ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) – “I’m here to be of help. I don’t care what echelon you’re in,” Roy Fish, interim president of the North American Mission Board (NAMB), told 200 NAMB staffers during a recent introductory meeting.
By Mickey Noah
ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) – “I’m here to be of help. I
don’t care what echelon you’re in,” Roy Fish, interim president of the
North American Mission Board (NAMB), told 200 NAMB staffers during a
recent introductory meeting.
Admitting he was “a little intimidated, humbled, and
tremendously challenged” in assuming responsibility as interim
president of the agency, Fish received a standing ovation prior to the
25-minute meeting with NAMB employees, his first since being named to
the position in early June by the agency’s board of directors.
Fish said he felt at home at the mission agency,
having attended meetings there – and at the former Home Mission Board –
for 40 years.
“I’ve always had confidence in what goes on here. And, it has not diminished one bit,” he said.
Fish joked that “interim could be part of my name,”
referring to the fact that he’s served as an interim pastor at over 50
SBC churches throughout the South and Southwest over the years. He’s
currently the interim senior pastor at Castle Hills First Baptist
Church in San Antonio, Texas.
“People just don’t seem to trust me with a full-time job,” he said, joking.
Fish said serving in NAMB’s top executive post was
“one of the greatest privileges of my life. I’ll never touch anything
bigger than this.”
“When I read NAMB’s report to the recent Southern
Baptist Convention’s annual meeting, I liked what I read,” he said.
“The report said the work of NAMB will have a true impact in North
America only if we adopt a God-sized dream and God-sized goals. Then
and only then, will we leave a God-sized legacy. I like that.”
Recalling the story of Gideon, whose small band of
300 defeated an opposing army of thousands, Fish reminded NAMB
employees that to win, Gideon’s soldiers stood in their place. He noted
they also carried torches and sounded trumpets.
“I challenge you to commit yourself to be the person
who stands in his or her place – to take your belt up a couple of
notches, stay with it and be at your best. That’s my personal
responsibility and yours – to shine a light and trumpet the Gospel. And
again, that’s why I’m here – to help you stand in your place.”
George Thomasson, director of implementation in
NAMB’s church planting group, said Fish’s words were “encouraging and
energizing.” Thomasson took a class at Southwestern Baptist Theological
Seminary under Fish, who has taught evangelism at the school for more
than four decades.
Fish was also evangelism professor to Jonathan
Wilson, an associate in NAMB’s student volunteer mobilization unit.
“Ten years later, I still hear that passion in his
voice for reaching the lost for Jesus Christ,” Wilson said. “I can’t
think of anyone better to serve with us in this capacity right now.”
Laura Hodges, secretary in NAMB’s church planting group, agreed.
“I believe the servant leadership of Dr. Fish as our
interim president will be very beneficial for NAMB,” she said. “When he
speaks, his humble spirit and love for North American missions is very
Fish is a native of Arkansas, where he earned a
bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas, and M.Div. and Th.D.
degrees from Southwestern Seminary. He is married to the former Jean
Holley, and they have four children and 11 grandchildren.
He has authored five books and written numerous
articles, primarily on evangelism, and has been a speaker for
conferences, conventions and services around the world. He has been
honored with several awards, including the Charles G. Finney Award by
the Academy for Evangelism in Theological Education.