A Southern Baptist spokesman said the pastor's experience in Youngstown will be invaluable at the national level.
By D.A. WILKINSON
VINDICATOR RELIGION EDITOR
YOUNGSTOWN -- The Rev. Gary L. Frost, pastor of Rising Star Baptist Church, said his new job will be a challenge.
The Southern Baptist Convention's North American Mission Board voted unanimously Wednesday in Las Vegas, to hire the Rev. Mr. Frost, 47, as its new vice president of strategic partnerships.
The NAMB heads efforts in the United States and Canada for the nation's largest Protestant denomination.
NAMB spokesman Martin King said NAMB President Dr. Robert Reccord had praised Mr. Frost after the vote.
"He praised Gary for his character, his ethics, his passion for evangelism, and cited a number of accomplishments, including all the ministries that Rising Star is involved in," said King.
Youngstown involvement: Mr. Frost, pastor of the church since 1983, is also the president of the board of Eagle Heights Academy and a board member of the Southside Community Development Corp., which operates Oak Hill Renaissance Place.
"His experience in Youngstown will be invaluable," King said.
As vice president of strategic partnerships, Mr. Frost will oversee millions of dollars in agreements between the NAMB and the state and local branches of the SBC, promote outreach and evangelism in major cities by linking Southern Baptists and other denominations, and develop ministries to the United Nations and embassies and officials in Washington, D.C.
The denomination, which has an estimated 16 million members, is trying to reach out from its base in southern states to northern ones.
Mr. Frost said planning for outreach in major cities such as New York and Miami will take two and three years, respectively.
"A lot of work goes into it," said the pastor.
Power of prayer: Mr. Frost said that in Youngstown, he has learned the power of prayer.
"It's prayer where the body of Christ comes together with one accord," he said.
Mr. Frost has been active in the national and state conventions, and he had pushed for a racial reconciliation motion approved by the SBC in 1995.
The pastor has submitted his resignation at Rising Star effective June 16. He expects to start his new position in early July.
He and his wife, Lynette, plan to move to Alpharetta, Ga., where the NAMB is based.