When I heard the news Suzii Painter had been named by the search committee of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship to be selected as the next Executive Coordinator, I must admit I was saddened for Texas Baptists but thrilled for our brothers and sisters in the CBF. In recent years the CBF has struggled on many fronts in their attempts to find the “Kingdom assignment” and their place within within what God is doing around the world.
Clearly I am not a CBF insider by any stretch, but what I do not about Suzii Painter gives me great joy about the future of this important fellowship of Baptists. I had the honor of getting to know Mrs. Painter when I served as president of the Baptist General Convention of Texas. Even though I had been a Texas Baptist my whole life, I knew little about the inner workings and vital work of the Christian Life Commission in Austin.
During my days as president I came to realize how vitally important it was for Texas Baptists to have a prophetic voice in Austin to keep before our lawmakers the claims of the gospel and the values of a Christian worldview. Suzii and her team were amazing at their work. They took on lobbyists groups that outnumbered them and could outspend them by the millions and won battle after battle like David against Goliath.
The CLC under Painter’s leadership also served as a conscious for our Texas Baptist family. She kept before us the needs of the “least of these.” Under her visionary leadership the Texas Hunger Initiative took wings and countless Texas families moved out of the world of food insecurity and fewer and fewer children in Texas went to bed hungry.
I don’t know where Suzii Painter will lead the CBF in the future, but because I know her and have confidence in her walk with the LORD, I am excited to see. The search committee needs to be affirmed for making a bold visionary choice. I pray God will use Suzii to continue to make the world a better place by living out the claims of Christ.
Suzii we will miss you!