INDIANAPOLIS (BP)–Charles W. Sullivan and his wife, Delilah, were honored Oct. 29 by leaders from across the Southern Baptist Convention and Indiana for their 12 years of service in the state.
Sullivan will leave his post as executive director of the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana next May.
James T. Draper Jr., president of LifeWay Christian Resources, said the two words that most describe Sullivan are “preacher and pastor.” In all the years he has known Sullivan, Draper said, he never lost his pastor’s heart.
“God must love Indiana a lot,” he said to the Sullivans, “to send you here.”
One by one they came. Bruce Sides, a representative of the Annuity Board, presented Sullivan with a plaque; Douglas Beggs from the North American Mission Board called Sullivan a man of humility.”
Jim Hamilton, pastor of First Baptist Church in Sellersburg and the newly elected convention president, presented the Sullivans with a book of letters from people they have known over the years. Hamilton selected two of the letters to read during the Tuesday evening convention session. The first, from Morris H. Chapman, president of the SBC Executive Committee, referred to Sullivan as “a faithful witness,” “a wise leader” and “devoted to Jesus Christ.”
The second letter, from Jack Graham, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, described Sullivan as having had a “great impact on the lives of many for the Kingdom of Christ.”
Bev Olonoh, Sullivan’s administrative associate, presented him with a collage of photos titled, “Milestones of Service in Indiana.”
In a video address, Robert E. Reccord, president of the North American Mission Board, called Sullivan a “consummate leader,” who “lights up any room” and who “shares messages worth listening to.” Reccord said Sullivan is a man who never waivers in his firm conviction and belief in the Word of God and who is “madly in love with the Savior.”
“The celebration service on Tuesday evening was not only a great blessing to Delilah and me,” Sullivan said, “but also to our three children and one of our grandsons who was present. None of us will ever forget that night.
“The special words spoken by so many will live in our hearts for as long as we are permitted to live. We never dreamed that such an evening would materialize for us. We were deeply humbled and filled with gratitude as each segment of the program unfolded.”
After a commemorative video that chronicled the ministry of the Sullivans, more guests spoke.
Anthony Jordan, executive director of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, described Sullivan as an oak tree, one that “bends in the wind but never breaks.”
“Like an oak tree you cast a large shadow,” Jordan said, “not only over the state of Indiana but also over the entire Southern Baptist Convention.”
John Sullivan, executive director of the Florida Baptist Convention, said of the Sullivans, “They are folks of clean hands and pure hearts. Their one goal in life is to serve God.”
Bobby Slagle, chairman of the SCBI executive board, expressed on behalf of the convention appreciation for the Sullivan’s love, dedication and commitment to the state of Indiana.
Finally, Glen Flowers, the SCBI’s outgoing president, prayed for the Sullivans as they begin a new phase of their life.
“Our prayer is that all who attended will be challenged to honor and serve their Lord faithfully as the days and years unfold for them,” Sullivan said. “We continue to be challenged to know his will for our lives in the next segment of our service to our Savior and Lord.
“Blessings on you for being such a blessing to us.”