JEFFERSON CITY – He has been a fixture at 400 E. High St. and worked in a variety of roles for nearly two decades, but Jerry Field will retire from the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) Executive Board staff April 15.
Most recently serving as the team leader for support services, Field came to the MBC in 1996 as personal evangelism unit leader. Since then, he as also served as director of evangelism, state director of church planting and associate executive director.
“Jerry has served with five executive directors and touched just about every area of ministry, said John Yeats, MBC executive director. “He has served with excellence and faithfulness to the Convention and the Missouri Baptists we serve. We will miss his acumen for detail and historical perspective.”
Prior to serving on the state convention staff, Field pastored churches in Missouri, South Carolina, Colorado, Texas and Wyoming and earned a master’s and doctoral degree from Southwestern Seminary.
Field’s tenure at the MBC came at a tumultuous time as battles were waged over the direction of the convention.
“The sense of rancor and combativeness that was already present when I came in 1996 is gone,” Field said. “At my first annual meeting people were standing at microphones shouting back and forth at each other. It was very testy and combative. One of the greatest things that has happened over the years is the level of harmony Missouri Baptist are able to enjoy.”
The MBC executive board staff has evolved a lot since 1996 as well. When Field came, the Baptist Building housed 120 full-time employees and another 30 served out across the state. Now, the staff totals 56 full-time employees.
“Our culture has changed so much in that time,” he said. “Though God’s Word and purposes do not change, our means of relating to this new culture need to change greatly.”
But Field said one thing has not changed: the basic nature of the MBC’s mission.
“We are Missourians and we are an independent people,” he said. “But we are a people who love the Word of God and want to do the work of missions. The sweet fellowship that exists between pastors, directors of mission and laymen is unchanging.”
Field said he and wife, Sherry, will spend more time with family and travel in their first days of retirement, first to New York City and then to El Salvador to further cultivate relationships in the music community he has fostered over the years. Field is an accomplished luthier (one who makes and repairs stringed instruments) and will be able to devote more time to the passion. He said he is also open to the Lord’s leadership, should opportunities for pulpit supply or interim work arise.