Ouachita alum Jason Tolbert named university’s chief financial officer

Trennis Henderson
Ouachita Baptist University

ARKADELPHIA – Jason Tolbert, controller for the Arkansas Baptist Foundation since 2004, has been named chief financial officer for Ouachita Baptist University effective March 30. He succeeds Brett Powell, who recently was named director of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education.

Other roles held by Powell as vice president for administrative services have been reassigned to current university administrators, including Keldon Henley, vice president for institutional advancement, also supervising student financial services, and Bill Phelps, director of information technology (IT) services, being named assistant to the president for IT services and facilities management.

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Ark. native Pollard dies at 77

Willis C. Pollard Jr., 77, of Circleville, Ohio, died Feb. 4. He was born Oct. 8, 1937, in Moark, Ark., to Willis C. Sr. and Cora Mae (Verdier) Pollard. He served in multiple capacities with the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio, including as editor of the Ohio Baptist Messenger. He retired from his 26 years of service with the state convention in 2004. He also pastored Ridgewood Baptist Church in Wadsworth, Ohio, as well as churches in Texas and Missouri. He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Don Pollard and sister Joyce Pollard. He is survived by his wife, Peggy Ann (Miller) Pollard; son, Boyd (Jan) Pollard; grandchildren, Emily and Zach Pollard and Isaac Fullerton; sister, Judy Shades; stepmother, Maxine Pollard and stepbrother, Paul (Caryn) Pollard and family. Funeral service were held at Dublin Baptist Church in Dublin, Ohio, Feb. 9. Burial took place in Dublin Cemetery.


Church Revitalization theme of ABSC conf.

SHERWOOD – Men and women flooded the front of the sanctuary of First Baptist Church, Sherwood, to pray and worship following the closing message of the 2015 State Conference on Evangelism and Church Growth, which took place Jan. 26-27.

The focus of the conference was church revitalization.

Steve Gaines, who gave the closing message, encouraged attendees to learn how to pray and invited those who desired to be men and women of prayer to come forward.

“We’re beyond what man can do. … Politics can’t get us out of the mess we’re in. … We’ve got to go desperately, fervently to God in prayer,” said Gaines, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church, Cordova, Tenn. “If I don’t ever preach another sermon, I want to pray the rest of my life. … If that’s what you want in your life, come join me right now.”

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BPC chairman resigns, discusses departure of Caner, Scott

MOUNT VERNON, Ga. – A number of top leadership team members have left Brewton-Parker College in rural Georgia following the departure of the college’s controversial president, Ergun Caner.

Gary Campbell, chairman of trustees, announced his resignation Feb. 2 prior to introducing Charles “Charlie” Bass to faculty and staff as the college’s interim president. Bass is a former vice president and head of student services at Brewton-Parker College. Most recently, he was headmaster at a private school in Franklin, N.C.

Before announcing his own resignation, Campbell discussed the unexpected resignation of Caner on Jan. 20 and, a week later, the termination of C.B. Scott, a vice president.

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Speakers challenge evangelism conference attendees

SHERWOOD – Kevin Hamm, pastor of Gardendale First Baptist Church, Gardendale, Ala., reminded attendees at the 2015 State Conference on Evangelism and Church Growth Jan. 26 that “we’re living in the last days” and that if there is to be a great revival, it must start with them.

He spoke from Isaiah 44:21-23, encouraging attendees to remember that God created them and will never leave them; to return to God; to rejoice in what God has done and to shout to Him.

Hamm encouraged the crowd to “fall back in love with Him (Jesus).”

“It’s not rocket science,” he said. “Just fall back in love with Him.”

He encouraged them to “reach his word with passion” and “share the word with enthusiasm.”

Alvin Reid 

Following Hamm was Alvin Reid, professor of evangelism and student ministry at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, N.C., who spoke about the need for a new Jesus movement.

Reid spoke on the first “Jesus movement” found in the Book of Acts and on the Jesus Movement that occurred in the 1970s.

He noted three things about Jesus movements: they are “Holy Spirit movements,” they are movements about Jesus and they are “consumed with His mission.” 

“We can’t create a movement, but we surely can put ourselves in a place where God can use us,” he said, noting “movements don’t start with a mass.” 

Rather, he said movements start with a few people. 

“I want to encourage you – be filled with the Holy Spirit, be consumed with Jesus,” he said. “That will push you to a mission that will take you to the broken, to the disenfranchised, to the people that make you nervous, and ask God to help you love them."

Tom Elliff

Tom Elliff, former president of the International Mission Board, spoke from 2 Timothy 1 during the Monday evening session.

“To share the gospel … is absolutely counter to everything in our culture,” Elliff said.

He paraphrased 2 Timothy 1:12 as saying: “This is not an easy road, but you won’t be sorry you’ve taken it because it’s a road that leads to intimacy with Christ by faith, upon which you discover He can handle it.”

He reminded attendees that the lost world needs to hear that God can handle the circumstances in which they find themselves.

Michael Catt

Michael Catt, pastor of Sherwood Baptist Church, Albany, Ga., spoke on “what happens when God shows up” Monday evening. 

He began his message by reading from 1 Chronicles 17:20, 2 Samuel 7:22 and Psalm 44:1.

Catt spoke to attendees about the recognition of a desperate need, the recollection of a dynamic season and the reminder of the dynamic of the Spirit. 

“You can’t work up revival. You can’t work up the new birth. You can’t work up the burden for lost people. You can’t work up the Holy Spirit,” Catt said. “But you can set your sails to catch the wind of God blowing across the landscape. And you can put yourself in a position for God to use you, for God to manifest Himself in your presence in such a way that He changes everything. 

Catt added, “There are seasons for wind. There are tornado seasons and hurricane seasons. And I believe we are in a season when God is beginning to bring a wind across this land to give us one more chance for a mighty move in our midst. If we miss it, God help us. … It will take a wind from heaven to change our churches. It will take a wind from heaven to give us the Book of Acts again.”