Wade nominated for
BGCT executive director
___By Marv Knox
___Charles Wade, pastor of First Baptist Church in Arlington and immediate past president of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, has been nominated to be the next executive director of the state convention.
___Wade, 58, will be presented to the BGCT Executive Board at its regular fall meeting, Sept. 28 in Dallas. If elected, he will succeed Bill Pinson, who will retire Jan. 31, 2000.
___"I'm really humbled by the invitation to do this," said Wade, pastor of the Arlington
church since 1976.
___"I'm very grateful that God has given me the chance to be the pastor of a really great church for 23 years. I'm willing to leave not because we've done all we need to do here--there's lots to do and a big vision here. But I pray God will let me use what I've learned in our churches to be a good encourager to all the churches in Texas."
___An 18-member search committee has recommended Wade from a field of more than 30 candidates, reported Chairman Bill Brian, an attorney and member of First Baptist Church in Amarillo. The committee met in Dallas Sept. 14 and voted overwhelmingly to nominate Wade, he added.
___"Dr. Wade brings an extraordinary blend of experience, people skills and vision that equip him for the task," Brian said, noting the committee had met with the nominee for more than six hours during three interviews.
___"He told the committee he would lead Texas Baptists to 'dream a bigger dream,' noting success depends on the vitality of the vision and the blessings of God."
___Brian cited a litany of Wade's strengths, talents and perspectives that impressed the search committee and led to his nomination.
___"Dr. Wade said that the question for our state convention is, 'How can the BGCT empower the churches?'" Brian recalled, affirming Wade's success in empowering the congregation he has led for more than two decades. First Baptist Church in Arlington is "the flagship of mission efforts in Texas by a local congregation," he said.
___"Mission Arlington (an outreach ministry pioneered by First Baptist Church) has flourished in meeting the spiritual and human needs of thousands in the Arlington area," he added.
___Wade will encourage the convention to see every church as "a distribution point for the love of Jesus," he predicted.
___"Dr. Wade is a servant-leader who, when he was president of the convention, led all facets of the convention with dignity, fairness and in a spirit of openness," Brian said. "He sees himself as a consensus-builder, noting that people come first and strategy second in fulfilling the mission of the convention.
___"He observed the BGCT is a strong, independent body of Baptist believers. ... Dr. Wade told the committee he would try to build unity among Texas Baptists around our sense of mission and obedience to God's call, saying, 'All who want to work to achieve the mission will be welcomed at the table.'
___"Our history, he said, reflects that we have always been willing to deal straightforwardly with conflict while keeping unified around our zeal for helping the lost to be saved."
___Wade's leadership style, "not dictatorial, but aggressive," complements that historic position, Brian pointed out. "He brings people along. ... Dr. Wade is not afraid to confront opposition and to discuss differences. His strengths are good leadership, knowing what he wants to do, being interested in other peoples' opinions and being a peacemaker."
___The committee's research revealed Wade to be "without peer, tireless" in his work habits, "very much a people person," committed to self-improvement and able to "listen to criticism and learn from it," Brian reported. Wade also is "very kind, never bombastic, never puts people down," scrupulously honest, very organized and thoughtful, a mentor and a leader who is effective at building consensus, he added.
___"Dr. Wade understands our traditional Baptist heritage--that of Jesus Christ as Savior, priesthood of the believer, autonomy of the local church, separation of church and state, and believer's baptism," Brian confirmed.
___Texas Baptists' greatest strength is the nature of the gospel they proclaim, Wade told the search committee. "Texas Baptists believe that with God's help they can do anything they can dream," Brian quoted him as saying.
___Wade additionally affirmed the importance of ethnic congregations to the BGCT and to the future of Texas, Brian said. "Dr. Wade said that it is crucial that the convention respect the leadership of our ethnic churches, appreciate what these churches mean to their communities and encourage the continued growth of vibrant congregations," he said.
___ The committee also received high praise for Wade's wife, Rosemary, Brian said.
___"She and Dr. Wade always have been a ministry team," he observed. "Rosemary is an ideal pastor's wife. Charles said: 'She is the best part of what we have been able to do together. Our four children, their spouses, seven grandchildren and a church full of people know she loves them every one.'"
___In an interview last week, Wade expressed his affection for Texas Baptists and a sense of reverential awe at the task that may await him.
___"Rosemary and I really love Texas," he said. "My dad grew up in Texas and spent all his ministry in Oklahoma. I can't help but think how pleased my dad would be. ...
___"I just feel such a sense of gratitude to Texas Baptists, and I pray that I will serve well. I would ask the prayers of all our people. It's a job that's too big to do without God's help and grace."
___In late August, Wade was one of two finalists for the nomination to be the BGCT executive director. The committee initially nominated Phil Lineberger, pastor of Williams Trace Baptist Church in Sugar Land. Lineberger soon withdrew from nomination, saying he could not feel a sense of peace and God's affirmation of the nomination.
___Noting the committee previously had affirmed both Wade and Lineberger, Brian noted, "The committee and Dr. Wade both believe that Dr. Wade's sense of call in the matter was confirmed by this chain of events."
___Lineberger praised the committee's selection. Wade "will make a great executive director," he predicted. "I'm pleased the committee selected him."
___First Baptist Church in Arlington has 5,956 resident members and averages almost 1,800 in Sunday School attendance. Last year, the church gave $227,294 to the Cooperative Program unified budget and a total of $338,772 to missions.
___The church has baptized between 100 and 200 new Christians per year and received between 200 and 300 other new members per year during Wade's service as pastor.
___Mission Arlington supports weekly Bible studies in more than 200 locations with more than 3,000 people in attendance. Its ministries also include provision of clothing, food, rent and utility assistance, medical and dental care, child care, adult day care, development of employment opportunities, transportation and counseling services. More than 400 volunteers from First Baptist and other churches participate in the ministry every day.
___Wade first became a pastor at age 15. In addition to the Arlington pastorate, he has been pastor of First Baptist Church in Enid, Okla.; Central Baptist Church in Italy; Trinity Baptist Church in Baumholder, Germany; Alex Southern Baptist Chapel in Alex, Okla.; Francis Baptist Church in Francis, Okla.; Northwest Baptist Church in Woodward, Okla.; Fairview Baptist Church in Fort Supply, Okla.; and May Baptist Church in May, Okla.
___He is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University and earned master's and doctor's degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth.
___Wade was president of the BGCT from 1995 to 1997. He has been a member of the BGCT State Missions Commission, a trustee of Hispanic Baptist Theological Seminary and Dallas Baptist University, and member of the Baptist Standard board of directors. He is a member of the executive committee of Texas Baptists Committed.
___On the national level, he has been chairman of the Southern Baptist Christian Life Commission, a member of the Southern Baptist Foundation, a member of the Southern Baptist Committee on Committees, president of the Fellowship of State Convention Presidents, president and vice president of Southwestern Seminary's Texas alumni and member of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Coordinating Council.
___Wade has been moderator of Tarrant Baptist Association and involved in a variety of associational activities. He also has been a trustee of Oklahoma Baptist University.
___He has been active in numerous local civic, service and ministerial organizations. He has written widely on preaching, church life and Baptist distinctives.
___The Wades have one son, Mark; three daughters, Roshelle, Karee and Mary Robin; and seven grandchildren.
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