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Vote on Joseph Bunce is unanimous for N.M. exec

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (BP)–Messengers to a special meeting of the Baptist Convention of New Mexico Jan. 31 elected Joseph L. Bunce as the BCNM’s new executive director. Bunce reported for duty the next day.

The nominee was presented to the convention by the executive director search team formed by the BCNM executive board in July 2004 when BCNM Executive Director Claude Cone announced his intention to retire in March 2005 after 20 years in the convention’s top post.

The number of New Mexico Baptists who registered as messengers -– 370 –- was the highest of any meeting of the convention since 1999, when the BCNM annual meeting was held in Las Cruces. The Jan. 31 session at Albuquerque’s Hoffmantown Church was held after the close of the BCNM’s statewide evangelism conference.

Bunce, pastor of First Baptist Church in Bloomfield since 1993 and BCNM president from 1998-2000, was presented as the search team’s unanimous recommendation, and messengers appeared to be unanimous when they approved the nominee in raising their yellow ballots.

Bunce and his wife Sharon were brought into the church’s auditorium after the vote and BCNM President Jay McCollum told Bunce that the vote to call him had been unanimous. McCollum then asked Bunce if he would accept the call.

“It is an honor; I accept the call,” Bunce responded.

McCollum, pastor of First Baptist Church in Gallup, then called all the ordained men present to gather around the couple for a prayer of dedication led by Cone, who is now the convention’s executive director emeritus and pastor of Monterey Baptist Church in Albuquerque.

Bunce has spent all but four of his 50 years and his 30-year ministry in New Mexico.

Before serving in Bloomfield, Bunce had been pastor of Floyd Baptist Church, 1976-78; Highland Baptist, Eunice, 1978-80; Bel Aire Baptist, Hobbs, 1980-83; and First Baptist, Melrose, 1987-93. He also led two churches in Missouri while he was attending Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Bunce is a graduate of Eastern New Mexico University in Portales with a degree in religion; Midwestern Seminary, where he earned a master of divinity degree in 1987; and Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in California, doctor of ministry degree, 2000.

During the 12 years Bunce led the congregation in Bloomfield, the church’s attendance grew from 150 to more than 900. Its giving to mission causes also grew to 17 percent, 12 percent of that to the Cooperative Program, which supports the ministries of the convention he now leads and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Bunce served on the BCNM executive board for four years, during which time he chaired its missions committee and the policy and personnel committee. He also served as chairman of the state convention’s nominating committee.

Bunce currently is a trustee of Golden Gate Seminary; he earlier served on the SBC Committee on Nominations and as a trustee of Midwestern Seminary for eight years.

The Bunces have been married 29 years. They have two grown sons, Micah and Caleb and two grandchildren.

    About the Author

  • John Loudat