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SBC DIGEST: New D.C. convention exec; Ouachita VP to lead Ark. higher ed; Children’s Ministry Day

Robert Cochran to lead DCBC convention

WASHINGTON (BP) — Robert Cochran, a 20-year staff member of the District of Columbia Baptist Convention, has been elected as the new executive director/minister of the 155-church convention aligned with American Baptist Churches USA, the Progressive National Baptist Convention and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Cochran, 60, the DCBC’s associate executive director, will succeed Ricky Creech, who led the convention from 2011-14.

Cochran was elected by the DCBC board of directors during a special called meeting Jan. 15 and will begin his new duties in mid-February.

Cochran joined the DCBC staff under appointment by the SBC’s former Home Mission Board (now North American Mission Board) as director of missions/evangelism. The Cochrans previously served as missionaries in Europe under the former Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board). He served as a theological education coordinator and general evangelist/pastor based in Belgium.

A native of Baytown, Texas, Cochran holds Ph.D. and M.Div. degrees from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., and an undergraduate degree from Howard Payne University in Brownwood, Texas.

Search committee chairman James Tiefel, pastor of First Baptist Church of Camp Springs, Md., said in a DCBC news release Jan. 28, “Following an extensive nationwide search, God ultimately led us to one of our own. Having worked with this convention for 20 years, Dr. Cochran brings a wealth of knowledge and understanding of our churches and our challenges. We are looking forward to what God has in store for DCBC through Dr. Cochran’s leadership.”

According to the DCBC news release, Cochran’s work over the years, in addition to the convention’s churches and leaders, has involved denominational partners, church revitalization and church planting, immigrant congregations, mentoring for former prisoners, disaster relief, community groups and mission projects in Haiti and elsewhere.

Cochran has served on various Baptist World Alliance committees and currently is the treasurer of the BWA’s North American Baptist Fellowship.

Creech, the former DCBC exec who previously was a director of missions in Birmingham, Ala., became president of Buckhorn Children & Family Services in Buckhorn, Ky., in November.

Ouachita VP to lead Ark. Dept. of Higher Education
By Trennis Henderson

ARKADELPHIA, Ark. (BP) — Brett Powell, Ouachita Baptist University’s vice president for administrative services, has been named director of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education effective Feb. 9.

Powell, 47, was selected for the statewide post Jan. 30 by the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board. As a member of the governor’s cabinet, he will serve as an advocate for higher education. He succeeds Shane Broadway who has accepted a position as vice president for government relations for Arkansas State University.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in a press release, “I’m pleased with the choice and I’m pleased with the way the board conducted the selection process. I have no doubt that Dr. Powell will do a great job leading a department so crucial to the future of Arkansas.”

Powell, who has served at Ouachita since 2006, previously was associate vice chancellor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and director of financial services at the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service.

Ouachita President Rex Horne said Powell was his first administrative hire.

“He came to us at a crucial time,” Horne said. “I could not be more grateful for Brett’s years of service and dedication to Ouachita. He has had input in so many vital areas of importance in all things Ouachita. He will be missed, but we all can be proud of his contributions that will continue.”

Powell said, “What a privilege it has been to serve at Ouachita and to play a small part in a number of positive changes that have occurred in recent years.

“While I am tremendously excited about this new opportunity, I know it means leaving behind an institution and, more importantly, the faculty, staff and students who make the institution special, that I will truly miss,” Powell said. “I will always treasure my time at Ouachita, both for the rewarding work completed and for the lasting friendships gained.”

As Ouachita’s vice president for administrative services, Powell has directed the Arkadelphia campus’ accounting, budgeting, investment management, payroll, human resource services, facilities planning and management, purchasing, information technology, risk management, student financial services and auxiliary services. He supervised such major campus construction projects as the Student Village residence halls completed in 2009 and Cliff Harris Stadium dedicated in 2014.

In addition to his work at Ouachita, Powell chairs the Benchmarking Committee of the Southern Association of College and University Business Officers and is the past president of the Arkansas Association of College and University Administrators.

Powell holds a doctorate in higher education administration and a master of business administration degree from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and an undergraduate business degree from the University of Louisiana, Monroe. He also holds an Arkansas license as a certified public accountant. Powell and his wife Stacey have one daughter, Chandler, who is a junior at Ouachita.

Children’s Ministry Day slated Feb. 14
By Julie Walters

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP) — On Feb. 14, thousands of children across the country will participate in the eighth annual Children’s Ministry Day in a concerted effort to reach out to their communities and share the love of Christ through hands-on missions projects.

“This year’s theme, ‘All for You,’ can help girls and boys recognize that everything they do … can be done in a way that proclaims the love of Jesus,” said Heather Keller, children’s ministry consultant for national WMU, sponsor of Children’s Ministry Day.

The outreach is “the perfect opportunity for children’s leaders and parents to help children realize they can make a difference in their community, association, or across the state as they actively minister and share God’s love,” Keller said.

In 2014, children’s groups were encouraged to find ways to reach across generational lines and minister to and with members of different generations under the theme ‘GenerationReach.’ Keller said nearly 1,500 children and more than 600 leaders and parents ministered to approximately 5,700 people on Children’s Ministry Day last year.

Churches leaders reported some of the creative ways children participated:

— “Our Children in Action collected gloves, socks, hats and personal care items for the Samaritan House Homeless Shelter. We took the items to the shelter on Saturday.” — Bethany Baptist Church, Bishopville, S.C.

— “Our Girls in Action and Mission Friends groups collected items for goodie bags for college students who attend the Baptist Campus Ministry at USF. We took the bags on Saturday then went out on campus and did an evangelism activity. It was awesome.” — Carrollwood Baptist Church, Tampa, Fla.

— “Our RAs and GAs prepared Valentine cards and treat bags for the residents of an assisted living residence. Our boys and girls sang several favorite hymns, read Scriptures, prayed and visited with the residents. They were asking when we would be back.” — West Jackson Baptist Church, Jackson, Tenn.

Since its inception in 2008, tens of thousands of children and their leaders have ministered through Children’s Ministry Day, which coincides with Focus on WMU week each February.

Resources for Children’s Ministry Day include a promotional pack that features a general outline, ideas and resources for promotion, two pages of project ideas, learning activities. To order, go to www.wmustore.com or call WMU Customer Service at 1-888-422-7032. T-shirts for Children’s Ministry Day 2015 are available from Lifeway Specialty Imprints. Visit www.lifeway.com/specialtyimprints or call 1-800-443-8032 to order.

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