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Roesel named NAMB ‘ambassador’

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–Charles L. Roesel — who says “I exist for evangelism as fire exists for burning” -– has been appointed “presidential ambassador” by the North American Mission Board’s interim president, Richard Harris. Roesel’s appointment is effective immediately.

“NAMB is honored to have the assistance of Dr. Roesel in telling the story of North American missions,” Harris said. “Few people have the passion for evangelism as Dr. Roesel, as evidenced by his long track record, especially at First Baptist Church in Leesburg, Fla., where he had 7,000 baptisms during his years as pastor there.

“Dr. Roesel is recognized by leaders at all levels of the Southern Baptist Convention, including nationally, by state conventions, associations, churches, seminaries and other SBC entities,” Harris said. “He will greatly enhance NAMB’s focus on sharing Christ, starting churches and sending missionaries — plus the implementation of GPS,” God’s Plan for Sharing, the national Southern Baptist evangelism outreach slated to launch next year.

Roesel’s role will be to represent NAMB in speaking commitments across North America for Harris, who has day-to-day executive responsibilities for NAMB, and for the board’s senior leadership team, and to link the work of NAMB’s ministry evangelism team with state conventions and associations.

“Dr. Roesel will also work in missions advancement, taking advantage of the hundreds of relationships he’s developed through the years with people who are also passionate about North American missions,” Harris said.

“I am thrilled with the opportunity because I want to have a chance to make an impact on North America,” said Roesel, the 73-year-old pastor emeritus of First Baptist Leesburg, which he served for 30 years. During his tenure, the church’s membership rolls topped 7,000.

Referring to the recent naming of Harris as interim president and the recent appointment of former SBC President Frank Page as NAMB’s vice president for evangelization, Roesel said “it’s a new and exciting day for NAMB.”

“I believe NAMB is the Marine Corps of the Southern Baptist Convention,” Roesel said. “My concern is that if we don’t reach North America, we’re not going to have funding and personnel for international missions.”

Roesel cited an anonymous writer who once wrote, “No man can die on every cross, nor was he intended to. He must die on the cross God has laid on him.”

“God laid on each of us a passion, a magnificent obsession. The passion God placed on my heart is North America,” Roesel said. “In Leesburg, we had 70 different ministries at First Baptist Church. But to maintain all these ministries, we had to make sure the church was healthy. If not, we couldn’t sustain the other 70 ministries. We’ve got to get North America spiritually healthy if we’re going to reach the world for Christ.”

Married to the former Edna Sue Pate, Roesel has three children and eight grandchildren. A graduate of Stetson University in Deland, Fla., and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., he was ordained to the ministry in 1956.

Prior to First Baptist Leesburg, Roesel served as pastor of Coronado Baptist Church in New Smyrna Beach, Fla., and First Baptist Church in Zephyrhills, Fla.
Mickey Noah is a writer for the North American Mission Board.

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