Mission Strategy

David Michel, Associate Executive-Director
Bill Duncan, Acts 1:8 Strategist
Ernie Sadler, Acts 1:8 Strategist
Joe Young, Acts 1:8 Strategist
Laura Marler, Ministry Assistant

The Mission Strategy Division is directed by David Michel who serves administratively with Dr. Jim Futral, Mississippi Baptist Convention Board Executive Director Treasurer, to design a comprehensive mission strategy for churches, associations, and state convention leadership. He coordinates the efforts of five departments within the state convention structure, serves as the Acts 1:8 Challenge director, works in collaboration with associational missions directors, and maintains relationships with mission leaders in key agencies of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Statewide coordinated planning for the Acts 1:8 challenge in 2014 focused on the theme: Building Blocks for Bold Disciples. New research from Curt Watke, Director of the Intercultural Institute for Contextual Missions, was presented and interpreted to all associational missions directors at Camp Garaywa during their February Retreat. The most disturbing discovery indicates that Mississippi Baptist Churches are reaching only 8.4% of the state’s population. Membership statistics suggest that almost 25% of the state’s population are Mississippi Baptists, but members that attend church at least once per month number less than 10%. Obviously, the need for bolder and more effective discipleship initiatives is indicated, and the new theme seeks to awaken us to those needs.

Our two contracted mission specialists: John Bailey, North Carolina pastor and Director of Multiplying Leaders Network; and Chris McNairy, Director of Urban Fusion Network, both completed books last year and presented their findings to associational missions directors in the September Retreat at Camp Garaywa. Bailey talked about lostness and how church and missional leaders can help disciple persons who are seeking a meaningful life through Christ. McNairy described the unique needs of African-Americans and how Mississippi Baptists can develop Gospel collaborations to bring redemptive influence into this growing sector of our culture that already includes 40% of our population.

Staff changes in the Mission Strategy Division have occurred. Kay Cassibry, 15-year veteran, and Director of Mississippi Woman’s Missionary Union, announced her retirement effective in December. Rebecca Williams was named interim director after the first of the year. She has brought stability and guidance in this key area of missions life, helping us to manage the loss of Kay’s leadership and compassion. Women have always fulfilled a significant role for Mississippi Baptists in mission support through encouraging prayer and generosity. Let’s pray for that role to be extended and expanded as we follow God’s leadership to secure a new statewide leader. Pray, also, for Marion Duncan, who chairs the WMU search process.

Jim Didlake, 34-year veteran of state convention leadership retired at the end of July. We will miss his influence among boys stretching back to Camp Kittiwake days and his expertise in managing disaster relief operations whatever the challenge: tornadoes, hurricanes, ice storms, or floods. Jim and Marlene are moving to East Tennessee to be near family and a new grandson.

We welcome Don Gann to the helm of Men’s Ministry and the mission strategy team. He was elected by the Executive Committee in June, and brings a wealth of experience from previous leadership roles as a pastor, BSU director, RA staffer, and eight years as an associate in Men’s Ministry working alongside of Jim.

Our partners in missions at the associational level have changed this past year as well. Don Hicks, after retiring from the state convention staff, has assumed the AMD role in Jasper Association. Dennis Landrum began ministry in the X-tended Missions Network, following Jay Lemonds’ call to international missions. David Hayes has succeeded Scott Walters in leading Smith Association, and Robert Rowzie is serving Newton Association as pastoral care leader.

Our state mission offering is the primary funding stream for important initiatives like volunteer missionaries, church planting, community evangelism projects, cross-cultural, and compassion ministries. Last year the offering slipped below $2 million, but the needs of lostness and the number of missional leaders continue to increase. In the 2014 Margaret Lackey emphasis, Mississippi Baptists are challenged to trust God when He promises: “I Will Give You A New Heart,” Ezekiel 11:10. God can unify our hearts in a mighty display of generosity and missional effectiveness when we follow His Spirit in obedience and compassionate service. Pray that our hearts will be renewed and our enthusiasm refreshed by His life-changing energy!

2015 Black Church Leadership Conference: July 16-18


Click here to register.

Contact Information

Ministry Assistant, Mission Strategy
 P.O. Box 530 Jackson, MS 39205
Fax: 601.714.7416