January 14, 2003
JEFFERSON CITY — Jesus’ healing of the paralytic in Mark 2:1-12 has special significance to Roy Spannagel.
Polio ravaged his body when he was but seven years old, leaving him completely paralyzed, unable to even speak.
It was 1953 and there he was, laying in a hospital bed – alone – able to only stare in terror at his distraught and helpless parents were restrained, held at the room’s entrance because of the highly contagious nature of the disease.
"It is a horrible thing when you are mentally well but you cannot move or speak," Spannagel recalled. "But God was gracious to me and raised me up. I was raised –just like the paralytic – by God’s love and by people praying for me."
A short time later "Jesus Christ became my Lord and Savior," he continued. "At the age of 11, during a revival meeting in our church, God called me to serve Him."
Today, at 56, Spannagel is healthy and is as excited about the new ministry God has given him as he has been about any since he was first ordained into the Gospel ministry at Pettit Baptist Church in Gustine, Texas, in 1967.
Spannagel was recently named one of four new associate executive directors by David Clippard, executive director of the Missouri Baptist Convention. Clippard’s passion for evangelism and church planting is well known (he wants the convention to eventually plant 100 new churches in a year) and those close to Clippard have known that whomever he placed in leadership over those ministries would be appropriately gifted.
That person is Roy Spannagel.
As head of the church outreach team he will oversee all evangelistic, church planting, and mission work by the convention. Clippard has also said that the convention will place greater emphasis on ethnic ministries, particularly in the inner parts of St. Louis and Kansas City.
Ethnic ministry is nothing new to Spannagel, having served among the Eskimos as director of evangelism/church growth for the Alaska Baptist Convention from 1996 until 1999.
"I’m very excited about Roy being here," Clippard said. "He brings a vast array of ministry experience to the convention. He’s pastored small churches, been a director of missions, served as a missionary in Canada, held a leadership post at another state convention, and been on staff at a mega-church. He has served in virtually every area of Southern Baptist life."
Indeed, Spannagel has pastored six churches, most recently First Southern Baptist Church, Pueblo, Colo., from 1981 until 1989 when he became director of missions for Midwest Baptist Association, Alberta, Canada.
He left Alberta in 1996 to begin his ministry with the Alaska Baptist Convention and eventually became associate pastor at Riverside Baptist Church, Denver, Colo., where he served from 1999 until his arrival at the MBC Jan. 6.
A 1969 graduate of Howard Payne University with a Bachelor of Science degree, he went on to obtain a master of divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1972.
"Another area in which Roy will be invaluable is working with our directors of missions," Clippard said. "He will work with the DOMs to ensure that the convention is being responsive to our churches."
Spannagel and his wife of 34 years, Weida, have three children, Shane, Shana and Shad.
Shana and her husband, Ed, serve with the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. Shane is with the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma and Shad is a student at Southwestern with plans to serve on the foreign mission field as well.
"The fruit produced by his family tells you a lot about Roy and his home life," Clippard said.
Spannagel said he and his family have faithfully served the Lord and in turn the Lord has blessed.
"Weida has been my lifetime partner in ministry, and we have been faithfully following His call wherever He has led us," he said. "Together we involved our children in ministry with us and now all three of them are married to Godly mates and are faithfully serving God.
"I just want to tell people about Jesus. I want to love them and I want to be an encouragement to them," he said.