Tolliver to take on CP responsibilities
By Allen Palmeri
April 19, 2005
JEFFERSON CITY – David Tolliver, immediate past president of the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC), is excited to be joining the MBC staff as Cooperative Program (CP) specialist.
He is a fourth-generation Missouri Baptist pastor who will be leaving the pastorate at Pisgah Baptist Church, Excelsior Springs, April 30 to help raise money for missions through the time-tested Southern Baptist system of giving. He is immensely qualified for the position, MBC Executive Director David Clippard said, because of his heritage. In fact, the roots of Tolliver’s family tree reach back to a time before 1925, to a place where the Cooperative Program was only something that Southern Baptist visionaries dreamed about.
In the 1920s, Tolliver’s great-grandfather, R.L. Maness, who started many of the churches in Franklin County, used to ride on horseback to the churches of eastern Missouri, urging Missouri Baptists to give cooperatively for the sake of kingdom missions work. Now another family member will be doing something similar in the 21st century as he drives throughout the state’s paved (and unpaved) highways to various churches.
“It does seem like a good fit,” Tolliver said.
Clippard said Tolliver knows Missouri Baptists about as well as anybody. Down through the years, he has served on the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Executive Committee from 1992-2000 as well as several national and state boards and committees. While the scope of his service to Missouri Baptists is undergoing a dramatic change, Tolliver said he is not required to step down from the board of trustees at Southwest Baptist University. He plans to serve at the next SBU board meeting May 9.
“He is just so intertwined in Missouri Baptist life there’s just no way you can’t see his fingerprints somewhere,” Clippard said. “He knows the state. He knows our people. He knows our pastors.”
Tolliver said it is hard leaving Pisgah, calling it “the finest church in Missouri.” Fred Powell, Pisgah’s pastor from 1974-1984, was voted in as interim pastor April 13.
“There certainly is some apprehension about leaving the pastorate. I have a church that loves and supports me,” Tolliver said. “The church and I are both going through a grieving process. It’s very difficult leaving this church.”
Tolliver, 54, served five years at Pisgah. Before that, he served five years as pastor of Friendship Baptist Church, California, and a total of eight years as pastor of Calvary aptist Church, St. Louis, and Oak Hill Baptist Church, St. Louis, after a merger.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to promote what I really believe is the best mission-sending organization in the world,” Tolliver said. “Like Dr. Clippard says, the Cooperative Program is the gas that fuels the engine of the Southern Baptist Convention and the Missouri Baptist Convention. Many of the younger pastors in our convention are not well-versed in the CP, so part of my job is going to be education.”
Clippard said that with the International Mission Board poised to get the Gospel to every unreached people group by 2010, giving through the CP is more important than ever. Men like Tolliver all around the SBC are going to be asked to help raise sufficient funds to send out the 3,000 additional missionaries that are needed to finish the job, Clippard said.
“Our structure is an Acts 1:8 structure to fulfill the Great Commission in our day,” he said. “We’re asking Dr. Tolliver to come and raise that banner for us, to help our folks understand the strategic missions that can be accomplished through CP and encourage additional support.”