Leo Endel up for SBC presidency
    May 14 2010 by David Williams, Editor, Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist

    MILWAUKEE — Leo Endel, executive director of the Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention (MWBC), will be nominated for president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) at the June 15-16 meeting in Orlando.

    Speaking at the Kingdom Growth Conference in Milwaukee May 13, Endel said a group of associational missionaries, pastors, and lay people from western Iowa and eastern Nebraska had asked him to consider the nomination.

    “After much prayer and counsel, I do believe the Lord wants me to allow the nomination,” he said. ”I am much less certain of the outcome. It will be in His hands, and, of course, I'm comfortable with that.” 

    Endel said he hopes a candidate from a pioneer area of the convention “will add a new work perspective to the SBC conversation.”

    The nomination will be made by Wes Jones, area missionary/church starter strategist for the Northwest and Southwest Iowa Southern Baptist Associations.

    Photo by Matt Miller

    Minnesota-Wisconsin executive director Leo Endel will be one of four nominated for SBC president June 15.

    “In March of this year, God began to lay on my heart that Leo would be a good candidate for president of the SBC,” Jones said, calling Endel “a man of God, respected by those he works with, able to work with a diversity of people, and having a willingness to help others succeed.”

    Jones said that Endel did not take the suggestion seriously at first, but when he contacted him again in early May, Endel promised to pray about the possibility.

    Endel is the fourth announced nominee for SBC president, joining Georgia pastor Bryant Wright, Alabama pastor Jimmy Jackson, and Florida pastor Ted Traylor.

    Both Endel and Jones compared his candidacy in a field of prominent pastors from Southern states to David taking on Goliath. Endel also identified himself with another biblical warrior who won the battle against great odds by depending on God: Gideon.

    “My conviction for moving forward with this comes largely from the sermon God was writing in me for the Kingdom Growth Conference, a message about Gideon, titled, ‘From Faithlessness to Fearlessness,’” he said.

    The Kingdom Growth Conference is an annual preaching and teaching event sponsored jointly by Lakeland Baptist Association of Milwaukee and MWBC, in partnership with the North American Mission Board and LifeWay Christian Resources.

    As he preached his sermon at the 11:30 a.m. session of the conference, Endel said that during preparation for the message, “I was overcome by a flash of the obvious: this sermon wasn't just for you; it was primarily for me.

    “For many reasons I was reluctant to allow the nomination; I did not see myself in that kind of role and doubted my ability to be a strong voice in a conflicted and confused convention. It would be a David and Goliath style miracle for a new work leader, especially a state convention executive director, to be elected to this role,” he said. 

    Mark Elliott, director of missions for the Eastern Nebraska Baptist Association, Omaha, Neb., called Endel “a man of deep faith and unquestioned integrity.”

    “The Southern Baptist Convention is at a crossroads,” Elliott said. ”A strong visionary leader who has demonstrated a lifestyle of cooperation will be required for us to choose the right path for the future. Leo is a man of God who is willing to approach others with genuine humility, listen to others with a desire to understand, and speak to others with heartfelt graciousness.”

    Endel became MWBC’s third executive director in May 2002, leaving an 11-year pastorate at Southern Hills Baptist Church in Sioux City, Iowa, which had grown in attendance from 35 to around 500, sponsored three new churches, and increased missions giving while undergoing two building programs.

    When he left, Southern Hills was giving 13 per cent through the Cooperative Program, 3.5 per cent to the association, and 2 per cent to local missions, primarily for church planting in Northwest Iowa. 

    Endel’s father was in the Air Force and his family moved from his birthplace of Tampa, Fla., to Anchorage, Alaska, when he was six months old, and then moved 11 more times before his high school graduation. Most of those years the family attended small Southern Baptist churches near air bases in the upper Midwest, Alaska and the Philippines.

    He is a graduate of Central Missouri State University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and is currently a doctoral student at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
    5/14/2010 8:33:00 AM by David Williams, Editor, Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist | with 1 comments

Shirley Downing
I'm passing on the news to all the folks I can here in northwest Missouri. Just praying Gods will,will prevail. Leo is a mighty man of God and been a blessing to alot of people who have came in contact with him and his family.
5/24/2010 5:46:14 PM

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