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IMB trustees elect Larry Cox to top communications post

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–Larry Cox, regional leader of International Mission Board work for northern Africa and the Middle East, was elected by board trustees March 31 to serve as the agency’s vice president for public relations and development.

A native of Mississippi, Cox has served as regional leader of IMB work for northern Africa and the Middle East since 1997. In that capacity, he led the outreach efforts of 430 workers in the region, where most people have had little or no access to the gospel and many countries do not welcome traditional missionary activity.

As vice president for public relations and development, Cox will oversee the International Mission Board’s public relations, development and communications offices.

IMB President Jerry Rankin said Cox brings a remarkable combination of skills, experience and passion to his new responsibility, which he will assume July 1.

“Larry brings to this position an unusual background of experience in public relations and development,” Rankin said. “His outstanding record of leadership and teambuilding within the IMB will be an asset in directing the efforts of a large staff delegated with communicating our vision and mobilizing Southern Baptists.

“His field experience will serve to unify a stateside function with a passion for and understanding of emerging 21st-century mission strategies.”

Cox said he looks forward to the challenge of stirring up Southern Baptists to fulfill Jesus’ charge to take the good news of God’s love to all the world’s peoples.

“Our challenge is to mobilize the resources of Southern Baptists and facilitate every church and denominational entity to be obedient to the Great Commission,” he said. “A passion for church planting movements and the desire to see all the people of the world come to saving faith in Jesus Christ is the driving force behind all we do.

“We have some of the most talented folks in the SBC serving in the communications, public relations and development departments. I want to be the kind of leader who will remove any obstacles that keep the staff from being the best they can be and from fulfilling their call before the Lord.

“We will work together to develop mobilization strategies that focus on the clearly defined vision of the IMB,” he added. “We will nurture a culture of change that will enable us to stay on the cutting edge and maximize the resources and gifting of our staff.”

Cox’s election came during a regularly scheduled board meeting in Fort Worth, Texas. It followed a Global Missions Week on the campus of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and the appointment of 38 new missionaries at Travis Avenue Baptist Church.

He succeeds David Button, who resigned in January to pursue business opportunities in Texas. Wendy Norvelle, associate vice president for public relations, has been serving as acting vice president.

Cox and his wife, the former Cheryl Keathley of Memphis, Tenn., were appointed as Southern Baptist agricultural missionaries to Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso in 1975. After a stint in which he served as assistant to the president at Mississippi College in Clinton, they were named representatives of Cooperative Services International, as Southern Baptist aid organization, in 1994.

He was named regional leader for northern Africa and the Middle East after serving as an associate to the area director for IMB work in Europe.

He is a graduate of Mississippi College, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Mississippi State University and the University of Mississippi.

Prior to missionary appointment, he served as minister of education at First Baptist Church, Vicksburg, Miss.

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  • Mark Kelly