The Baptist Record

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Chitwood tapped to head IMB



RICHMOND, Va. (BP and local reports) – Paul Chitwood, executive director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention (KBC), is the trustee’s choice to be the next president of the International Mission Board (IMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention.

He replaces David Platt, who asked trustees in February to begin their search for the next president of the 173-year-old missions entity in order for Platt to return to pastoral ministry.

Chitwood, age 48, a former chairman of the IMB board of trustees, was elected to the top post during the Nov. 15 plenary session of the trustee’s meeting at IMB headquarters in Richmond, Va. He had been the leader of Kentucky Baptists since 2011.

“It is so obvious that God has been preparing Paul for this role in so many ways,” said Madison resident Rick Dunbar, IMB trustee chairman and a member of the search committee. “Examine his work history, denominational experience, trustee background, educational history, leadership and team-building history. Hear his heart for missions and the Lord, to be shared with the entire world. Listen to his wife as she eagerly anticipates this role and I think you will agree: We need him.”

Dunbar, a physician, said the more the search committee talked, prayed, and thought about Chitwood, “the more the entire committee has come together united in knowing he is God’s choice for our next president. He has the biblical foundation, a heart for missions and a proven track record of leading a big organization.”

Former Mississippi Baptist pastor Chuck Pourciau, chairman of the presidential search committee and senior pastor of Broadmoor Church in Shreveport, La., echoed Dunbar’s endorsement.

“Little did the presidential search committee anticipate the meandering path that would be this search. There were many twists and turns, but our commitment remained singular. It didn’t matter what path we took as long as we ended up in the right place. The right place is to locate and recommend to the trustees the person God had already chosen as the next leader of the International Mission Board.

“We are unanimously agreed that we have done just that in recommending to the IMB trustees Dr. Paul Chitwood as our next president. Dr. Chitwood is uniquely qualified to lead us into the next era of Southern Baptists reaching the nations. His missions heart and leadership acumen will serve us well in the years to come.

“I am eager to watch God work through him as he leads our international missions efforts. Yes, brothers and sisters, we did indeed arrive at the right place, and that right place is Dr. Paul Chitwood.”

For 18 years, Chitwood served as the pastor of local Kentucky churches:

  • First Church, Mt. Washington (2003-11), where he is a member.
  • First Church, Somerset (1999-2003).
  • First Church, Owenton (1995-99).
  • South Fork Church, Owenton (1993-95).

During his pastorates, he served as chairman of the IMB trustees from 2008-10, during his tenure as an IMB trustee from 2002-10. His overseas short-term mission involvement includes work in Brazil, Peru, India, China, South Africa, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Kenya, England, Spain, Germany, and Haiti.

As a pastor, his churches averaged 18.5% giving through the Cooperative Program.

Chitwood was KBC president in 2005-06; KBC first vice president in 2003-04; and president of the state pastors’ conference in 2002. He was chairman of the SBC Committee on Nominations in 2015-16. He also has served on several other state missions committees and on associational leadership committees.

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Fax: 601.292.3330