William O. Crews, retired president of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, will serve as interim executive director beginning April 1. A search committee for Suarez’ successor has not yet been named.

Suarez, a native of Cuba, completed his doctor of ministry degree from Golden Gate Seminary, in Mill Valley, Calif., in 1997. He received his master of divinity degree from Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis, Tenn., and bachelor of science degree from the University of Maryland, College Park, Md.

Rodney A. Harrison, Midwestern’s vice president of institutional effectiveness, said, “One of the most pressing needs in North America is planting churches among the burgeoning Hispanic community. As one whose first language is Spanish, Dr. Gustavo Suarez’s appointment is providential in meeting the needs of our churches, associations and state convention partners. The impact upon our growing Hispanic student population is obvious, [but] his ability to assist every student to think culturally and contextually will greatly benefit Midwestern Seminary and the Nehemiah Project.”

Suarez and his wife Diana have two children Philip, 19, and Matthew, 16.

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