EDE, THE NETHERLANDS — George Bullard, a frequent consultant to denominational entities and strategic coordinator for the Columbia Partnership, will become General Secretary of the North American Baptist Fellowship (NABF), beginning August 1.
The position has been vacant since January, when Alan Stanford, who had held the position for eight years, announced his resignation. The NABF executive committee tapped Bullard for the position during a meeting in June, but delayed making a public announcement until the BWA’s annual gathering, currently underway in Ede.
The NABF is one of six global regions affiliated with the Baptist World Alliance (BWA). Each region’s general secretary also serves as a “regional secretary” within the BWA, representing his or her area as a non-voting member of the General Council. Bullard was introduced to NABF members attending the BWA’s annual gathering during a fellowship meeting July 29.
NABF president David Goatley, executive secretary-treasurer of the Lott Carey Baptist Foreign Missionary Convention, affirmed Bullard as one who “brings years of experience, insight, and the capacity to help us to function more effectively in the 21st century.”
Bullard told Baptists Today the role “aligns with my passion for the Baptist World Alliance, my passion for the vitality of denominational organizations, and my desire to help Baptist organizations reach their full kingdom potential.”
When presented to the NABF fellowship meeting July 29, Bullard called it a privilege to accept the responsibility. He noted that previous NABF general secretaries have also been on staff with BWA, and had access to BWA’s office staff and resources for assistance. The NABF now needs “to become more autonomous and stand on its own feet,” Bullard said. That includes a need to increase the organization’s budget more than twofold, to about $40,000 per year.
The NABF consists of about 35 conventions and denominational organizations representing about 18 million Baptists in the United States and Canada. It was a primary sponsor for the “New Baptist Covenant” initiative, which began with a national meeting in Atlanta in January of 2008, and continues through regional meetings.
The general secretary position is considered part-time, but is broad in scope. Bullard’s primary responsibility within the organization will be “to facilitate communication, collaboration, and networking among the Baptist organizations in North America,” according to the job description. “The goal is to bring everyone to the table to whatever degree possible –- not only to talk with one another, but also to cooperate in mutually beneficial ministries whenever possible.”
Externally, the general secretary represents the NABF to the BWA, along with its regions and member bodies. Bullard is very familiar with the BWA, having served as a consultant to the organization during a long revisioning process that began in 1998 and culminated in a series of structural changes that are continuing to be fleshed out.
Bullard was appointed to a three-year term, with an option for renewal at the end of each three-year period.
Bullard recently published Every Congregation Needs a Little Conflict. A new book, Real Denominations Serve Congregations, will be released in 2010.
Professor of Old Testament at Campbell University Divinity School in Buies Creek, North Carolina, and the Contributing Editor and Curriculum Writer at Good Faith Media.