CLOVIS, N.M. (BP) — Baptist Convention of New Mexico (BCNM) Executive Director Joseph Bunce announced Tuesday (Oct. 22) he will retire from his position effective February 2021, following 15 years of service as the state’s lead missionary.
Bunce announced his retirement during his executive director’s report at the BCNM annual meeting, held Oct. 21-23 at Central Baptist Church in Clovis. He reminded New Mexico Baptists, “All of us are interims,” telling those in attendance that his job “has been to bridge one generation to the next.”
According to Bunce, the New Mexico Baptist mission board will begin implementing a succession plan at its next quarterly meeting in January 2020. Details of the plan have not been made available, though Bunce was clear that he would not have a role in choosing his successor. “That’s not my role,” he said. Bunce concluded by assuring New Mexico Baptists that he is not resigning from ministry, saying, “God gave me a pastor’s heart, and that’s how I’ve sought to lead you.” During his address, he expressed a desire to pastor a small country church.
In his executive director’s address, Bunce preached on Acts 28:16 and Acts 18:29-30. Expositing the text, he spoke of how Paul finished his ministry and the people he impacted along the way. “You and I may ask why the book of Acts closes [the way it does]. I believe it is because the Gospel wins. I believe God is telling us that nothing holds the Gospel back,” Bunce said.
Bunce began serving in his capacity on Feb. 1, 2006, after the mission board unanimously elected him to the post.
Previously, Bunce pastored several churches in New Mexico and Missouri. Among his New Mexico pastorates are First Baptist Church in Bloomfield, from 1993-2006; First Baptist Church in Melrose, 1987-1993; Bel Aire Baptist Church in Hobbs, 1980-1983, and Highland Baptist Church in Eunice, 1978-1980.
Bunce earned a Doctor of Ministry from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary (now Gateway Seminary) in 2000, a Master of Divinity from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1987, and a bachelor’s degree in religion from Eastern New Mexico University.
Bunce and his wife Sharon have been married for nearly 42 years. They have two sons, Micah and Caleb, and several grandchildren.