Texas IMB trustees assess Elliff’s strengths

With a dozen Texas trustees on the Board, the state is better represented than any other and many were quick to weigh in on the selection of Tom Elliff as president.

Mike Gonzales of Hurst, Hispanic Initiative Director of SBTC in Grapevine:
“The unanimous recommendation from our search committee in bringing Tom Elliff’s name to be voted by the IMB trustees at this meeting was very positive. It unified our trustees and we all had a sense of God’s presence, power and direction in this recommendation.

“Dr. Tom Elliff is a great statesman and brings a wide range of experience that will help us lead the IMB. My voting for him is as follows: he has served our denomination as president of the SBC twice, he has been on the mission field, he has pastored great SBC churches, he has served on the IMB staff and his testimony as a man of God is impeccable.”

Jay Gross, pastor of West Conroe Baptist Church in Conroe:
“Ican’t sayjust one word about Tom Elliff. It wouldhave to be two words–godly vision.Tom Ellifs a great man of God and he’s got impeccable character and leadership qualities. He’s got a vision for the days ahead, where we can go as the IMB.The Holy Spirit fell in that room [when the vote was announced]. People were excited, clapping, and praising God. We knew who it was before we got there, but when we all got together it was such a spirit of unity that everybody wason the same page.”

A. C. Halsell, member of Parkway Baptist Church in San Antonio:
“I recall a meeting several of us shared a few years back, called to address a pressing personnel problem at the time. Tom gave a few practical, and yet compassionate, suggestions on resolving the matter. That was the first indication I had that he would someday make an ideal leader for the IMB.

“Later I was able to observe him directing a missionary appointee session prior to their overseas deployment. It was evident that his listeners could profit from his wise counsel and be better missionaries for having had that experience with him.

“But I suppose what impressed me the most was the time several of us, including Tom, were on a shuttle bus to the airport following a trustee meeting. Tom engaged the driver in conversation and very soon used the opportunity to witness to the man about his need for a Savior. It was natural, unhurried, and fit exactly the driver’s circumstances. The driver didn’t make a decision right then, but it gave him the motivation to do so shortly thereafter.

“Tom Elliff will make a great president of the International Mission Board.”

Marshall Johnson, bi-vocational minister, MacArthur Boulevard Baptist Church in Irving:
“My yes vote was based on an observed consistent pattern of biblical leadership proven over a lifetime of faithful ministry.”

Nathan Lino, pastor of Northeast Houston Baptist Church:
“No doubt, you were at least surprised when you heard the name of the candidate being put forth by the search committee. With all due respect to Dr. Elliff, nobody was expecting a 67 year old. I wasn’t either. When the search began, I was expecting God’s man to be of middle age, with the perfect balance of youthful zeal and energy matched by proven leadership and time tested maturity.

“We saw plenty of resumes: insiders and outsiders, younger and older, known and unknown, obvious and not so obvious. We tried really hard to go in the direction of some candidates, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow it. We simply couldn’t come to a consensus on a single person for 18 months.

“The unlikeliest of people called our attention to Dr. Elliff and within a very short time period, the fog lifted and we had tremendous clarity for the 1st time in 18 months. A sense of freedom, laughter, excitement, joy and peace pervaded the committee. The weight of responsibility was lifted. It was a God moment. God had spoken and we had His man.

“Though the length of the process was so long, looking back, it was clearly the Lord waiting us out. Due to his age, this committee would not have considered Dr. Elliff at the beginning of the process. I think the Lord waited us out until we were ready for His man.

“We did not settle for Dr Elliff. He is not a compromise candidate. The men and women of the search committee have too much integrity to bring out a compromise candidate. We would have disbanded before we did that. We sincerely believe Dr. Elliff is God’s man for such a time as this.

“Dr. Elliff’s wide ranging ministry experiences have prepared him to lead the IMB during such a unique time as this. With a major reorganization underway at the IMB, shifting winds in the SBC?most notably the GCR?and churches becoming more selective in the allocation of their resources, our organization is experiencing a changing environment. Dr. Elliff has been seated on every side of the table and is well equipped to navigate our changing world and SBC landscape. Southern Baptists can expect great things to come at the IMB under Dr. Elliff’s administration.”

Nathan Lorick, pastor of First Baptist Church in Malakoff:
“Dr. Elliff is God’s man for such a time as this! His integrity is unquestionable. His leadership is proven. His heart for the nations is contagious. His passion is evident. I believe God has anointed Dr. Elliff to lead us into the greatest and most fruitful days we have ever known as the IMB. To God be the glory for bringing us a hero of the faith to lead the way to reaching the world with the gospel.”

Byron McWilliams, pastor of First Baptist Church in Odessa:
“Upon first hearing about Dr. Elliff, and knowing how diligently the committee has worked, I knew immediately he was God’s man for this hour in the history of the IMB. Dr. Elliff brings proven SBC leadership, conservative theology, a missionary heart and a willingness to make necessary changes to take our mission-sending organization to the next level.

“He does not just talk about prayer, he is a man of prayer. I unequivocally support Dr. Tom Elliff as my new president and am honored to serve alongside him as an IMB trustee.”

John Mann, pastor of LaJunta Baptist Church in Springtown:
“It was with great joy that I cast for Tom. There are at least four key reasons that I think Dr. Elliff is the man to lead Southern Baptist missions at this point in time:

“1) Above all, he is a man of God who has a great heart for prayer. Tom understands that it is a spiritual battle that we are engaged in. He knows that darkness is engaged and souls are won only as we pray.

“2) He is uniquely qualified. He is regarded as a theologian, which will be of tremendous benefit as we seek to strengthen the future of the work on the field. As a missionary, he can identify with the challenges of those who are in the hardest regions of the world. As a pastor, he is a gifted communicator who will be able to connect the IMB to the local church. Tom’s experience as being a theologian, pastor, and missionary make him uniquely

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