IRVING, Texas (BP)–The Southern Baptists of Texas Convention (SBTC) has tapped a global prayer strategist from the International Mission Board and a former Indiana Baptist editor as the newest members of the two-year-old convention’s staff. Carra Kumpe began her assignment of directing women’s ministries and prayer support for Southern Baptists of Texas Convention on Oct. 16, while Gary Ledbetter has been named communications director beginning Jan. 1.
SBTC Executive Director Jim Richards praised the selections by the convention’s executive board at a time when the convention is experiencing rapid growth. “With at least two or three churches joining our state convention every week, we look forward to the additional help we’ll receive from these gifted servants of God,” Richard said.
Kumpe, a native of Arkansas, accepted a post with First Baptist Church, Euless, Texas, directing their intercessory prayer ministry as assistant for church mobilization, following her husband Bob’s death from a brain tumor in 1985. In 1994, she began coordinating the Global Priority Church network for the IMB. “Carra has personalized the IMB among hundreds of churches and pastors,” said IMB President Jerry Rankin, praising her support of IMB staff and missionaries on the field.
Kumpe received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Arkansas and completed additional studies in religious education at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth. She and her husband raised three children while serving churches in Arkansas, Alabama and Wyoming where he was a bivocational pastor and she was an elementary school teacher. They also managed a structural engineering firm in Wyoming.
In his role as director of communications, Ledbetter draws upon seven years of experience as editor of the Indiana Baptist for the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana. Since 1995 he has served as vice president of student development for Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Kansas City, Mo.
Ledbetter chaired the trustee board of the Christian Life Commission from 1990-95 as well as serving on the SBC Committee on Order of Business from 1993-96. He received his doctor of ministry degree from Midwestern Seminary, addressing communication skills of ministers in his project. In addition, he received a master of divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth and a bachelor of arts degree from Criswell College, where he was named outstanding alumnus of the year in 1990.
Following seminary, Ledbetter served as associate pastor of Grace Baptist Church, Evansville, Ind., and First Baptist Church, Lancaster, Texas. His responsibilities for the Indiana convention included directing student ministries. He and his wife, Tammi, have three children.
Since its founding in 1998, the Texas convention planned to call only 10 full-time ministry staff persons for the first 1,000 churches in the new convention. “This will make the SBTC one of the smallest church-to-staff ratio state conventions in the nation,” explained Joe Davis, CFO for the convention. “Rather than hiring a large number of staff members to meet the ministry needs of the churches, the SBTC is a facilitator.”
Using a model of networking, Davis said the SBTC coordinates resources from SBC entities, mega-churches, volunteers and paid consultants, rather than building up a staff bureaucracy. “By using this model, more money will flow to SBC missions and ministry without neglecting Texas,” Davis said. “The SBTC is working to do more with less by establishing a new paradigm among state conventions.”