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Michael Stroope launches new missions enterprise

ARLINGTON, Texas (BP)–Michael W. Stroope, Cooperative Services International area director under the Southern Baptist International Mission Board from 1992 until July of this year, has initiated a ministry to increase local church involvement in evangelizing the world’s unreached people groups.
Joining Stroope and his wife, Kay, in the new organization, “All Peoples,” will be B. Mark Morris, currently the IMB’s regional leader for Central and Southern Asia, who was named to the post July 1, and Morris’ wife, Cynthia.
Stroope, 46, has been with the IMB 20 years; Morris, 39, for 14 years.
In an IMB reorganization earlier this year, Cooperative Services International, or CSI, was discontinued as a separate IMB entity. Its strategies now are to be utilized as needed in the new 14 regions the board has adopted for its global work. The Stroopes have been on furlough since the reorganization; he currently is a scholar-in-residence at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas, and writing a book on 21st-century missions.
All Peoples, Stroope told Baptist Press, will focus on “serving local churches and networks of churches through mobilization and equipping in order to radically impact the achievement of the Great Commission.”
Stroope said his resignation from the IMB “is not a protest. We affirm what the IMB is doing. What we want to do is cooperate and augment what they are doing. Our overarching concern in beginning All Peoples is that we might mobilize as many people possible through whatever means possible.”
In an earlier interview with the Virginia Baptist newsjournal Religious Herald, he had said All Peoples will “help build awareness, consult with churches, train their missionaries, have people on the field to help those the church deploys, and provide services so that church-based teams can fulfill their mission.”
Stroope said All Peoples eventually may have 20 employees; its home base is yet to be decided.
Officials at the Richmond, Va.,-based IMB had not issued comment on the Stroopes’ and Morrises’ resignations Nov. 25.
Stroope recounted meeting recently with IMB President Jerry Rankin to discuss All Peoples, saying, “I told him I wanted to cooperate and to add weight and value to the strategies that are continuing on the field and did not want to be a competition of any sort.”
Stroope said he submitted a letter of resignation to the IMB on Oct. 31, with an effective date of March 31, 1998. The resignation has not yet been acted upon by the board’s trustees.
Morris’ administrative responsibilities are now being transferred to another individual, according to board officials. In his Nov. 22 letter of resignation, he stated he will officially leave the IMB staff in March 1998. Morris’ resignation also has not yet received board action.
The Stroopes and Morrises also will be joined in their new ministry by David and Mary Carpenter, who have announced they will leave their positions in mid-January as IMB field workers in central and southern Asia, where they have worked since 1992.
Stroope, a native of Odessa, Texas, and his wife, a native of Baird, Texas, were appointed as Southern Baptist missionaries to Sri Lanka in 1977.
In 1986, Stroope joined the IMB’s Richmond, Va.,-based staff first as a consultant in the missionary enlistment department, then six months later becoming career orientation director at the board’s Missionary Learning Center in Rockville, Va.
In 1988, he and his wife were among the first Cooperative Services International representatives appointed by the IMB. From a base in Munich, Germany, they ministered to the Kurds in Turkey and Iraq.
In 1990-92, Stroope served as CSI’s western region coordinator, based in London, until becoming CSI area director in 1992.
Stroope, a graduate of Hardin-Simmons University, Abilene, Texas, earned master of divinity and doctor of philosophy degrees in missions from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas.
Morris, a native of Memphis, Tenn., has been a Cooperative Services International worker in Central Asia since 1989. He and his wife were appointed as missionaries in Portuguese-language work in 1983, taking language study in Portugal from 1984-85 and engaging in general evangelism in Cape Town, South Africa, from 1986-89.
Morris is a graduate of the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, who earned a master of divinity degree from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, Mill Valley, Calif., and a doctor of ministry degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Ky.