OKLAHOMA CITY (BP)–Illinois Baptists’ executive director search has led to Oklahoma pastor Wendell C. Lang. The nomination is to be made by Kevin Kerr, chairman of the search committee, to the Illinois Baptist State Association’s board of directors during their Jan. 27-28 meeting in Carlinville.
Kerr said in a statement to Baptist Press, “The search committee will unanimously present Dr. Lang to what it hopes will be an enthusiastic board. The prayers of Illinois Baptists and others have sustained this task and will continue to be the foundation of moving with God into the future.”
The state association has been without an executive director since Bob Wiley resigned in 2001 and moved to a church-planting ministry in North Carolina. During the interim, IBSA has been led by Glenn Akins, former director of strategic planning for the convention.
The nine-member search committee carefully considered numerous nominations and had the field narrowed to three candidates by November. After much prayer, interviews and reference contacts, Lang became the person the committee believed to be God’s man for leadership of the Illinois convention.
Lang, former president of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, has pastored First Baptist Church, Pryor, Okla., since 1989. During his tenure, the church has become one of the leading congregations in the Oklahoma convention in evangelism and mission initiatives. It ranks as the number one church in Oklahoma in percentage of gifts to the Cooperative Program among churches with 1,000 or more members.
Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma Executive Director Anthony Jordan said of Lang, “Wendell is a consensus builder. He has the ability to bring people around him and move toward the right mission. He is loved and respected in Oklahoma. He served as our convention president and was a very effective leader. His passion is the local church, evangelism and missions. We are very proud of him and believe he will serve Illinois Baptists very well.”
Besides serving as state convention president, Lang served the Oklahoma convention in various leadership roles, including trustee of Oklahoma Baptist University, pastor’s conference president and second vice president. He also served on the convention’s strategic planning committee in 1993, which facilitated the reorganization of the BGCO into teams as opposed to departments.
Lang has served in the Southern Baptist Convention as a member of the Credentials Committee and Tellers Committee and as a trustee of the former Home Mission Board (now North American Mission Board) and the Annuity Board.
While serving on the Home Mission Board, Lang was selected to serve on the transition team that represented the interests of the North American Mission Board when the Home Mission Board, Brotherhood Commission and the Radio and Television Commission were merged.
Lang and his wife, Pam, have a son, Lance, and a daughter, Leah Allison.