SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (BP)–Wendell C. Lang, executive director of the Illinois Baptist State Association, has announced his resignation, effective May 27, to become senior pastor of West Jackson Baptist Church in Jackson, Tenn.
Lang has served IBSA since February 2003. Previously he was pastor of First Baptist Church in Pryor, Okla., for 14 years. He also has served as pastor of churches in Farris and Norman, Okla., and in Arkansas.
“The leadership of Dr. Lang has gone a long way toward restoring confidence in IBSA among our constituents,” said Bill Weedman, senior associate executive director of the Illinois Baptist State Association. “He has treated the IBSA staff with fairness and grace. Consequently, staff morale is the best I have seen in many years.”
“I was surprised and saddened when Dr. Lang told me he was leaving IBSA,” said Jerry Day, chairman of IBSA’s executive board and director of missions for the Clear Creek Baptist Association. “Having served with him in several capacities since he came to Illinois, I know the passion he has for encouraging and equipping church leaders. Possessing a crystal-clear vision for reaching millions of lost people in Illinois for Christ, Dr. Lang has led us effectively during his brief tenure. He brought a positive spirit to our staff and all those who worked with him.
“Yet I understand he and Pam are compelled to follow the Lord’s leadership now, just as they did when they came to serve Illinois Baptists a little over two years ago,” Day said. “Like many others, I envisioned them being here with us much longer, but I am grateful for the service they gave here. I hope Illinois Baptists will join me in praying for Wendell and Pam Lang as they make the transition to their next place of ministry.”
Day noted that Lang helped Illinois Baptist leaders make various improvements in the governance model adopted a few years ago. “These changes will serve us well in the near future as the board makes the necessary adjustments needed for the staff to function effectively and efficiently on a daily basis in the absence of an executive director. The new policies will also help expedite the process as the board implements the search for the next executive director. As chairman of the board, I request that people pray for the convention officers, board of directors, and the IBSA staff as we work together during this interim period.”
Lang, in his letter of resignation to the IBSA executive board, wrote:
“Over the past few weeks it has become apparent that God is calling us to a new field of service. After much prayer, fasting, and soul searching as well as receiving confirmation through Bible promises, I have accepted the pastorate of the West Jackson Baptist Church in Jackson, Tennessee; therefore, I tender my resignation as Executive Director of Illinois Baptist State Association to be effective at the end of May. I will work with Dr. Jerry Day, chairman of the Executive Board, in any way I can to make these days of change smooth.
“Pam and I are as surprised as anyone. We would never have imagined our ministry here would be so brief. Our consolation is that God is not surprised and furthermore we are confident he led us both in our coming to IBSA as well as in our leaving. Transition is a word we have regularly used to describe the state of affairs at IBSA: transition to a new governance model, transition of new staff, and transition of new vision.
“It appears as if my role at IBSA was one of transitioning IBSA into what I believe will be a bright tomorrow. I believe that the churches have confidence that IBSA is on the right track. There is a great enthusiasm throughout our state for the Kingdom and seeing the lost saved and baptized.
“The last 2½ years have provided for Pam and me a fresh vision for reaching the world for Christ. I have personally grown in my understanding of, and desire to see, the church of our Lord expand in new work areas. Indeed, the Kingdom must expand. The vast lostness of Illinois continues to be a burden on my heart.
“I am eternally grateful for the grace and love shown to Pam and me. We will forever appreciate the investment you have made in our lives. Thank you for the privilege of serving as your Executive Director.”
Based on reporting by Dennis E. Dawson, associate executive director of the Illinois Baptist State Association. A special interview with Wendell Lang, along with highlights of his ministry at IBSA, will be featured in the next issue of the Illinois Baptist.