VANCOUVER, Wash. (BP) -- The Northwest Baptist Convention (NWBC) has elected Randy Adams, leader of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma's church outreach team since 2004, as the NWBC's next executive director.

More than 150 convention messengers representing about 75 churches convened April 11 for a called meeting at Northside Baptist Church in Vancouver, Wash., and approved Adams, 51, on a 154-2 ballot vote.

Adams and his wife Paula expect to be on the field by the end of May.

"There's just an excitement to me about being called to the Northwest, to this mission field," he told messengers. "We do feel like God has prepared us."

In taking the post, Adams succeeds Bill Crews, 77, and becomes the NWBC's fourth executive director in nine years. About 440 churches across Oregon, Washington and north Idaho make up the NWBC, with a $5,040,000 annual budget for regional and worldwide mission efforts. Almost two dozen full-time staff and a handful of part-time staff coordinate NWBC ministry efforts.

Adams answered a series of questions from messengers on topics such as his vision for ministry in the Northwest, organizational strategy to enhance the health of churches, leadership development, church

planting and the potential for a long tenure in leading Northwest Baptists.

The team Adams has supervised in Oklahoma comprises 80 people and includes areas such as evangelism, church planting, pastoral leadership development, collegiate ministries, partnership and volunteer missions, student missions, women's missions and ministries, associational outreach strategies, chaplaincy and community ministries.

In addition to supervising staff leading those areas, he has helped the Oklahoma convention coordinate mission partnerships with staff at the North American Mission Board and International Mission Board.

Before joining the General Convention of Oklahoma staff, Adams was pastor of First Baptist Church in McAlester, Okla., from 1994-2004. He also was pastor of two churches in Texas: Central Baptist Church in Italy (1989-94) and Fairview Baptist Church in Rhome (1986-89). He served as minister of evangelism at First Baptist Church in White Settlement, Texas (1985-86), and as director of the Baptist Student Union at Montana Tech in Butte, Mont. (1982-83).

Adams professed faith in Christ as a child and was baptized at age 16 at First Baptist Church in Whitefish, Mont. He was born in Idaho and grew up in Montana. Adams received a bachelor of science from the Montana College of Mineral Science in 1983, then moved to Texas to attend seminary. He earned master of divinity (1986) and doctor of philosophy degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife have two sons attending Oklahoma Baptist University. His parents and other extended family members reside in the Northwest.

Adams was the unanimous choice of a search committee named last summer by NWBC president Steve Schenewerk.

"It has been a joy to serve you and to seek God's purpose for carrying out our mission here in the Northwest," search committee chairman Clint Ashley told messengers.

Committee member Barry Campbell, pastor of Highland Baptist Church in Redmond, Ore., said, "We had a lot of great candidates, but we felt strongly led to Randy Adams."

Besides Ashley and Campbell, search committee members included Ben Davis, of Hope Fellowship in Maple Valley, Wash.; Leslie Toll of Smith Rock Community Church in Terrebonne, Ore.; and Jamie Sims of First Baptist Church in Beaverton, Ore. Serving on the committee ex official were Crews and Schenewerk, pastor of Community Baptist Church in Winston, Ore.

Cameron Crabtree is editor of the Northwest Baptist Witness. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

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