ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–Trustees of the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board have called seminary evangelism professor Roy J. Fish to serve as the agency’s interim president. Fish has accepted the call and will begin his part-time responsibilities next week at the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting.
Fish serves as distinguished professor of evangelism at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, where he has taught evangelism for more than 41 years.
Approval to call Fish came during a special trustee meeting by telephone June 8. The vote was unanimous.
Board chairman Bill Curtis told trustees there are several reasons he has “confidence in Dr. Fish’s ability to faithfully serve NAMB and Southern Baptists during this season of transition.”
“Roy Fish has served as interim pastor of some of our most historic churches and brings a wealth of experience to this position,” Curtis, pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Florence, S.C., wrote in a message to fellow trustees.
“Dr. Fish also has the ability to connect relationally with people in times of change and will be able to minister to both our NAMB staff and state partners. … And, Roy Fish is synonymous with evangelism — the key ministry focus of NAMB. He will be effective in leading us back to the place where evangelism is at the forefront of all we do.”
Ted Traylor, pastor of Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, Fla., told fellow NAMB trustees, “Roy Fish is a great choice. His calling will speak a marvelous word to the convention concerning what the North American Mission Board is about.”
During the meeting, other trustees referred to Fish as a statesman, a denominational leader and “Mr. Evangelism.”
As interim president, Fish will travel and represent NAMB at state convention annual meetings, evangelism conferences and other denominational events as well as speak to and encourage NAMB staff. According to Tim Patterson, first vice chairman of the board, Fish will attend meetings both at NAMB and across North America as are beneficial.
Fish told Baptist Press, “I look forward to serving alongside the many friends I have at the North American Mission Board. My desire is to see that NAMB stays on track relative to the basic objectives for which it was initially called into existence. Though there could be other worthy objectives, the primary purposes are still to help our churches with evangelism and church planting. I will do everything I can to see that these retain the place of primacy in the board’s ministry.”
Fish is a native of Arkansas with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas. He earned both an M.Div. degree and Th.D. degree from Southwestern Seminary, where he has taught and mentored thousands of Southern Baptist pastors.
He has authored five books and written numerous articles, primarily on evangelism, and has been a speaker for conferences, conventions and services across North America and around the world. He has been honored with several awards, including an honorary doctorate from Southwest Baptist University and the Charles G. Finney Award by the Academy for Evangelism in Theological Education.
Fish and his wife, Jean, have four adult children and 11 grandchildren.
NAMB Trustee Fred Lowery, pastor of First Baptist Church in Bossier City, La., said, “Roy Fish will bring wisdom that only comes from the number of years he has faithfully served in ministry and evangelism.”