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Iowa Baptists tap Jimmy Barrentine as convention’s executive director

DES MOINES, Iowa (BP)–Arkansas Baptist missions ministries team leader Jimmy Barrentine has been selected as the new executive director of the Baptist Convention of Iowa.

Barrentine, 54, a former missionary to Paraguay, will succeed O. Wyndell Jones, who will retire March 31 after nearly 16 years as the Iowa convention’s executive director.

The Iowa convention’s eight-member search committee brought its unanimous recommendation to a special called session of the convention’s executive board on Jan. 6. After an open discussion of the process and of the candidate, 15 board members voted for Barrentine’s selection, with one abstaining.

Iowa Baptists became acquainted with Barrentine through their missions partnership with the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, said Leo Endel, president of the Iowa convention and a member of the search committee.

“We are greatly indebted to the fine people of Arkansas for their partnership in missions and for their gracious willingness to support us with one of their best,” said Endel, senior pastor of Southern Hills Baptist Church in Sioux City.

“God has clearly led us to Jimmy Barrentine,” Endel continued. “We see in him the hand of God preparing him for ministry in Iowa.

“Brother Jimmy brings a wealth of experience as well as an intimate commitment to the Lord. We felt especially impressed of the Lord to notice his deep commitment to international and North American missions.”

Emil Turner, executive director of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, said Barrentine “has not only believed all the Bible, but he has lived and worked consistently with Scripture and therefore has done a wonderful job in Arkansas and will do a wonderful job in Iowa.

“We will miss him deeply,” Turner said, “but we are delighted that Iowa will benefit from his personal grace and ministry.”

Barrentine has led the Arkansas convention’s missions ministries team since 1991, working in such areas as church starting; language ministries; church and community ministries; associational ministries; and interfaith witness.

Previously Barrentine was executive director of missions for the Bowie Baptist Association in Texas, 1984-90; director of missions for the Ouachita Baptist Association in Arkansas, 1982-84; a missionary to Paraguay with the Southern Baptist International Mission Board, 1975-82; and pastor of churches in Texas and Mississippi.

He earned a master of divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas, in 1972, and a certificate of proficiency from the Spanish Language Institute, San Jose, Costa Rica, in 1976. A native of Crystal Springs, Miss., he is a 1969 graduate of Mississippi College, Clinton.

Barrentine and his wife, Joan, have two children, Daniel and Jenifer.