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Yeats addresses MBC for final time as executive director

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (BP) – John Yeats, executive director of the Missouri Baptist Convention since 2011, addressed Missouri Baptists for the final time in that role Monday (Oct. 23) at the convention’s annual meeting.

Chris Williams, MBC president and pastor of Fellowship Church in Greenwood, Mo., introduced Yeats, calling the evening “a historic moment to celebrate the redeployment of a man of God.”

“You are a loved couple,” Williams told Yeats and his wife Sharon, who stood on the stage together.

“You came to Missouri in a time of upheaval. … And over your past decade plus of service, as you have labored for His glory and for the flourishing of Missouri Baptists, we are a unified, Bible-believing, Gospel-preaching, Spirit-filled group of people.”

Until last year, Yeats also served as the Southern Baptist Convention’s recording secretary for 25 years.

‘Attentive to every detail’

Yeats called his chance to address Missouri Baptists once more “a moment I will cherish all my days.” He used his time to remind them that God is faithful, no matter what.

“Every day we are surrounded by hurting people,” he said. “Hurting people aren’t always found at the hospital. … Some are in our pews. …

“Yet we know in the Word of God that this is the fertile soil where God delights to do a new thing. In our brokenness and our insufficiency, our amazing God has ways of showing Himself so mightily. All the power of almighty God is ours in our time of need.”

Yeats relayed his own experience in trusting God through his wife’s cancer journey of recent years.

“In everything, our Lord is attentive to every detail,” he said. “This means that my attentive God is there when I’m holding the hand of my precious wife and I hear an oncologist say, ‘There’s a small spot on your brain.’

“These words rocked our world. We knew it might come, but we didn’t want it now. …

“After our emotions subsided, our faith says that our Lord Jesus is enough. We can trust Him. His actions are motivated by His goodness and His love. It is our God who has a long view of what is going on in life.”

Yeats said while it may be easy to focus on temporal things, that is not the goal for believers.

“Our prize is the high calling of God…,” he said. “It is not measured by earthly values, not measured by our performance. The prize is already ours in Christ Jesus. He is the prize, and we are His. And He is ours, and we are called by His name.”

Yeats closed by thanking Missouri Baptists.

“You have touched our lives,” he said. “And I hope in some small way, we’ve been able to touch your life. And the Lord has flourished in our midst.”

New executive director

Annual meeting attendees also heard from the MBC’s new executive director, Wes Fowler.

“It’s an understatement to say that I am honored and excited and humbled and probably a little bit scared to death to accept this new role,” Fowler said.

“My goal will be to become in time the No. 1 servant in Missouri. I want to serve our pastors and our churches and our entities and … our Missouri Baptist missionaries.”

He asked Missouri Baptists to pray for the Lord to give “wisdom and discernment and conviction and clarity.”

“But above all else,” he said, “let’s pray for the lost. Let’s pray for the perishing. Let’s pray for those who need salvation. Let’s pray for the Lord to send laborers into the harvest.”

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